Pinsteps. The monument to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Places to visit in Vienna. Languages: ru, he, en

On Judenplatz stands a monument to the German poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, created by Siegfried Charoux. This sculpture was commissioned in 1930 after Charoux won a competition among 82 sculptors. The sculpture was completed in 1931/1932 and unveiled in 1935. In 1939, the Nazis demolished the monument.

Lessing, in his play "Nathan the Wise," which became a sermon on tolerance and humanity, managed to convince German readers without doubt of the credibility of the plot. He argued that there were worthy individuals among the Jews, using Moses Mendelssohn as the prototype for Nathan. The meeting in 1754 between Lessing and Mendelssohn, beginning with their shared passion for chess, played a decisive role in Mendelssohn's destiny, as Lessing patronized him for many years. Their friendly interaction over the chessboard is depicted in Moritz Daniel Oppenheim's painting "The Visit of Lessing and Lafater to Moses Mendelssohn."

Moses Mendelssohn, a prominent figure in the Haskalah movement, believed that Jews should maintain their Jewish identity in private life while integrating into the surrounding society publicly. By the late 18th century, Vienna had become a significant center for the Haskalah movement, whose supporters advocated for Jews to receive a general education and for the erasure of boundaries between Jews and non-Jews. However, the path to these changes was long and challenging.

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Evgeny Praisman
Vienna. The Ringstrasse.

A leisurely stroll through the historic part of the city unfolds a tapestry of enchanting landmarks. The city park, adorned with the melodies of Strauss and Schubert, leads to the venerable city gates named after Luger and Mozart. The narrative of "Ah, My Sweet Augustine" echoes through time, while the oldest church in the city stands as a testament to bygone eras. The tales of Theodor Herzl, the anchor clocks, the Jewish quarter, the square where it all began, the longest narrow alley, the Estergazi restaurant, and Andersen's house weave together seamlessly.

Wander down Graben Street, passing by the plague column and fountains, where the stories of homes, people, words, legends, and traditions blend harmoniously. Amidst it all, relish the charm of restaurants, cafes, wines, and coziness that add an extra layer of warmth to this rich tapestry of history and culture.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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