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In the 16th: A Mysterious Wartime Command Center

In the 16th: A Mysterious Wartime Command Center

Western Allied bombers first appeared in the skies over Vienna on 17 Mar. 1944. Fifty more raids followed, during which 20 per cent of the city was razed. Each time the sirens were sounded, instructions were orchestrated from todays 16th District, from the Schirach-Bunker on the Gallitzinberg, named after Baldur von Schirach, Gauleiter of Vienna. […]

How Silver Screen Vienna Forgot Where it all Began

How Silver Screen Vienna Forgot Where it all Began

Austrian cinema is best known internationally for the directors, rather, than the films, it has fostered. Men like Alexander Korda, Michael Curtiz, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder all hailed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire – but politics meant they found fame elsewhere. Despite this, and a decidedly checkered history, Vienna’s historic Rosenhügel film studios are still […]

Exploring Beethoven’s Bastion with Harry Lime

Exploring Beethoven’s Bastion with Harry Lime

It’s winter, and only the hardiest souls are out exploring Vienna’s back streets. With many content to stay indoors, perhaps now is the time for a little crowd-free urban exploration – and the place to go is Mölker Bastei. This unsung city corner near Schottentor offers five hundred years of history, all within a stone’s […]

A Story of Love and Bubbles

For the last hundred years, only sparkling wine made in the French Champagne region has been permitted to carry that region’s name. Producers elsewhere have not been allowed to profit from one of the world’s strongest brands. For the Vienna-based company Schlumberger, however, this has not been a handicap, and its sparkling wines are as […]

The Knights of Blood Alley

Concealed inside a courtyard behind the Stephansdom there stands a venerable Plane tree, where within living memory a sharp piece of iron could still be seen, piercing the bark from within. That, swore locals, was the sword of a medieval knight! Well, perhaps… Into Another World The Fähnrichshof is one of Vienna’s most charming courtyards. […]

Of Courtly Love and the Four Seasons

Hurrying between Hoher Markt and Kohlmarkt in Vienna’s 1st District, neither locals nor tourists seem to notice the little statue on the corner at Tuchlauben 20. It depicts a man in medieval garb, his legs astride a portable brazier stove. From his blissful expression, he is clearly deriving welcome respite from the rigours of winter. […]

Fire at the Ringtheater

Vienna’s famous Ringstrasse, the imposing nineteenth century boulevard laid out on ground occupied formerly by the Renaissance city walls, is graced with many iconic buildings. One of the most interesting, however, is no longer standing. The Ringtheater at Schottenring 7, across from the Old Stock Exchange, was destroyed by fire in December 1881, dramatically altering […]

The Forgotten Inventor of the Motor Car

There are memorials to Siegfried Marcus all over Vienna – at least six by my count. So it is surprising that the 19th century inventor of the internal combustion engine is not better known. This was the man who paved the way for the motorcar, and so, you could say, one of the architects of […]

Vienna Made to Measure

Vienna’s retail landscape is changing rapidly, especially around Graben, Kohlmarkt, and Kärntnerstrasse. Venerable old stores, such as the clothier Braun & Co. and photographer Siegfried Wachtl, have recently been ousted by global brands. Perhaps in a decade or so the city centre will be no different to that of any other other European capital? But […]

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