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Vienna, Austria

Kriminalmuseum

Macabre museum devoted to historical Viennese murders. 

Skulls, medieval torture devices, bloody gloves, depictions of murder, death masks, and rusty axes - the Kriminalmuseum in Vienna, Austria is not for the faint of heart.

The Kriminalmuseum or Criminal museum follows crime, punishment and murder from the Middle Ages right up to the present day. It is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the Leopoldstadt area, the “Seifensiederhaus,” or “Soap Boilers House,” and dates back to 1685. Twenty rooms of this 324 year old home are devoted to this surprisingly large and very morbid museum about crime and murder.

Of course the Kriminalmuseum is about more than just murder. There are cases devoted to counterfeit money, lock picking, brothels, and police investigation. But mostly, images of crime scenes, murder weapons and the skulls of both murderers and their victims fill the space. While macabre, the museum has a fascinating and somewhat mysterious quality to it.

For non-German speakers there is a further air of mystery: the informational signs and grisly newspaper articles are all in German. Though sometimes, in the Kriminalmuseum, it is better not to know.