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Secret Vienna Blog

Archive: Aug 2017

The story of the Palais Strudelhof


Palais Strudelhof: Not quite as delicious as it sounds! Despite a name that recalls that most famous of Austrian pastries, the Palais Strudelhof sadly has nothing to do with strudel of any kind. Rather, it bears the name of Peter Strudel, who first built a sprawling residence here in 1690. In 1713, the Strudelhof was…

The story of the “Hofapotheke”


The history of the Hofapotheke goes back to 1744 when Maria Theresia ordered the imperial court to buy the pharmacy “Zum goldenen Stern” (“to the golden star”). After the acquisition, it became the Hofapotheke (pharmacy of the imperial court). There is a story about money surrounding the Hofapotheke. During the Seven Years War, a war…

From the ground floor to the top floor


Have you noticed that many of Vienna’s 19th century buildings do not start with the first floor? The ground floor is usually the “Erdgeschoss”, but what should be the first floor, and sometimes also the second floor, have different names: “Mezzanin”, “Untertheilung”, “Hochparterre”, “Halbstock”, and perhaps other names. We don’t know the reason why all…

Die story of the Börse

Die Börse img

Can you imagine Vienna during the construction of the Ringstraße? The whole area was a construction site for many years. Fortifications being demolished, buildings under construction everywhere, and plans for more construction being prepared. During this period, many architects made a name for themselves building several buildings and leaving their mark in the city. One of those who distinguished himself was the Danish Architect Theophil von Hansen. After many years working in Athens he moved to Vienna in 1846 and became a prolific architect in his own right. Hansen’s time in Athens influenced his vision of colors, materials, and forms and this inspiration is evident in his buildings. Hansen’s first public building on the Ringstraße was the Börse (the Stock Exchange) where he successfully prevented, most of the time, budget constraints, agreed plans, or timelines from stopping him in pursuing his ideas of splendor. He even used his own money to cover the costs of works that he believed were necessary for the building. It is because of these ideas that his financiers followed his progress closely as it was believed that “the architect thinks first about the beauty of the building”.  Hansen could not always prevent outside influence and this led to the use of low-quality material here and there and compromises to the interior design that were necessary to limit the costs. Eventually, after 1 year delay and 1 million gulden over budget, the Börse was ready to be inaugurated by the Kaiser in 1877. The Börse survived the second world war with some damages that were refurbished, but a fire in April 1956 completely destroyed its main hall, which was not restored during reparation works. Today, the Börse does not fulfil the functions for which it was built and instead houses several business offices. Soon you will have a chance to visit the Börse and learn more about its history and architecture while getting a feeling for Hansen’s inspiration.

As part of the Open House Wien 2017, the Börse will be open for visitors on Saturday September 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be tours in German and English. Don’t miss this opportunity! (Cr). For more information visit:


The story of the Stubentor


At one end of the Wollzeile street in the city center you will find yourself at a metro station, namely Stubentor. Similar to the Schottentor, the “Tor” refers to one of the city gates that were located in the area. The history of the Stubentor goes back to the 13th century and it was eventually…

The story of the Jubiläumswarte


The city of Vienna has large green areas as part of the city is flanked by hills. In some districts, not a lot of time is needed to reach the hills and if you walk far enough you end up in the federal state that surrounds Vienna, namely Lower Austria. Many people go to the…

The story of the Loos Haus


In 1909, Leopold Goldman hired Adolf Loos to build a store for his gentlemen’s outfitters business. Loos agreed to do this with the condition that he would have free hand when designing the façade. During construction, the façade was covered with a scaffold and in 1910, when construction was basically finished, the time came to…