The Imperial Treasury (German: Kaiserliche Schatzkammer) at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria contains a valuable collection of secular and ecclesiastical treasures covering over a thousand years of European history. The entrance to the treasury is at the Schweizerhof (Swiss Courtyard), the oldest part of the palace, which was rebuilt in the sixteenth century in the Renaissance style under Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I.
The Imperial Treasury is affiliated with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and houses in 21 rooms a collection of rare treasures that were compiled by the Imperial House of Habsburg over the course of centuries, including the Imperial Crown, Orb, and Sceptre of Austria, and the Imperial Regalia of the Emperors and Kings of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.
The Imperial Treasury is divided into two collections: the secular collection and the ecclesiastical collection. The secular collection contains numerous imperial artifacts from the House of Habsburg, including jewels and precious stones that due to their unique size could not be fitted into the imperial crowns. Like all secular treasuries, it was designed to attest to the political power and geographical reach of their owners. The ecclesiastical collection contains numerous religious treasures, including relics and objects ascribed to the private ownership of saints.
The Imperial Treasury collections were set up from 1556 by the scholar Jacopo Strada, court antiquarian of Ferdinand I. In the eighteenth century, Maria Theresa had the Habsburg treasures moved to its present location, covering up the fact that the dynasty's assets had been largely affected by the expensive wars against rivaling Prussia. The Imperial Regalia arrived in the last days of the Holy Roman Empire around 1800 from Nuremberg, where they had been kept since 1424, in order to save them from the advancing French troops under Napoleon. After the Austrian Anschluss of 1938, the Nazi authorities took them back to Nuremberg. At the end of World War II, they were returned to Vienna by the US forces. The display was completely renovated in 1983-1987.
The ecclesiastical collection contains numerous devotional images and altars, mostly from the Baroque era.