09/2014 - Austria Wien

After more than twenty years we went back to Vienna.

In order to celebrate a family anniversary we took the opportunity to go and see again a town which is the symbol of beauty and elegance.

Having not planned the visit, we saw the main historical monuments but we gave our preference to the places which we had never seen in the past.

Dall’Hotel ci muoviamo a piedi verso il centro, diretti alla piazza di Santo Stefano. Attraversiamo la piazza Ham Hof, la più grande di Vienna, sulla quale si affaccia la bella Burgherliche Zeuhaus, già arsenale cittadino.

Raggiungiamo quindi la zona pedonale del Graben al centro della quale spicca la colonna della peste (Pestsaule), fatta erigere nel 1679 dall’Imperatore Leopoldo 1^.

Antistante Stephans Dom il moderno edificio Haas Haus tutto marmi e vetri ricurvi sui quali si riflette il Duomo di Vienna, intitolato appunto a Santo Stefano.

Stephans Dom – or the Cathedral of St. Stephen – dates back to twelfth century. Outside, the original Roman Towers (or Towers of the Pagans) and the Giant’s Doorare particularly beautiful.

On its back there is a nice pulpit (Capistran Chancel)dedicated to St. John of Capistrano.

To be noted the beauty of the painted tiled roof.

Inside, you find the beautiful nave, the Main Altar and the Gothic pulpit by Anton Pilgram who self-portrayed beneath the organ grandstand.

To be mentioned two other significant works: the Wiener Neustädter Altar surmounted by an altarpiece with finely painted representations and the icon of Our Lady of Pecs (Maria Pötsch Icon).

 

We walked the narrow streets behind the Cathedral of St. Stephen and met the house where Mozart lived and the University Church built in the fifteenth century by the Jesuits. It is characterized by a very austere interior.

Quite close, in Fleishmarkt road (in 1200, it hosted the meat market), passing byabeautiful Art Nouveau building, you can find a small square with the Greek Church of St. George and the ancient and famous Griechenbeisl Inn, also known with the name Der LiebeAugustin, a famous Viennese balladeer.

Early in the morning, we went to the Hofburg, the Imperial Palace in Vienna formed by a complex of palaces.

On the front square (St. Michael’s Square,Michaelerplatz), you are welcomed by the semicircular façade of Michaelertrackt decorated, at the top, with statues and with a figurative group.

At the twosides of the façade,there are two impressive fountains whereas the entrance gate is enriched with four groups of statues representing the Labours of Hercules.

The Museum of Sissi (or Sisi Museum) is housed within the Imperial Apartments of Hofburg.The Hoftafel-und Silberkammer Palace hosts the Court Silver and Tableware Museumand, inside the Kaiser’s apartments, also the Sisi Museum.

The Sisi Museum attracts a huge number of visitors, fascinated by the history of the legendary Empress, but it does not contain any historical content as my photo gallery shows.

The museum of the Austrian Crown jewels and clothes of the imperial period offers a rich variety of belongings of the Houseof Habsburg. The collection dates back to the Holy Roman Empire period andperfectly represents the  pompof the period.

Even this museum is inside the Hofburg, the Imperial Palace in Vienna, and more precisely it is located in the Schatzkammer, the Imperial Treasury building.

We started again the visit of Vienna fromthe Votivkirche(Votive Church), not particularly beautiful. It is the Church that was built by Emperor Franz Joseph to remember the place of his attempted assassination in 1853.

Then we visited the Town Hall (NeuesRathaus) a majestic neo-Gothic building in front of which there are the Volksgartengardens with the Empress Elizabeth Monument(Elisabeth-Denkmal). Quite close there is the imposing Burgtheater(Court Theatre)whose façade is enriched by dramatic poets’ busts.

From the Votive Church to the Parliament: beyond the Ring you meet the Parliament Building in Vienna, in neoclassical style, which recalls Greek architecture.

We continued along the Ringstraße (Ring Road) of Vienna to admire, first, the monument to Maria Theresa (Maria-Theresien) and then the statue of Prince Eugene placed in front of Neu Burg. In the back gardens there is Mozart’s statue and, few steps further, that of Goethe.

We could not miss a pause at the famous SacherCafé before continuing on the Ring to admire the originalSecession-style pavilions, by O.Wagner.

Opposite there is the Baroque Karlskirche (1737), dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo.

In the front gardens, there is the monument dedicated to Johannes Brahms.

Hundertwasser and Stadtpark: we made a stop in the third district of Vienna. We left the hotel by taxi to reach the Hundertwasser Village, a bizarre apartment block, designed by the homonymous Viennese architect.

We have to say that his work gave us the impressionof something “already seen”.

In fact, we had already seen a work made by the same architect … it was in the town of Kawakawa in ….. New Zealand!

Not far we visited the Stadtpark, large park in the city centre, famous for several monuments dedicated to Austrian musicians and artists, such as the musicians: Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss and Ludvik Beethoven.

The main monuments of this part of the visit are: the Secession Building and Naschmarkt.

In the afternoon we went towards Karlplatz and, after admiring the bronze monument of the triumvir Mark Antony, we reached the Secession Building that takes its name from the Austrian Artists Association which belonged to the movement of the “Vienna Secession”.

Our attention was immediately attracted by the golden dome, work of Klimt. Just below there is the famous motto”To every age its art, to every art its freedom” .

Inside, in a basement room, it is displayed the “Beethoven Frieze” (Beethovenfries), paintedby Klimt. The frieze was almost destroyed during the Second World War and now we can see only the parts that were saved.

In the same street, there is the Naschmarkt, the busiest market in Vienna. At the entrance there are  many restaurants, then fruit and vegetablesstalls follow.

 

Leaving back the Naschmarktmarket, here there are two ofthe most beautiful palaces of the Jugendstil period. They were designed by Otto Wagner and are called “Palaces of Wagner.”

The first building (Majolikahaus) owes its name to the polychrome tiles that cover the façade.

The second palace(Wienzeilenhäuser) is characterized by huge golden medallions.

We arrived to the MuseumsQuartier of Vienna. The largest European museum complex of contemporary art-  theMuseumsQuartier –  was created restoring and modifying royal palaces and building new palaces (i.e. see the Mumok built in grey basalt stone)

In the last two photos of the gallery, I show the ceilings of two porticoes modernly painted.

Back in the center, we visited the Gothic Church Maria am Gestade, known as  “Mary at the Shore”, which dates back to the twelfth century.

The polygonal bell tower is very nice and,inside, the panels of the Gothic altar are remarkably beautiful.

We went on towards HoherMarkt, a wide square which, above a covered walkway, hosts the Ankeruhr, the clock that every hoursshows different Viennese personalities.

In the square of the New Market (NeuerMarkt) we admired the Fountain of Providence (Donnerbrunnen) and the beautiful building called “house of the carriers” (BarockesBurgerhaus).

Finally, we reached Josefsplatz(Joseph’s Square) with the equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II.  Behind the Emperor you can admire the shining statues positioned on the roof of the National Library.

Demel Pastry shop and Café Central: to end our short visit of Vienna we chose the most …. “gourmand” placesbefore returning to the hotel and leaving the city.

We made a stop at  Demel Pastry shop, the most popular (and most expensive) in Vienna, then in the Café Central, a traditional Viennese café, which is a meeting place for chess players.

Immediately after, there is the Freyung passage, a shop gallery where there are luxury shops.

And then we ended our visit.Even if it has been a short visit, we could discover new beauties of the city and admire the traditional places once more.