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Forgotten Armenian Treasures

Forgotten Armenian Treasures

There is nothing special about Mechitaristengasse in the 7th District, indeed few people seem aware of its existence. But look again at the door at No. 4, adorned with a sculpted bishop’s mitre. It marks the entrance to the Mekhitarist Armenian Monastery, one of Vienna’s least-known places of worship.   Venice to Vienna It’s always […]

Heroes of the Polar Seas

Heroes of the Polar Seas

Sometimes in winter, Austria can be gripped by a cold spell you could swear was worthy of the Arctic. So surely there is no need to actually go there. Yet others have, and two memorials in Vienna honour men who made their names in the frozen north. Now, with a chill in the air, it’s […]

A City for the Dead: Wien Deals with the Deceased

A City for the Dead: Wien Deals with the Deceased

November 1st is Allerheiligen (All Saints’ Day) when Western Christians honour deceased relatives who (they assume) have made it to heaven. Since the early Middle Ages they’ve adorned family graves with candles and flowers, bringing light and colour to cemeteries darkened by the onset of winter. On this day, Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof is a remarkable sight. […]

The Emperor, the Tailor and The Church of Deliverance

The Emperor, the Tailor and The Church of Deliverance

When strolling around Schottentor, tourists will often exclaim: “Look! There’s the Stephansdom.” They are lost, of course, mistaking the Votivkirche on Rooseveltplatz for the city’s mighty Gothic cathedral nearly synonymous with the city itself. But the error is forgivable since the magnificent neo-Gothic Votivkirche resembles the far older one in many ways and has its […]

Subterranean Cityscapes

Subterranean Cityscapes

Vienna’s summer streets are a hive of activity, as visitors make pilgrimage from park to palace, and market to museum. Understandably, many locals flee to the countryside for the cool and the quiet. But there is another way! And that is to head underground. Beneath the 1st District is a warren of secret places that […]

The Fun of the Fair

The Fun of the Fair

People have been enjoying Vienna’s Prater for almost 250 years, and it’s easy to see why. The vast island of green has something for everyone, including a thrilling fairground with a past every bit as colourful as its present.   The early years The word Prater (from the Latin Pratum meaning “meadow”) was first coined […]

All Change at Westbahnhof: The History of a Crossroads

All Change at Westbahnhof: The History of a Crossroads

On 14 Dec. 2009, the fabled Orient Express pulled into Vienna’s Westbahnhof for the last time, a victim of high-speed trains and cut-price airlines. In the months that followed, the station at the top of Mariahilferstraße was dramatically overhauled. Now as much a shopping centre as a railway station, it contains reminders of a past […]

Vienna at Your Convenience: A History of Public Toilets

Art and ideas are hard to escape in Vienna, with statuary gracing the rooftops and music behind almost every door. “The very streets of Vienna are paved with culture, the other cities with asphalt,” wrote social critic Karl Kraus. Even down to the public conveniences. First flush Toilets have long been a measure of civilisation. […]

A Cloister for Academics: The Habsburgs’ University

The history of the University of Vienna (Universität Wien) stretches back almost 650 years. During that time it has grown enormously, both in the number of students who have passed through its doors, and in the number of books on its library shelves. Birth of an institution The university was founded on 12 March 1365 […]

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