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Stuwerviertel: Creating Campus Life

Stuwerviertel: Creating Campus Life

It’s a tricky business to reinvent a city district. The resurrection of the Gasometer – with a shopping mall and apartment buildings – more than a decade ago aimed to revitalise the 11th District. But somehow, the project never quite took off, leaving a mediocre shopping mall and plenty of empty apartments. The prospects for […]

In Praise of Concrete

In Praise of Concrete

Vienna is a sacred city and rightly proud of its churches. From soaring Gothic to gilded Baroque, the place boasts myriad well-documented masterpieces. Concealed in its suburbs, however, lurk other gems that reach to the heavens in spires of concrete. A first in concrete Austria’s first concrete church was unveiled in 1913 in Ottakring. The […]

(Un)dress To Impress

(Un)dress To Impress

For retro-themed ambiance, Vienna has few rivals, being somewhat Vintage itself: elegantly decrepit fin-de-siècle decadence still saturates the very walls of the manifold venues presenting themselves. One of them is the Volkstheater’s Rote Bar, home of the burlesque carnival Cirque Rouge, a celebration of vaudeville and cabaret culture taking place every few months. Setting it apart is its dedication to recreating a first-half […]

Originality in Gift Giving

Originality in Gift Giving

Insead of pitying the (wo)man who has everything, give them something unique and original. At Christmas time it’s more than  family, it’s also the house presents for countless Christmas and New Year’s parties. A box of cookies or bottle of wine will surely disappear in no time. So where to find the perfect individualised gift? […]

Trailing the Krampus

Trailing the Krampus

It is cold and dark. It’s November 24, and I have been waiting in the bitter cold behind metallic fences for more than an hour. Many others, both children and adults, wait for the Krampuslauf (Krampus parade) to start. Some are drinking Punsch, and everyone appears excited. I have seen pictures of the Krampus, but […]

Scent of a City – Exploring Local Colognes

Scent of a City – Exploring Local Colognes

What are the scents that define Vienna? I don’t mean Kaiserschmarrn with warm plums or Christmas market punch or the acrid smell of the carriage horses by Stephansdom. I mean the bottled fragrances – perfumes, colognes, waters, oils – that cannot be purchased around the world in duty-free carts. Seven generations of the Filz family […]

A Ballroom Reborn

A Ballroom Reborn

On 16 August, 2001 a fire broke out on Marxergasse in Vienna’s 3rd District. Allegedly caused by a careless workman, the flames raged for eight hours. Only when the smoke cleared could the damage be assessed: The legendary Sofiensäle, once Vienna’s most beloved ballroom, was a smouldering ruin.   Bath to ballroom The story of […]

Campusviertel: Student Life Meets the Bourgeoisie

Campusviertel: Student  Life Meets the Bourgeoisie

The 8th District is (after the inner city) the smallest, richest and oldest of all the Vienna Bezirke – and that’s referring to the people not the buildings.  But the northern Grätzl is academics’ country – bounded by Alser Straße, Landesgerichtsstraße (a.k.a. Zweierlinie, the former route of the Nr. 2 tram, torn up more than […]

Mojito Coast

Mojito Coast

Nestled in a side street just off Kärtnerstraße, the Cuban dance bar El Floridita is an underground haven of alegria y pasión tropical (joy and tropical passion, the motto of its Saturday night dance club), a cavernous, peach-coloured dance hall with long, well stocked bars and an excellent humidor welcoming Vienna’s pan-Latino community and indigenous […]

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