Pinsteps. The monument to Johann Strauss in Vienna
Places to visit in Vienna. Languages: ru, he, en

The golden statue of Johann Baptist Strauss in Vienna's City Park stands as one of the most photographed monuments in the Austrian capital. Born into a family of musicians, Johann Strauss's father, Johann Strauss Sr., was also a composer, and his brothers, Joseph and Eduard, followed suit. The patriarch of their father's side, born in Buda, embraced Christianity as a Jew, paving the way for his children to enter the broader world.

Among the talented descendants of Johann Michael Strauss, only his great-grandson, Johann Baptist, earned the enduring title of the "King of Waltz." In 1903, four years after Strauss's death, a committee chaired by Princess Rosa Kroy-Sternberg (1836-1918) was formed to create a monument in his honor. Initially, plans involved constructing an entire structure, with a dedicated space in the city allocated for it. However, in 1907, the current location in the City Park was chosen.

Vienna's city council pledged financial support of 10,000 crowns in 1905 (not paid until 1913), and in 1906, a competition was announced. Among the participants was architect Alfred Castelliz (1870-1940) and sculptors Franz Metzner and Edmund Hellmer, whose project received unanimous approval. Execution of the project was delayed due to financial difficulties and the outbreak of World War I.

Finally, on January 23, 1920, Vienna's city council allocated funding once again, and on June 26, 1921, the monument was ceremoniously unveiled, accompanied by a performance by the new Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1935, the gilding of the statue was damaged (recalling the composer's Jewish heritage), and it was only restored to its original state in 1991. A comprehensive reconstruction, costing approximately 300,000 euros, took place from the foundation to the statue in 2011. Replicas of the statue can be found since the Expo 1990 in Osaka, Japan, starting from Expo 1999 in Kunming, China, from 2002 in Parque Los Coloniales in Havana, Cuba, and since 2016 in front of the Shanghai Tower.

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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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