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Top attractions in Austria: Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria

Ambrosia Castle, Innsbruck, Austria
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Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria

Ambras Castle is high on a hill above the Innsbruck. This Renaissance castle built by Archduke Ferdinand II for the woman he secretly married, Philippine Welser, is filled with art and armor, curiosities, rare and precious items, and Habsburg portraits.

 Ferdinand II and Phillipine Welser, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria
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Archduke Ferdinand II and Phillipine Welser, part of the Upper Castle’s Habsburg portraits, Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria

Archduke Ferdinand II kept illustrated catalogues of his rare tournament armor, ornamental armor of famous military commanders, and his own armor and that of his court. Some of his collection goes back to the 15th century and the collections of Maximilian I.Another belonged to court’s giant Bartlmä Bon, who was in a tournament in Vienna in 1560

The Chamber of Art and Curiosities of the Renaissance is a wide-ranging collection, including rare and precious items,  art, travel souvenirs, and scientific objects, displayed and color-coded to his liking. There is a large coral display along with mechanical items, paintings, sculpture, and glassware.

Chamber of Art and Curiosities of the Renaissance, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria
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Chamber of Art and Curiosities of the Renaissance, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria

It was fashionable to have people who were physically different, such as giants and dwarfs, as part of the royal court. A collection of portraits at Ambras Castle feature people seen as miracles of nature, including dwarfs and giants, or with odd physical manifestations, like the hairy Pedro Gonzalez, who suffered from hirsutis, which also became known as Ambras syndrome.

Castle Ambras, Innsbruck
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Hairy man from Munich, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck

Some items reveal how guests were required to drink a certain amount before being released or allowed to sign.

drinking book, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck
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drinking book, Castle Ambras, Innsbruck

The extraordinary collection includes a palace-shaped cabinet of alabaster and marble. This safe and work of art was  used to store coins, cameos, and jewelry.

cabinet of marble and alabaster, Castle Ambras
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cabinet of marble and alabaster, Castle Ambras

Full-size paintings of the Habsburgs are in the Spanish Hall, which is also used for concerts.

Spanish Hall, Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria
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Spanish Hall, Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria

Interested in visiting?

Plan your trip, buy an Innsbruck Card, or book a guide go to the Tourism Innsbruck site.

Innsbruck Cards include entrance to Innsbruck’s museums, IVB public transportation — including trams to holiday villages — the Sightseer Hop-on Hop-off bus, a bicycle rental, and the lifts and cable cars around Innsbruck.

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