Embark on a self-guided walking tour through imperial Vienna. You'll explore magnificent landmarks like the Opera House and the Royal Park, stroll through the opulent palace grounds of the Augsburg dynasty, and delve into the dark history of the infamous Bloody Countess. This captivating adventure offers a glimpse into the city's rich past and enchanting beauty.
Palais Dorotheum is one of the leading and oldest auction houses in the world and the largest in the German-speaking world. In 1707, during the rule of Joseph I, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the company was founded in Vienna. The company holds about 600 auctions a year. Famous art fans and collectors from all over the world gather here. Branches and representative offices of the auction house can be found throughout Europe and in many capital cities: Brussels, Düsseldorf, London, Milan, Munich, Prague, Rome, Naples, Paris, Tel Aviv, Budapest, and Beijing.
Cafe Mozart is one of the most ancient Viennese cafes. It was opened in 1794, only three years after the great composer's death, and had another name. But even then, it was a place where all the bohemians met. In 1929 the cafe got the "right" menu and a present-day name. The restaurant's peak popularity was in the late XIX century when it became a meeting place for writers, musicians, and actors. After the Second World War, from 1945 to 1955, the centre of Vienna turned for ten years into a zone of joint occupation of the USSR, the USA, England and France; the famous British journalist and writer Graham Greene worked in the cafe. He wrote the screenplay for the film "The Third Man" here, and the restaurant appeared in the episode of the picture. So, with Green's little help, Vienna became a recognizable symbol of various world intelligence services during the Cold War. Green was a resident of British intelligence since 1940 and a close friend of Kim Philby, a dual agent of Britain and the USSR. Philby died in Moscow and was buried in the Kuntsevo cemetery. Today, Mozart Cafe serves a real Graham Greene's breakfast. Of course, you can also try a scout breakfast, but I advise you to do three things in a cafe: try Viennese coffee, sit in a Viennese chair, and look through a Viennese newspaper.
Until 1945 here stooped a luxurious house of Philiphoff. Renting an apartment in Philiphoff, opposite the Opera and Albertina Gallery in the very centre of Vienna, was like living in Manhattan near Central Park. During the bombing of Vienna by the Allied forces in 1945, the building was utterly destroyed and buried about 300 people under its ruins. It was impossible to clean up the rest of the building nor take the bodies of all the victims. In 1947, when Mozart Grinn wrote his novel in the cafe, the Vienna city authorities decided to clear the square and create a Monument Against War and Fascism. This memorial consists of several compositions. One of them is a Jew kneeling and brushing the pavement of Vienna. That is how the Anschluss ended - with the accession of Austria to the Third Reich in the spring of 1938. And that's when the Austrians began times of victims of war and fascism; only then did they not understand it at that time.
This square is named after Helmut Zilk. He was born in 1927. When he was 11 years old, the Nazis entered Vienna. Helmut was brought up on the Nazi ideology. During the war years, as a teenager, he wanted to join the ranks of the Hitler Youth. But Zilk's father did not allow him to do this. After the war, Helmut went to another extreme and became a member of the Communist Party of Austria. Zilk's father objected too. After graduating from university, Helmut found himself in the education system and began to understand education's invaluable role. Zilk began to promote education as a value, not as something given at the mercy of society or ideology, but as the core and foundation of the personality. Zilk was the Minister of Education of Austria and, in 1984, became the mayor of Vienna. Zilk strengthened ties with the state of Israel and created the Jewish Museum in the Vienna ghetto, a monument to the victims of the Holocaust. Zilk created this square and the memorial. On December 5, 1993, Tsilk received a parcel with explosives, and he lost fingers of his left hand. This parcel was sent to Zilk by Franz Fuchs. He sent many similar properties to those who, he thought, retreated from the ideals of pure Austria and replaced the existence of national values with the false idols of liberalism. Four people were killed at the hands of Fuchs, and 15 people were maimed from 1993 to 1997. In February 2000, Fuchs hanged himself in his cell in the prison of the city of Graz, where he was serving a life sentence, to which he was sentenced in 1999.
Let's move from the events of the 20th century to the golden age of Austria and plunge into its history and, of course, try to track the dynastic upheavals of the Habsburg Dynasty. This family ruled Europe more than anyone. The last ruler was Emperor Franz Josef; he died during the First World War in 1916. His death also meant the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Habsburg dynasty and the old world. He ruled for almost 70 years, and his rule covered the entire second half of the 19th century. He was a contemporary of the English Queen Victoria and the Russian emperor's Alexander the Second and the Third. He personified stability and calm. Someone might joke that he was an Austrian Brezhnev. If we compare the eyebrows of the general secretary and the sideburns of the emperor, we will see some similarities, of course. Franz Josef's great-grandmother was Maria Theresia (not to be confused with Maria Theresa). She was born in Vienna at the beginning of the XVIII century in 1717. The year when Peter the Great was in Paris, and studied the construction of fountains to apply it in the Peterhof Palace. She was speaking of Paris. Maria Theresia's daughter, Marie Antoinette, was the very wife of the French king, who was beheaded with her husband during the French Revolution. Maria Theresia also had 15 children. 11 daughters and six sons. Six of her children died either in infancy or without heirs. But, two of her sons became emperors, and her daughters were the most profitable parties in many European courts. Only Maria Cristina begged her mother to marry her cousin Albert, the son of the Polish king and prince of Lithuania. It was a marriage of love, and the young lived in prosperity all their lives. Although they had no children, Albert regularly served as governor of the Netherlands (this country went to the Hapsburg after the division of the Spanish inheritance), where the family lived in Brussels; he built the Castle of Laeken (the current residence of the Belgian king). Then Albert was governor in Hungary while living in Bratislava (60 km from Vienna). And in Vienna, here, on the site of the old fortifications (Augustinerbastei), Alberta received an administrative building of the former court from his mother-in-law. It was rebuilt by Maria Theresia's adviser and architect, Emanuel Silva Taruhi, son of the former ambassador of Portugal to Vienna. Although Christine and Albert did not have children, their property passed to their adopted son, and Albert bequeathed the richest art gallery to Vienna. The city began to call it Albertina with gratitude and installed an equestrian statue of Albert.
Vienna Opera. One can hardly imagine Vienna without mentioning its famous opera house. Remember Franz Josef? During his reign, it was decided to demolish the walls, clear the territory, and lay comprehensive and convenient traffic arteries. This is how Rings appeared in Vienna - circles encircling the old city and creating convenient and fast communication with the new town. By the way, many cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire followed the example of Vienna, for example, Krakow. First, horses started walking down the wide streets, replaced by trams. Then, architects got a new indescribable front of work, and in 1861, the building of the Court Opera was laid. Several architects designed the building, but the tone was set by Edward Van der Nüll, a professor at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, an eclecticist (a person who picks up beauty). The grand opening occurred on May 25, 1869, with Mozart's Don Giovanni opera. The door was attended by Emperor Franz Yosif himself and Empress Elizabeth (Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Bavaria - charming Sisi). Still, neither Van der Nüll nor his co-author August Sicard von Sicardsburg did not live to see it. Even long before the first submission, their creation was criticized by the public. The building was called the sinking box. It had no front stairs, and only a few steps separated it from the road. But the architect was most offended by comparing his creation with the defeat of Austria near Sadovaya in the Czech Republic. This event occurred in the summer of 1866 during the Austro-Prussian Won when Austria permanently lost influence in Germany and Italy in just six weeks. On April 4, 1868, Van der Nüll hanged himself in the building of his theatre, and after ten weeks, his colleague Zikardsburg died of tuberculosis. These events shocked the public so much that even Franz Josef called on critics to be more careful in their statements, and he adhered to the exact phrase in everything related to art: "It was beautiful, and I was very pleased". Truly Brezhnev, wasn't he?
A little less than a hundred years before the birth of Maria Theresia in Viennand, the disappointed exclamation of her father, Emperor Charles VI: "This is just a girl!" a confident Abraham a Santa Clara was known at the court. He was born in 1644, when a pupil of Galileo Galilei invented the barometer, and the teacher himself had been dead for two years, having gone out of life and without proving to the whole world that the earth revolves around the sun. Abraham, a Santa Clara, was a court preacher. He had the reputation of a clever, caustic and sarcastic man. The very nickname itself is worth: Abraham a Santa Clara. It is believed that local priests all over the Austro-Hungarian cities and villages imitated him and eventually even formed a particular Austro-Hungarian style. Perhaps he left his mark on the image of thought and attitude to life—spiteful sarcasm interspersed with pensive contemplation. Jaroslav Hasek was the most outstanding follower of this style, who worked at the turn of the imperial XIX and the perfidious XX centuries. Hans Shvatte was the sculptor of this monument; they created it in 1928, almost ten years after the empire's collapse, when people started to understand the meaning of events and processes that seemed so natural at the time.
The garden and butterfly gallery are in Burggarten (City Park). It was created in Vienna in the first half of the XIX century on the site of the so-called Viennese Glacis. Glacis is a gentle earthen mound in front of the outer moat of the fortress. Vienna was surrounded by a double ring of fortress walls from the 13th century. Citizens from time to time settled between them, but after the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683 (during the reign of Leopold - the great-grandfather Maria Theresia and his court preacher Abraham a Santa Clara), it was decided to clear the territory and keep it open for a more successful defence of the city in the future. Only at the beginning of the XIX century, after the Napoleonic wars, this territory was allotted for the imperial garden. The Volksgarten (Volksgarten - People’s ParkPeople'sarten was also planned by Ludwig Gabriel von Remy with the personal participation of Emperor Franz. Remy went down in history with his pediment of the Cathedral in Esztergom (Hungary), and Franz went down in history by abolishing the Holy Roman Empire of which he was the Emperor and by getting his daughter Marie Louise married off to his sworn enemy Napoleon Bonaparte (Marie Antoinettete'Antoinettete's ho was executed during the revolution). So Franz abandoned the Holy Roman Empire, founded the Austrian and retained the dynasty, and his daughter's madaughter'sthe Corsican made him the Emperor of France. Maybe this is why he hated liberalism so much and so hopelessly doomed his grandson Franz Yosif for going with the flow of liberalism until the complete dashing against the reefs of revolution and terror - unchangeable friends of the First World War.
In 1881, Franz Yosif ordered expanding the Hofburg Palace and adjacent territories to conduct lush imperial ceremonies. The largest forum in the history of the imperial forum was naturally chosen to the south of the historic Hofbugra. In front of us is the reverse side of the west wing of the new palace, facing the imperial garden. Today it houses the national library and several museums. One of them has the most extensive collection of knightly armour and weapons in the world. The other is the Museum of musical instruments. In the same year, in March, Russian Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded on the embankment of the Catherine Canal in St. Petersburg. The next emperor of the Russian Empire became his brother Alexander III, and the murder of the nephew of Franz Yosif - Ferdinand in 1914 led to the reorganization of the world.
Like the Volksgarten (Volksgarten - People's Park), Burggarten was also planned by Ludwig Gabriel von Remy with the personal participation of Emperor Franz. Unfortunately, Remy went down in history with his pediment of the Cathedral in Esztergom (Hungary). Franz went down in history by abolishing the Holy Roman Empire, of which he was the Emperor, and by getting his daughter Marie Louise married off to his sworn enemy Napoleon Bonaparte (Marie Antoinette's great-niece who was executed during the revolution). So Franz abandoned the Holy Roman Empire, founded the Austrian and retained the dynasty, and his daughter's marriage to the Corsican made him the Emperor of France. Maybe this is why he hated liberalism so much and so hopelessly doomed his grandson Franz Yosif for going with the flow of liberalism until the complete dashing against the reefs of revolution and terror - unchangeable friends of the First World War.
In 1881, Franz Josef ordered expanding the Hofburg Palace and adjacent territories to conduct lush imperial ceremonies. The largest forum in the history of the imperial forum was naturally chosen to the south of the historic Hofbugra. In front of us is the reverse side of the west wing of the new palace, facing the imperial garden. Today it houses the national library and several museums. One of them has the most extensive collection of knightly armour and weapons in the world. The other is the Museum of musical instruments. In the same year, in March, Russian Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded on the embankment of the Catherine Canal in St. Petersburg. The next emperor of the Russian Empire became his brother Alexander III, and the murder of the nephew of Franz Yosif - Ferdinand in 1914 led to the reorganization of the world.
So, the Habsburg dynasty begins to manifest itself. Maria Theresia, who we already know and remember. And this is her husband, Franz Stephan. After his death, she became an empress, who gained fame, more significant than many emperors. Sculptor Valtasar Ferdinand Jr. created the equestrian statue of Franz Stefan. He was born in Innsbruck in the same year Maria Theresia was born. He was the court sculptor of the Habsburgs, and his sculpture of Franz Stephan on horseback is considered the first equestrian sculpture in Austria.
In 1953 monument Mozart was moved from Albert Square to the park. Mozart was there since 1896, as he should, as the writer of Don Juan, opposite the Vienna Opera. The monument is made of one of the most complex grades of marble. Lasser marble was mined in the mountains of southern Tyrol in the Italian Alps, near the Bozen Innsbruck route. This white marble is little influenced by water and the sun, and the stone's beauty continues to shine even now, even though it is already more than 120 years old. The sculptor was Victor Oskar Tilgner. But unfortunately, he died young in the year of the monument's creation at the age of only 52 years. And Mozart was only 35.
This gate leads onto Heldenplatz Square - Heroes Square. This is the famous imperial forum, the order for the construction of which was signed in 1881 by Franz Yosif. The square is most favoured and notorious for the speech of Adolf Hitler, delivered by him here on March 15, 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria. In 2008, the year of the seventieth anniversary of Anschluss and Hitler's speech, a ceremony called the Night of Silence was held on the square. People gathered in the yard at night and lit 80 thousand candles in memory of the victims of fascism. Sixty-five thousand candles from the mentioned 80 thousand were lit in memory of 65 thousand Jews. It is noteworthy that in Austria, it is not customary to talk about the victims of Nazism. Instead, people use the terminology of fascism here, as in the former USSR countries.
As it goes on the forum of heroes, let's talk about heroes. In front of us is the famous Eugene of Savoy. He is not related to the Habsburg dynasty. Eugene comes from a noble family of Savoy rulers (a district in the southeast of France and the Piedmont region in Italy). He was born in Paris. His mother was Olympia Mancini, the niece of Cardinal Mazarin. After Olympia had a stormy romance with Louis XIV, the Sun King, and was also suspected of being a poisoner, she safely left the city. Her beauty and frivolous disposition did not threaten Parisian women anymore. By the way, thanks to her, the hairstyle a la Mancini entered the history of hairdressing. This is when hair is parted on two sides, lushly whipped above the temples and curled locks go down on the shoulders. The son of Olympia, Eugene, went to war with the Turks and gained fame through the ages. Thanks to him, Vienna was saved in 1683 (remember the times of Maria Theresia's great-grandfather and his preacher Abraham?) Eugene of Savoy went down in history as the saviour of Europe from the Muslim conquest. The squares, frigates, and military units are named after him. He is a national hero in Vienna. By the way, Anne of Austria, the mother of Louis XIV, did not like Olympia more than anyone. Louis reigned for 72 years and died from gangrene of the leg because he believed that amputation was below royal dignity and did not leave a single direct heir.
Hofburg Palace is the primary residence of the Austrian monarchs. This is the entrance to a small portico that leads through the various rooms to the central part of the palace - facing the opposite side to Archangel Michael Square and Kohlmarkt Street, which leads to the old town. The Austrians put different memories of the wartime occupation of the USSR after the Second World War on one of the walls.
The oldest parts of the palace are located along the corridor with cute men's fashion stores. They are called the Swiss Court and date back to the 13th century. They were built by the last ruler of the Babenberg family - Ottacar II, the king of Bohemia. Before this, the castle of the Austrian rulers was located on the square called "Am Hof", which is situated near Shottenstein (Scottish monastery).
The most elegant and famous wing of the Hofburg Palace has the famous rotunda with a green dome called the wing of St. Michael. Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, a Viennese architect of the early 17th century, designed this part of the palace. It connects the winter riding school and the wing of the Imperial Chancellery. However, since the former Imperial Theater (Burgtheater) building stood in this direction, these plans remained unfulfilled until Ferdinand Kirchner built this part of the palace from 1889 to 1893 using a slightly modified method. After the construction of Mikhailovsky Square was completed, two sculptural fountains were installed on the wing's façade: Rudolf Weir's "Power at Sea" and Edmund Hellmer's "Power on Land". The wing is named after the church of St. Michael on the opposite side.
Roman ruins are on the Archangel Michael Square before the Hofburg Palace. It is part of the city of Vindobond, founded by the Romans in the province of Norik on the banks of the Danube. Along the Danube passed the border between the empire and the Germanic tribes. Vienna was named after the city of Vindobond—one of the wisest Roman emperors - Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher and representative of Stoicism. - died here, in this Roman camp, in 190 a.d.
The Church of St. Michael (German Michaelerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Vienna and one of the few preserved Romanesque buildings. The church of St. Michael, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, was the parish church of the Imperial Court before; it was called Zum Heiligen Michael. During its long history spanning over eight centuries, the church has undergone a restructuring that led to a mixture of architectural styles.
Salzburg is a Renaissance building between Josefsplatz and Mayplattsts. This is a part of the Hofburg Palace. Initially, it housed the living quarters of Archduke Maximilian, later Emperor Maximilian II. They were built in the years 1558-1565. From 1659 to 1776, Archduke Leopold Wilhelm placed his art collection in Stoburg. It will form the core of the later Kunsthistorisches Museum. Later, the building became the Imperial Stable, where lived the imperial horses, and even today, it is still used by the Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule).
In the centre of the Josefsplatz square is an equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II. Sculptor Franz Anton von Zauner erected it between 1795 and 1807. The figure of the emperor was modelled on the statue of Marcus Aurelius on Capitoline Hill in Rome. It was commissioned by Emperor Francis II, who was raised by his uncle Joseph II since he was 16 years old, the son of Maria Theresa, who advocated extensive liberal reforms. The image of Joseph II as a Roman conqueror, dressed in a toga and with a laurel wreath, reflects the deep faith of the Hapsburgs that they were descendants of ancient Roman emperors. An ensemble of buildings in the Hofburg Palace borders the area. They contain the central part of the Austrian National Library. In addition to its library function, the building has excellent acoustics.
The house on the corner of Augustinerstrasse and Dorotheergasse, opposite the commemorative plaque to Jan Sobieski, is the most sinister in Vienna. Here, at the turn of the 17th century, periodically lived Elizabeth Bathory, the "Bloody Countess. Her name is written in the Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific murderer of a woman of all times and peoples. She allegedly tortured and killed more than 600 virgins to drink their blood and bathe in it, believing that it would preserve her youth and beauty. Some historians believe these accusations were fabricated to slander a powerful woman, but the amount of evidence against her and Bathory's own confessions make her history believable. Moreover, the nearby markets of the city served as a hunting ground for the servant Bathory Fitchko, who played an essential role in ensuring a constant flow of young maids for the countess. With the promise of food, shelter, comfort and safety, young women were offered to serve as a mysterious Countess. Strange sounds often came from this house at night, although no one dared to ask the noblewoman what was happening in her home. Over time, tortures and murders passed into the Batori suburban residence, where she could freely torture her victims and exude their blood to bathe. By the way, stories about blood and bathing were later considered fictional. At the same time, the corpses and exhausted victims were found in her Čachtice castle, where she was taken under arrest. The power and influence of the Batory family (relatives of the Polish king Stefan Batory) helped Elizabeth avoid the trial. Still, she was immured in the room of her castle, where she died four years later. To this day, the place is gloomy and not pleasant.
Albertinaplatz is a historic square in Vienna, Austria, featuring the renowned Albertina Museum, which houses an extensive collection of art, including masterpieces by famous artists and the iconic Monument Against War and Fascism.
Mozart Cafe serves wine and desserts in the evenings and offers visitors a special coffee card.