Vienna - from Karlsplatz to the Hofburg

AUG 13,2011 - AUG 13,2011 (1 DAYS)

Citywalk

From Karlsplatz to the Hofburg:

Main attractions: Karlsplatz (,Karlsplatz Pavilions, The Stadtbahn, Karlplatz underground station, Musikverein, Künstlerhaus, Wien Museum, Karlskirche, Secession Building, Schwarzenbergplatz, Wiener Konzerthaus, Stadtpark (City Park),  Franziskanerplatz, Stephansplatz, Stephansdom (sub-ordinate Tip), Virgilkapelle, Haas-Haus (sub-ordinate Tip), Petersplatz, The Graben, Michaelerplatz.

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Start: Karlsplatz, Public transport: U1, U2, U4 Station Karlsplatz. Karlsplatz is the best connected U-Bahn station in the city and it is easy to access.

End: Michaelerplatz (the Hofburg).

Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Distance: 5-6 km.

Orientation: this itinerary starts where the "Vienna - from the Hofburg to the State Opera House" ends - in the Staatoper haus (State Opera House in Opernring 2. It is 5 minutes walk from the Statoper haus to Karlplatz.  Head east on Opernring toward Opernpassage
72 m. Turn right at Opernkreuzung onto Kärntner Str, 180 m.
Turn left onto Karlsplatz, 110 m. Take the crosswalk and you face Karlplatz.

Karlsplatz is one of the most frequented and best connected transportation hubs in Vienna. It is one of Vienna's largest squares. The Karlsplatz is a concert location and hosts various brief music festivals. It is also a political rallying point at times. There are benches around the huge square so one can relax and enjoy the view of the sites described below. In December the big plaza becomes market for Christmas. Some stalls specialize in handmade crafts others in small gifts; but they all have hot wine and great food. There is something special about wandering through this market in particular when the Karlskirche is lit up (a stunning view ! )and there are several hundreds of people there every evening before Christmas. Do mind your belongings after dark, though, as pickpocketing is an issue here. In other parts of the year Karlplatz seems to be rather quiet and uneventful.

Karlsplatz sites clockward:

On the north side of the Otto Wagner passage and subway pavillions, in Art Nouveau style building erected inclusion of the former station Karlsplatz the Vienna Stadtbahn and  the Wien Karlsplatz (Straßenbahn) U-Bahn station. More northward, beyond Karlplatz street, separated from the plaza to the north are the buildings of the Wiener Musikverein (Vienna Music Society), the Künstlerhaus (art house), and the Handelsakademie (business school).

To the east is the Karlskirche, located in front of a water pool with a sculpture by Henry Moore with the building of the Vienna Museum (formerly the Historical Museum of Vienna) and the Winterthur Insurance building.

on the south side:, Resselpark, is named after the inventor Josef Ressel. It is a leafy park dotted with statues of famous Austrians. In Resselpark, monuments and busts are of famous people such as the inventor Siegfried Marcus and Josef Madersperger, as well as the composer Johannes Brahms.  The park is often crowded as it leads to the large Karlsplatz underground station.

On the west side of it is the main building of the Technische Universität Wien and, its library (Vienna Technical University), the Novomatic Forum, the Wiener Secession and the Protestant school.

Karlsplatz Pavilions: Coming out of the Karlsplatz important underground station - you first see the Subway Pavilions built by Otto Wagner in 1898. He was an architect who worked for the Vienna Stadtbahn (the metropolitan railway network). The two Pavilions in Art Nouveau - Jugendstil were disassembled, renovated, and then reassembled in the 1980s. One is now used as an exhibition space by the Vienna Museum; the other is used as a café. The delicate design of the pavilions was meant to be in harmony with the nearby Karlskirche. Marble slabs in a green-painted wrought-iron frame are decorated with gold-colored sunflowers and gilded trimmings. The two pavilions no longer serve as station entrances but still retain their charm and elegance. Both pavilions on the Karlsplatz are a preferred photographic subject of Vienna visitors:

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The Stadtbahn was the predecessor of today's U Bahn (U 1, U 2 and  U 4). The U-Bahn wagons are running on the tracks of the Stadtbahn. The first line opened 1898 as a steam railway, the stations where designed by Otto Wagner partly in Jugendstil.  The Stadtbahn was electrified in 1925 and changed to U-Bahn in the eighties. The Karlsplatz station changed completely and the old station became partly a museum for Otto Wagner and partly a cafe and party event location:

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Don't miss the Karlsplatz underground station, it's ornate with it's gold and green paintwork. Not a place to hang around but also nothing to worry about:

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Two well-known Viennese cultural institutions border the north side: the Musikverein (Viennese Music Association) and the Künstlerhaus. The Musikverein, completed in 1869 and home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Künstlerhaus, built in 1868 for the Vienna Artists' Society. The Musikverein is a neoclassical building that was designed by Theophil von Hansen. The Musikverein is made up of several concert halls. The main one is called the Großer Musikvereinssaal, and is characterized by its golden and ivory tones. More than two thousand people, 1,744 seated and 300 standing, come together as one audience:

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Großer Musikvereinssaal:

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Adjacent to the Musikverein is the Künstlerhaus, an exposition hall. It was built between 1865 and 1868 by the Austrian Artists' Society (Gesellschaft bildender Künstler Österreichs, Künstlerhaus), the oldest surviving artists' society in Austria. It has served since then as an exhibition centre for painting, sculpture, architecture and applied art. Since 1947 it has also managed a cinema, which is used as one of the screening venues for the annual Viennale film festival:

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The busts in front of the Künstlerhaus are: Leonardo de Vinci, Tizian, Velasquez:

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This side wing of the Künstlerhaus is used as a cinema:

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The Wien Museum – from 1887 to 2003 called the "Historical Museum of the City of Vienna" – was once housed in the Vienna town hall. There were already plans for a new building on Karlsplatz before 1914, in fact by Otto Wagner. The museum's first new building opened in 1959, the work of Oswald Haerdtl, a former associate of Josef Hoffmann and architect of the Austrian pavilion at world exhibitions of the 1930s. Since the interior courtyard was roofed over in 2000, the museum has gained a multi-functional event facility and a café. Alongside the permanent collection, special exhibitions are held at regular intervals in the Haerdtl building. Here you'll find a collection of archaeological finds from the Roman era, Ottoman items obtained during the siege of Vienna in 1683 as well as many paintings, scale models, postcards and photographs depicting Vienna through the ages. Some items of note include Gothic stained glass windows from the Stephansdom - rescued from a fire in 1945 - and reconstructed apartments of famous Viennese, such as architect Adolf Loos. The museum also has a collection of art, including works from famous Viennese artists including Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays,
10.00 - 18.00. 24 December and 31 December: 10.00 - 14.00. Closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. Prices: Adults: EUR 4,-, Senior citizens, Vienna Card, disabled persons, apprentices and trainees, students up to age 27, military and civil social services: EUR 3,-. Combined ticket (Wien Museum Karlsplatz and Otto Wagner Pavilion Karlsplatz) -Adults: EUR 8,-, Senior citizens, Vienna Card, disabled persons, apprentices and trainees, students up to age 27, military and civil social services: EUR 6,-. For visitors younger than 19 years: free entry. Every first Sunday of the month for all visitors: free entry. Photos allowed without flash. Uninspiring exterior, but, interesting and extensive display with occasional explanatory labels in English:

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Emilia Floege by Klimt:

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Egon Schiele - Self portrait with spread fingers (1911):

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Egon Schiele -Young Mother (1914):

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Resselpark: The attractive fountain in Ressel Park is known as Tilgners Fountain. It was erected in 1902, and has bronze sculptures of a winged cherub and a large fish above another cherub who seems to have fallen. A goose spits water from the back into a clover-leaf marble basin where some frogs are sitting on the basin edge:

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Statue of Johannes Brahms in Resselpark:

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The Karlskirche is a magnificent Baroque and has gained reputation for its dome and its two flanking, Roman-like columns of bas-reliefs. The two columns, were crafted by Lorenzo Mattielli, and are based on a model in Trajan's Column in Rome. The reliefs on the columns depict scenes from the life of St. Charles (Karl) Borromeo, to whom the church was dedicated. The façade in the center, which leads to the porch, corresponds to a Greek temple portico. It derives its name from Charles Borromeo, who was revered as a healer for the year 1713 plague sufferers. You can take an elevator up and inside the church which takes you to scaffolding and stairs all the way up to the top of the interior dome. This gives you an amazing view and a different perspective of the incredible paintings on the walls and ceiling. You'll like seeing the dome up close, but the frame and stairs and other scaffolds spoil the effect from floor level. There is a pond in front of St.Charles church. Its construction started at 1716 and completed at 1737. A pond in front of the church is embellished with a large modern sculpture created by Henry Moore, who donated it to the city of Vienna in 1978:

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Reliefs on the eastern pillar of the Karlskirche:

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Reliefs on the western pillar of the Karlskirche:

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High Altar:

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The Dome:

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There is a statue, "HILLS ARCHES", by famous British sculptor Henry Moore, situated in a pool in front of the Karlskirche (St.Charles Boromeo). It was presented to the City of Vienna by artist himself in 1978. Walk around and view it from different angles:

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Cemented cube - opposite KarlsKieche:

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The nice building of the Technische Universität complex is a good place to see classic architecture. The Technische Hochschule is a school housed in an imposing building with a neoclassical facade decorated with large sculptures. Founded in 1815 as the "Imperial-Royal Polytechnic Institute". it currently has about 26,200 students (19% foreign students/30% women), eight faculties and about 4,000 staff members (1,800 academics). The university's teaching and research is focused on engineering and natural sciences:

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Library building of the Vienna University of Technology:

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Secession Building: More works of Vienese artists can be found in the Secession building, located near the west side of Karlsplatz, towards the Naschmarkt. This remarkable building was designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich in the Jugendstil style, the local version of Art Nouveau. It was built in 1898 as the headquarters of the Secession, an art movement that broke ties with classical art. Its most famous proponent was Gustav Klimt, of whom several artworks can be found inside the Secession building. The structure is crowned with a sphere of gilded intertwined laurel leaves. Flower motifs and small sculptures decorate the white painted facade:

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Head east on Karlsplatz toward Maderstraße, continue 300 m. and turn right onto Schwarzenbergplatz for 65 m. Slight left to stay on Schwarzenbergplatz. One of the more famous places in the city, it is well worth the visit, and is a great photo stop. Just be careful crossing the busy roads around it with the traffic lights. It is not really a square as most platz's are, but is distinguished by a large fountain built in 1873 behind the heroes of the Red Army Statue, statue of Prince Karl Philipp and a impressive monument that was erected in 1945. It is actually more like a small, open street than a square, and it runs between the Kärntner Ring section of the Ringstraße and Lothringerstraße. Travelling south, the street, Schwarzenbergstraße, becomes Schwarzenbergplatz after passing Kärntner Ring. Schwarzenbergplatz then continues briefly until it becomes Rennweg Straße as it passes by the large enclosed parks of Belvedere-Garten and the Palais Schwarzenberg, and the Schwarzenberggarten to the west. A large equestrian statue of Austrian Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, who fought with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars, is on display. In 1861, Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered the construction of the Schwarzenberg Monument to commemorate the victorious commander of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. The equestrian statue was created by Ernst Hähnel and completed in October, 1867:

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In August 1945, immediately after the end of World War II, the Red Army revealed the War Memorial (now popularly called the Russian Monument) behind the Hochstahlbrunnen fountain. Until 1955, a Soviet T-34 tank was placed there. During the occupation, the southern part of square was renamed Stalin Square on 12 April 1946, and this name was officially effective until 18 July 1956. The "Haus der Industrie" (House of Industry), then No. 4 Stalin Square, was the seat of the Allied Council of the four occupying powers until 1955. In 2003 and 2004, the Schwarzenberg Square was re-designed by Spanish architect Alfredo Arribas and equipped with sunken lighting elements representing different lighting effects. Under the Schwarzenberg Square courses the Wien River and the underground line U4, and it was also once the location for the "Zwingburg", a shelter for homeless people who retreated into the Viennese sewers.

French Embassy in Schwarzenbergplatz:

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The most imposing figure on Schwarzenbergplatz is the unknown Red Army soldier (Denkmal der Roten Armee). The huge monument to the Soviet liberation of Vienna in WWII. The soldier towers above the surrounding area. The backdrop to the soldier is a classy structuralist piece of architecture reminiscent of a viaduct. In front of the soldier is the commemoration plaque in Russian and German. A popular spot for Russian tourists:

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The fountain in Schwarzenbergplatz (known locally as the Hochstahlbrunnen) is magnificent and have 365 smaller jets, even more impressive under floodlights. The fountain is simply AMAZING. The fountain celebrates the arrival of Alpine water channeled to Vienna. It  offers some real relief when passing by in the heat of the Vienna summer:

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A sonic pavilion by Matthew Ritchie with
 Aranda Lasch and Arup AGU on Schwarzenbergplatz:

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Head northwest on Schwarzenbergplatz. Turn right to stay on Schwarzenbergplatz for 110 m. Turn right onto Lothringerstraße and the Wiener Konzerthaus is on the right. The Konzerthaus was built between 1911 and 1913. The architects were Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. The original Art Nouveau building was partly destroyed during renovations and adaptions, but the building was reconstructed from original sketches in the 1970s:

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It contains originally three halls, in which there can be simultaneous concerts: Großer Saal  with 1,840 seats,

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Mozartsaal, with 704 seats,

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Schubertsaal, with 336 seats.

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The Berio Saal was added during the latest renovations and seats up to 400 people. The Konzerthaus hosts the Vienna Symphony, the Wiener Kammerorchester, the Wiener Singakademie and the Klangforum Wien. The Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft also conducts several festivals during the year.

Head northeast on Lothringerstraße toward Beethovenplatz (it will be on your left) and head straight to the Stadtpark toward Johannesgasse.

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The Stadtpark (City Park)  is a large municipal park that extends from the Ringstraße in the Innere Stadt first district up to the Heumarkt (Hay Market) in the Landstraße third district. Beautiful and well kept park. It is famous for the monument of Johann Strauss. The park is rich with beautiful flowers and pathways. There is a restaurant (Steirereck, Am Heumarkt 2A) and hall where classical music performance take place. The park is divided in two sections by the Wienfluss (Vienna River). Scattered throughout the park are statues of famous Viennese artists, writers, and composers, including Johann Strauss II, Franz Schubert, and Anton Bruckner. The opulent Kursalon building on Johannesgasse, with its broad terrace that reaches into the park, is the site of popular waltz concerts. The park was opened in 1862, following the demolition of the old city wall and the construction of the Ringstraße, and was Vienna's first public park. There are some nice cafes in the park with wonderful Austrian cuisine.

Donauweibchen-Brunnen:

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Stadtpark Uhr:

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The Wien river passes into the Stadtpark. The Wien is a river that flows through the city of Vienna. It is 34 kilometres long), of which 15 km are within the city. Its drainage basin covers an area of 230 km²  both in the city and in the neighbouring Wienerwald. In German, the river is colloquially called the "Wienfluss":

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There are many sights in Wiener Stadtpark that deserve visitors’ attention. One of these is the Kursalon, where healing mineral water from the former water Glacis was originally served. Kursalon’s functions developed further with the concert performances held there since the second half of the 19th Century:

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The Stadtpark is the richest park in Vienna for monuments and sculptures: the golden Johann Strauß memorial, 

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Franz Schubert,

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Franz Lehar and Robert Stolz,

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a marble statue of the painter Hans Makart, bronze busts of composer, Anton Bruckner, Vienna Mayor, Andreas Zelinka, under whose governance the Stadtpark was laid out, and many more.

Exit the Stadtpark from its west side, walk along Liebenberggasse from east to west, cross  Singerstraße, turn left (west) to Seilerstätte, and
turn right to Weihburggasse. The Franziskanerkirche in Franziskanerplatz 4 is on your right. Franziskanerplatz is located in one of Vienna’s oldest quarters, just a few minutes’ walk from Stefansplatz. Its name is derived from the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) that was built here in the 17th century in a Renaissance style that incorporated Gothic elements. Artner Franziskanerplatz in Franziskanerplatz 5 is one of the most famous restaurants of Vienna.

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Visit also the Kleines Café in Franziskanerplatz (they serve delicious bread with a choice of toppings).

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Franziskanerplatz with the Franciscan monastery and church has 17th and 18th C. buildings all round and is one of the most attractive squares in Vienna. In front of you is the Franciscan Church. The order was founded as a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi. Directly adjoined to the church is the Franciscan Monastery. Especially noticeable on the building facade are the round grey-blueish depressions. A tendency towards Italian style buildings is a reminder of the Franciscan Orders Italian origins. A touch of Italian flair in Vienna. It is one of the few remaining building facades in renaissance style, which still exists in Vienna.The Franciscan Church has a beautiful baroque interior. The Moses Fountain, with its jaws like the base of a lion, used to stand in the courtyard of No. 6 "Zum grünen Löwen" (The Green Lion). Johann Martin Fischer designed the lead statue of Moses striking water from the rock. In 1798 it was placed on the base of the fountain which had been brought here. The country coaches used to set out from the former "Zum grünen Löwen" in the days of Emperor Joseph. It was possible to travel 160km/100mi and more out of the city into the country by these coaches. The Franziskanerkirche was erected in 1603. The outside facade of the Franciscan Church is Renaissance in style. However, its interior is Baroque. The high altar depicting the Virgin Mary was designed by Andrea Pozzo in 1707. The church holds the oldest organ in Vienna. The carved Baroque organ was designed by Johann Wockerl in 1642:

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It is 300 m., 3 minutes walk from the Franziskanerkirche to the Stephansplatz. Head northeast on Franziskanerplatz toward Singerstraße
45 m. Turn left onto Singerstraße, 160 m. Turn right onto Churhausgasse,
49 m. Turn left onto Stephansplatz. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world. To the west and south, respectively, run the exclusive shopping streets Graben ("ditch") (see later in this blog) and Kärntner Straße ("Kärnten" is the German for Carinthia). A bustling pedestrian precinct surrounded by shops and cafes.

The U-Bahn station at Stephansplatz is one of the busiest in the city, and is the only junction between the U1 and U3 underground lines. It is also the nearest U-Bahn station to many of the tourist attractions in the city centre. The U-Bahn has a lift which opens directly onto the square/plaza.

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Stephansplatz itself does not have all that much to offer. It is basically a tourist crossing. All streets around are wonderful and enjoyable. Kärntner Straße and the Graben intersect at Stephansplatz. These two streets are both the nicest to walk down. Most of the outdoor cafes there are rather expensive. The St. Stephan cathedral's bells add to the nice atmosphere. Stephanplatz is also one of the locations to find the Fiaker, horse-drawn carriages, that are so popular with tourists for tours of the city. The smell of horse manure from the stylish carriages mingles with but doesn't turn you off the many wonderful smells (especially, Cinammon) from the coffee houses and restaurants:

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Of interest are houses: Singerstrasse No. 1- a date on the facade of 1906 with the signing "Painted Brothers Voelkel, Vienna" refers to a restoration of the painting,

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No. 2, "Zur Weltkugel" (The Globe),

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No. 3, Das Churhaus (Election House),

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No. 5, Domherrenhof (Prebendary's Court),

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No. 6, Zwettlerhof (Zwettler Court)

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and No. 7, the Archbishop's Palace:

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Until 1732 Stephansplatz was a cemetery, as is indicated by the tombstones incorporated in the external walls of the cathedral and the Late Gothic column in which the eternal light burned for the dead. To the right of the cathedral colored stones mark the outline of the Chapel of Mary Magdalene, in which burial services were once held. It was first documented in 1378 and burned down in 1781. When Stephansplatz underground station was being constructed the Virgilkapelle (Virgilian Chapel) was discovered beneath the crypt of Mary Magdalene. The Virgilkapelle is an extraordinary relic of Vienna's medieval past, which also houses a collection of historic Viennese ceramics and is open to the public. The Virgilkapelle is an underground crypt next to the Stephansdom in Vienna. It is rectangular in form (approximately 6 meters by 10), with six niches, and today lies approximately 12 meters beneath the Stephansplatz:
The outlining lines of the Virgilkapelle at the Stephansplatz:

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We'll walk 350 m. in 5 minutes from Stephansdom to Petersplatz. Head southwest toward Jasomirgottstraße, 110 m. Turn right onto Goldschmiedg, 180 m. Turn left onto Petersplatz - where you find the Peterkirche (St. Peter church). The first Roman church was built on, or close to, a Roman camp and replaced by a three-naved Romanesque church, which in turn was demolished to make way for the present Baroque church. The old medieval church burned down in 1661 and was given only crudely repaired. It was decided to build a new church when the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity arrived, of which the emperor Leopold I was a member. He had taken a vow to rebuild this church when Vienna was ravished by the plague in 1679-1680. The construction of the new Baroque church began in 1701 and was more or less completed by year 1722. The Peterskirche was finally consecrated in 1733.

Petersplatz and the facade and entrance to St. Peter's Church topped by its great turreted dome:

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The pale-yellow-and-white facade features towers that turn slightly inward and turrets inspired by the tents of the Turks during the siege of 1683, and a fine facade portal. The turreted dome was mainly designed by Matthias Steinl, who was also responsible for the interior decoration and the pews with their fabulous cherubic heads:

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St. Peter's Interior: The highly decorated interior contains lots of fine artwork from the early 18th century, including frescoes, gilded carved wood and altarpieces. There are also glass-crowned galleries high on the walls to either side of the altar, the tableau of the martyrdom of St. John Nepomuk, and the fresco in the dome by J. M. Rottmayr depicting the Coronation of the Virgin. The church makes an overwhelming impression on the visitor with its surprisingly rich interior filled with golden stucco. Over the years, the paintings had become darker, and the interior began to take on a grey appearance. From 1998 to 2004, the church underwent a renovation, which returned the paintings to their original rich colouring and brightness:

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The Dome:

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Head southwest on Petersplatz toward Jungferngasse, 30 m. Turn right onto Jungferngasse, 45 m. Turn left onto Graben. The Graben (German: Trench) is one of the most famous streets in Vienna's first district, the city centre. It begins (south-east) at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz (adjacent to the Stephansdom) next to the Palais Equitable

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and ends at the junction of Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben (north-west):

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It is crossed by Wipplinger Straße by the Hohe Brücke, a bridge about ten metres above street level. OUR WALK DIRECTION IS: from south-east to north-west.

Although the name Graben translates into the word 'ditch' or 'trench' there is absolutely no comparison between the two. Graben is a showcase of elegance and style. It is one of the most beautiful streets not only in Vienna, but in Europe. The Graben is a wide-open space which is half street and half square. In 1950 it was the first place to have fluorescent lighting. In 1971 it became the first pedestrian zone, and soon afterwards cafes took over for the summer months what was formerly a major thoroughfare. Graben was once the city moat around the Roman camp, then it became the flower and vegetable market, and from the 17th C. on it was the scene of Court festivities.

There are two old fountains along the Graben: the Joseph Fountain (Josefsbrunnen)

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and the Leopold Fountain - near Stephanplatz and the Haas Haus:

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Both were altered many times and lead figures by Johann Martin Fischer were added in 1804. Of the many Baroque buildings that surrounded the Graben in the 18th C. only the Bartolotti-Partenfeld Palace (No. 11) remains:

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The Graben was particularly suitable for festival processions as well as for triumphal processions, in particular for the arrival of Archdukes and Emperors. On December 4, 1950, the first neon lights in Vienna were installed here. On November 22, 1974, the Graben became, on a provisional basis, Vienna's first pedestrian zone. In the course of the construction of the U-Bahn, the Graben was rebuilt in successive phases, and the pedestrian zone was gradually expanded. Today the Graben is again one of the most important promenades and shopping streets in Vienna.

Here are several interesting, well-known buildings and shops along the Graben:
The shop facade of the jewelers Caesar's by Hollein has long been on the itinerary of tourists interested in art. With its polished granite slab and a mass of metal pipes it is reminiscent of the decorative style of the early 70s nearby:

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Also of interest in the Graben are the subterranean Art Nouveau toilets. They were built in 1905 by Adolf Loos and have been renovated to reveal their true glory. The cubicles are lined with wood and marble panels and have gilded fittings:

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Ankerhaus - residence building in the Graben:  This residential building was erected between 1894 and 1895 by Otto Wagner, presumably for himself. Its name owes to the fact that the previous building had been purchased by the insurance firm Der Anker. The style of the lower storey, with its large glass surfaces, points forward to later construction techniques with reinforced concrete. Beginning in 1971 the building was used by Friedensreich Hundertwasser:

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Generalihof (Graben 14-15): This building, first erected between 1794 and 1795 by Peter Mollner and Ernest Koch, was rebuilt in 1831 by Josef Klee. This was the site of Leopold Kozeluch's music shop. In 1894 the Assicurazione Generali acquired the house, renovating the facade and adding a penthouse. Knize, a prominent tailor, occupied the ground floor; its showroom was built by Adolf Loos:

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Grabenhof: The Grabenhof, also known as the Thienemannhof, is a historicizing work built between 1873 and 1874 by Otto Thienemann and Otto Wagner on the site of the old Arkadenhof. The roof was rebuilt in 1947 by Alfons Hetmanek. It is today owned by the Österreichische Beamtenversicherung, and has been used since 1991 as a site for cultural events. On June 18, 1994, a memorial plaque for Josef Sonnleithner, who lived in the Arkadenhof until 1874, was erected. Sonnleithner was the founder of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien" (Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna):

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The Freisingerhof, built c. 1180 to manage the estates of the Bishopric of Freising, boasts the first monumental building on Der Graben, used as an administrative centre, as well as a lodging place for the Freising bishops. Built in the Romanesque style, the building is huge and imposing, with comparatively small vaults and rooms.

The Trattnerhof is also impressive with its nicely decorated entrance portals, engraved with caryatids by artist Tobias Kögler. In 1911, it was substituted by two administrative buildings, separated by an alley that leads to the old city of Vienna:

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In the middle of Graben Square an imposing Baroque monument called the Pestsäule, or Plague column, is an impressive sight. As the name implies, it was erected to commemorate the end of the devastating bubonic plague of the 1600s. At the base - which is triangular in its outlay - you find a kneeling Emperor Leopold I, easily recognizable by his enormous (and enormously ugly) chin. The Vienna Trinity Column is the most famous and oldest piece of a whole genre of columns that can be found in various cities mostly in Austria, Bohemia and Bavaria:

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View from the Graben to the Stephansdom and Haas-Haus before sunset:

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Outdoor sculptures along the Graben:

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A relief in the northern-west edge of the Graben (Tuchlauben x Naglergasse):

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From the north-west end of the Graben, from Tuchlaubenstr. - we head southwest on Tuchlauben toward Bognerg (Partial restricted usage road),
46 m. Continue onto Kohlmarkt, 200 m. Turn left onto Michaelerplatz, already explored in the "Vienna - from Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz" blog:

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Religion

Stephansdom - St. Stephen's cathedral:

St. Stephen's Cathedral is THE symbol of Vienna. St. Stephen's Cathedral is the number one attraction in the city with 3 million visitors every year. Today, it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. The cathedral is 107 metres long, 40 metres wide, and 136 metres tall at its highest point. It has four towers. The tallest of these is the south tower at 136 meters. The tower room with its 13 giant bells, from which there is a stunning view across Vienna, is reached via 343 steps.  However, the best-known bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Pummerin (the largest bell is officially named for St. Mary, but usually called Pummerin ("Boomer") and hangs in the north tower) is located in the 68.3 meter-tall north tower. It is the second-biggest free-swinging chimed church bell in Europe (after the Peter bell in Cologne Cathedral). The Pummerin sounds on only a few special occasions each year, including the arrival of the new year. St. Stephen's Cathedral has 23 bells in total. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven discovered the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying out of the bell tower as a result of the bells' tolling but could not hear the bells. A group of eleven electrically operated bells, cast in 1960, hangs in the mighty south tower.The north Roman Tower contains six bells, five of which were cast in 1772, that ring for evening prayers and toll for funerals. On the roof of St. Stephan's Cathedral, colorful roof tiles were laid to create the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna.

Construction commenced in the 12th century. Founded in 1137 following the Treaty of Mautern (between Bishop of Passau Reginmar and Margrave Leopold IV), the partially constructed Romanesque church was solemnly dedicated in 1147 to Saint Stephen. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. The first structure was completed in 1160.  In 1258  a great fire destroyed much of the original building, and a larger replacement structure, also Romanesque in style and reusing the two towers, was constructed over the ruins of the old church and consecrated in 1263. In 1304, King Albert I ordered a Gothic three-nave choir to be constructed east of the church. In 1359, Rudolf IV laid the cornerstone for a westward Gothic extension of the Albertine choir in the vicinity of the present south tower. The south tower was completed in 1433, and vaulting of the nave took place from 1446 to 1474. The foundation for a north tower was laid in 1450. On 12 April 1945, civilian looters lit fires in nearby shops as Soviet Army troops entered the city. The winds carried the fire to the cathedral where it severely damaged the roof, causing it to collapse. Fortunately, there was a minimal damage to the most valuable artworks. Ancient bells also lost in the 1945 fire. Rebuilding began immediately, with a limited reopening 12 December 1948 and a full reopening in 23 April 1952.

Tours in and around the Cathedral feature plenty of worthwhile things to see and lots of interesting information. You can also climb up St. Stephen's Cathedral (South Tower, Türmer Stube), take the lift up to the Pummerin (North Tower), or go down into the catacombs.

Guided tour €4.50 (€10 on SAT); catacombs €4.50; stairs to south tower €3.50; elevator to Pummerin bell €4.50; combined ticket €14.50
MON–SAT 06.00 - 10.00, SUN 07.00 – 22.00. English-language guided tour, APR–OCT at 15.45,  catacombs tour, MON–SAT every half hour 10.00 – 11.30 and 13.30 – 16.30, SUN every half hour 13.30 – 16.30; Pummerin bell, APR–JUN, SEP and OCT, daily 08.30 – 17.30, JUL and AUG daily 08.30 – 18.00, NOV – MAR daily 08.30 – 17.00; evening tours, JUN–SEP, SAT at 19.00.

The south facade in Singerstraße:

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Relief in the south-east facade of the Cathedral:

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The south-west facade of St. Stephansdom:

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The eastern facade of St. Stephansdom:

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Romanesque Towers on the west (main) front, with the Giant's Door / Gate:

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The clock on the west facade:

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The Giant Gate: To the right of the Giant’s Door you can see the characters “O 5.” They were written there in the last months of the national socialist regime as a secret code: The number 5 stands for E as the fifth letter in the alphabet, which makes it the symbol for “O-E.” This refers to Österreich, Austria, and was used by the civilian resistance movement:

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The interior of St. Stephen's Cathedral was changed again and again over the centuries, right through to the Baroque period. 

The first focal point of any visitor is the distant High Altar, built over seven years from 1641 to 1647 as part of the first refurbishment of the cathedral in the baroque style. The altar was built by Tobias Pock. It is framed by figures of patron saints from the surrounding areas – Saints Leopold, Florian, Sebastian and Rochus – and surmounted with a statue of St. Mary which draws the beholder's eye to a glimpse of heaven where Christ waits for Stephen (the first martyr) to ascend from below. The main part of the church contains 18 altars.

Nave:

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In addition to valuable altars and side chapels, the impressive cathedral treasure can also be seen, including relics decorated with gold and precious stones.

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The famous Maria Pötsch Icon (MP) is in the right upper corner of the photo below. A Byzantine style icon of St. Mary with the child Jesus. The icon takes its name from the Hungarian Byzantine Catholic shrine of Máriapócs (pronounced Poach), from where it was transferred to Vienna. The picture shows the Virgin Mary pointing to the child (signifying "He is the way") and the child holding a three-stemmed rose (symbolizing the Holy Trinity) and wearing a prescient cross from his neck:

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Other interior sights:

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Wiener Neustädter Altar: One of the greatest treasures is the Wiener Neustadt altarpiece (1447) in the left chapel of the choir. Richly gilded and painted, it depicts the Virgin Mary between St. Catherine and St. Barbara:

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Michael Kauffmann Electric Organ:

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At the cathedral's apse you can admire the so-called "Zahnwehherrgott" (Lord of tooth ache), an 'ecce homo' statue once situated at the graveyard outside the cathedral:

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Pulpit: The stone pulpit is a masterwork of late Gothic sculpture. Long attributed to Anton Pilgram, today Niclaes Gerhaert van Leyden is thought more likely to be the carver. The pulpit stands against a pillar out in the nave - so that the sermon voice and sounds could be better heard by the worshipers in the days before microphones and loud speakers were installed. On this pulpit there are relief portraits of the four original Doctors of the Church (St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory the Great and St. Jerome), each of them in one of four different temperaments and in one of four different stages of life. The handrail of the stairway curving its way around the pillar from ground level to the pulpit has fantastic decorations of toads and lizards biting each other, symbolizing the fight of good against evil. At the top of the stairs, a stone puppy protects the preacher from intruders:

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A rare self-portrait of the artist (Anton Pilgram) is under the Pulpit's stairs, looking out a window with his sculptor's compass. This marks the transition point into the Renaissance, when artists began to be famous instead of anonymous:

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Numerous important people were also given their final resting place in St. Stephen's Cathedral: Emperor Friedrich III. was buried in an impressive marble sarcophagus. The tomb’s cover slab alone weighs eight tonnes. Prince Eugene of Savoy has his final resting place in a private chapel. And famous names buried in the catacombs of St. Stephen's Cathedral include the Habsburg duke Rudolph IV. “the founder", who laid the foundation stone for the Gothic reconstruction of the cathedral in 1359. In addition, the graves of Vienna’s cardinals and archbishops can be found in the catacombs.

Tomb of Emperor Frederick III:

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What is under the cathedral is intriguing, too. Catacombs house the Ducal Vault with the sarcophagus of Emperor Rudolf IV and 14 other tombs. Burial vaults under the building contain the brains, eyes and intestines of 72 Habsburg rulers while the newer section of the catacombs, from 1744, are home to the remains of almost 11,000 people. Back above ground, the sacristies boast stunning frescoes and a large Gothic crucifix while the Treasure Room holds valuable vestments and liturgical items. Prices: Adults EUR 5.00, School parties (14-18 yrs) EUR 3.00, Children (up to 14 yrs) EUR 2.00:

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The church often hosts classical concerts and choir recitals throughout the year:

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Opposite the Stephansdom is the Haas-Haus, a piece of striking modern architecture by Hans Hollein. Although public opinion was originally skeptical about the combination of the mediaeval cathedral and the glass and steel building, it is now considered an example of how old and new architecture can mix harmoniously .

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Austria

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