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Ambras Castle

High in the hills above Innsbruck, one of the most important sights in the city houses some of the most important cultural works in the country.

Ambras castle © Innsbruck Tourismus

The Ambras Palace, located in Innsbruck, was built by Archduke Ferdinand II half a millennium ago, and has played host to an invaluable collection of art and artifacts ever since.

You can't tell the story of Austria's history without telling that of Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-1595), a renaissance prince who elevated the nation's arts and sciences in his lifetime -- and in the centuries to come, via the sumptuous Ambras collections.

This assemblage of historic pieces resides in the grand Ambras Palace, perched in splendor above Innsbruck. The institution features a reconstruction of the Archduke's Gallery of Arts and the Gallery of Wonders (Wunderkammer), the armory and the Hall of Antiquities.

The residential rooms of the upper palace now house a Habsburg portrait gallery, with paintings of Albrecht III (1349-1395) to Emperor Franz I (1768-1835). More than 200 pieces by famous old masters are on display, including Titian, Lukas Cranach and Diego Velásquez. The most important showpiece of the late-medieval works: the Georg Altar of the Emperor Maximilian I.