The Swiss National Museum is one of the most important art museums of cultural history in Europe. The museum building of 1898 in the historicist style was built by Gustav Gull in the form of the French Renaissance city chateaus. The impressive architecture with dozens of towers, courts and his astonishing park on a peninsula between the rivers Sihl and Limmat has become one of the main sights of the Old City District of Zurich.
The exhibition tour takes the visitor from prehistory through ancient times and the Middle Ages to the 20th century (classic modern art and art of the 16th, 17th and 18th century is settled mainly in the Kunsthaus Museum in a different part of the city of Zurich). There is a very rich section with gothic art, chivalry and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars. Zunfthaus zur Meisen near Fraumünster church houses the porcelain and faience collection of the Swiss National Museum. There are also: a Collections Gallery, a place where there are Swiss furnishings being exhibited, an Armoury Tower, a diorama of the Battle of Murten, and a Coin Cabinet showing 14th, 15th, 16th century Swiss coins and even some coins from the Middle Ages.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.