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Vienna (Wein)

Hotel Sacher Home of the Sachertorte

Hotel Sacher
Home of the Sachertorte

In mid-19th century the Viennese demolished their city walls and built a grand boulevard right round city forming the Vienna Ring, an Austrian World Heritage Site. This means that these days the city centre is largely traffic free and, almost as importantly, traffic-noise free.

For walkers, therefore, the old part of the city is a paradise, as long as you remember that you can be fined for ignoring the red figure on light controlled pedestrian crossings. There are, however, some battery electric minibuses and the underground U-Bahn metro trains for those less keen on walking.


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Donaukanal (Danube Canal)

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

Unlike many cities, Vienna seems to make little of its river front. Admittedly it is only a canalised backwater of the Danube know known as the Donaukanal. The main course of the river was originally nearly five kilometres (three miles) north-east in what is now the large Alte Donau (Old Danube) boating lake.

I couldnʼt figure out whether the abundance of graffiti was due to neglect, or whether it was being encouraged as an art form. Suddenly coming across an old Volvo car planted up as a garden, and a group of art school students making a film came as a surprise, as did the trains of the U-Bahn U4 rushing along the arcades beneath Franz-Josephs-Kai.

If you are looking for pleasant riverside, try catching the U-Bahn U1 a few stops north-east to Donauinsel (Danube Island), a pleasant area between the new artificial riverbeds of the Danube with an almost seaside air. It is also within walking distance of the Donauturm.

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Sigmund Freud Museum

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

The Waiting Room Freud House Museum

The Waiting Room
Freud House Museum

Although based in the apartment were Freud lived and worked for 47 years, for the most part the Sigmund Freud Museum is just that, a museum.

Only the practiceʼs waiting room has been restored to something like its original form, the Freuds having taken their furniture to London with them when, as Jews, they were forced to leave German-annexed Austria in 1938.

That said, the display cases that fill most of the rest of the rooms contain many interesting items, and there is a fascinating collection of home movies.

Please see the official site for or opening times, admission prices, etc.

External Links and References

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Haas House

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

Haas House Stephansplatz

Haas House
Stephansplatz

The Haas House a modern glass-and-concrete building in Saint Stephenʼs Square opposite the mighty Stephansdom cathedral was, unsurprisingly, controversial from the beginning.

It was designed by the Austrian architect Hans Hollein and was completed in 1990. The building houses offices, restaurants, and shops.

As Kevin McCloud is fond of pointing out, successful post-modernist buildings depend on the quality of their surfaces and the attention to detail. The Haas House has this in spades.

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Spanish Horses

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

Spanish Horses

Spanish Horses

Even if, like me, you are not the greatest fan of dressage, the Spanish Horses are worth seeing, if only for the excellent lighting design.

The show itself suffered a bit in my view as the riders chief task seemed to be keeping there lively mounts calm and stopping them from being spooked. Keeping the horses calm had the knock on effect of keeping the audience calm, and stopping us from getting too excited - not ideal.

In the end I came away feeling relived that they had got through the display without mishap, rather that excited by a thrilling display of horsemanship.

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Judenplatz

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

The Judenplatz, now a pretty town square, was the centre of Jewish life and the Viennese Jewish Community in the Middle Ages.

These days as well as being home to the Jewish Museum Vienna it is notable for Rachel Whitereadʼs Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial.

The Judenplatz

The Judenplatz

Like her Turner Prize winning House, the memorial, also known as the Nameless Library, represents what is not there. It is a cast of the inside of a library.

The spines of the books are facing inwards and the double doors are cast with the panels inside out.

The shelves hold numerous copies of the same edition, representing the vast number of the victims, and echoes the concept of Jews as "People of the Book". The doors have no doorknobs or handles. They suggest the possibility of coming and going, but do not open.

External Links and References

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Mozarthaus

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

The Mozarthaus

The Mozarthaus

Given that Mozart only lived in the Mozarthaus apartment for three years between 1784 and 1787, that none of his furniture from that time survive and that the building has been lived in and adapted in the meantime, it is hardly surprising that the museum struggles to give invoke any impression of the man and his family.

There are, however some interesting displays, and an audio tour that sometimes gets out of step with what is on show. Presumably the displays have been moved around since the tour was recorded.

Please see the official site for or opening times, admission prices, etc.

External Links and References

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Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral)

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

The Steeple

The Steeple

The Nave Stephansdom

The Nave
Stephansdom

Only had time to poke my head through the doors of the Stephansdom, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna, but the interior looked every bit as impressive as the exterior.

Whilst the oldest part of the cathedral, the west door and towers, date back to 1137, most of the rest dates from the mid-fourteenth century when it was largely built at the instigation of Duke Rudolf IV.

However, on 12 April 1945 in the last days of the Second World War civilian looters lit fires in nearby shops which spread to the cathedral and virtually reduced it to rubble. It was rebuilt in just seven years and was fully reopened on 23 April 1952.

Fortunately, protective brick shells had been built around the pulpit, Frederick IIIʼs tomb and other treasures, which minimized damage to the most valuable artworks.

External Links and References

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Vienna Ring Tram

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

The Vienna Ring Tram

The Vienna Ring Tram

There are no tram lines through the old city centre instead they run in a complete ring along the boulevards that were built to replace the city walls. Whilst the service trams branch off to the suburbs in various directions, only the sight-seeing Vienna Ring Tram does the complete circuit.

As well as providing a prerecorded commentary in eight languages pointing out the many significant buildings along the Vienna Ring, it also provides an opportunity to ride one of the older-style Type E1 high-floor trams, on a system that is not in general particularly helpful to the tourist.

Please see the official site for or operating times, ticket prices, etc.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Vienna Ring Tram
      The official site
      http://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal3/ep/channelView.do?pageTypeId=66533&channelId=-47394
    • Vienna Ring Tram
      The multi-lingual flyer with photos and a map
      http://www.wienerlinien.at/media/files/2014/folder_viennaringtram_120606.pdf

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Vergilius Chapel (Virgilkapelle)

Location

Vienna Map

Last Visited: 2014

Vergilius Chapel (Virgilkapelle)

Vergilius Chapel (Virgilkapelle)

If you look to the left as you reach the bottom of the steps down to the Stephansplatz U-Bahn station there is a passageway leading into a dark and mysterious place.

Donʼt be daunted, as at the end is the Vergilius Chapel (Virgilkapelle).

This underground crypt is outlined by a mosaic in the pavement above, which can be seen in the Google satellite imagery. It lies approximately 12 meters below the current surface level.

The history of the chapel is unclear, but architecturally it appears to date from the early 13th century. It lay immediately below a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene in what was then the Stephansdom cemetery, and was connected to it by a vertical shaft.

The Vergilius Chapel was lost after the Magdalene Chapel was destroyed by fire in 1781, and was not rediscovered until the Vienna U-Bahn was constructed in 1973.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Vergilius Chapel
      Wikipedia article
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergilius_Chapel

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