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Secret Vienna Blog

Archive: Sep 2017

The story of Richard Löwenherz

UK royals have traditionally been welcome in Austria. The red carpet was rolled out for Charles and Camilla earlier this year, while Edward VII enjoyed hunting with Franz Joseph in his playboy years. This warm reception has not always been the case though. Richard I – famously the Lionheart – did not shirk from making…

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September 23, 2017

The story of the Palais Coburg

What do the wedding of Anna Netrebko and the “Iran deal” have in common? Well, they both happened at the Coburg palais located in Vienna’s first district. This palais belonged to the Coburg family, a large family that expanded all over Europe whose history can confuse laypersons and experts alike. Suffice to say that the…

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September 21, 2017

The story of the Grand Hotel

Do you know the Grand Hotel on Vienna’s Ringstraße? The hotel was one of the many buildings that populated the area where the city walls once stood. The owner of the building, constructed in 1861-1865, was the hotelier Anton Schneider who hired the architect Carl Tietz with the task of building a “Maison Meublée” (“Furnished…

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September 21, 2017

Rebuilding and building Vienna: Erich Boltenstern

Have you heard of Erich Boltenstern? During WWII, Vienna was one of those cities that suffered from air raids. The Opera was hit on March 12, 1945 burning for two days and two nights and if you see the pictures of the aftermath you will see that it was in very bad shape. It was…

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September 17, 2017

The story of the Schubladkastenhaus

In the 18th century the face of the Freyung was changing. The old houses were being demolished and new ones were being built. And because this is Vienna and no building is built without some controversy (think of the Loos Haus, the Haas Haus, and the Vienna Museum) and because the Viennese are good at…

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September 14, 2017

The story of the Freyung

The Freyung is a well-known area of the city with a long history and a peculiar name. It is in this area that Irish monks settled down in the 12th century upon the request of the Babenberger Heinrich II Jasomirgott. Although these monks were Irish, people referred to them as Scots and that is why…

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September 10, 2017

The story of the Böhmische Hofkanzlei

The Judenplatz in Vienna has a long history and one of the famous buildings in the area is the the Böhmische Hofkanzlei (“Bohemian Court Chancellery” in English).  In its lifetime, the Hofkanzlei has seen and experienced many things: all sorts of government offices, expansion works to add more space, important imperial decisions, refurbishment work after the Napoleonic…

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September 9, 2017

Jugendstil Jewel: Otto Wagner’s Postsparkasse Building

One of the most impressive and imposing buildings in the 1st district is the Otto Wagner-designed Österreichische Postsparkasse (Austrian Postal Savings Bank) building. It was opened in 1906 and represents not only the pinnacle of Wagner’s career, but also the culmination of decades of architectural study and design work. The bank itself was established by a parliamentary…

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September 9, 2017

Palais Equitable: An American Palace in Vienna

Have you ever wondered why one of the buildings near Stephansdom has a large American eagle on its facade, and a boat on the roof? Well, there is an explanation for both. This building is called the Palais Equitable, and it can be found at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz 3. In fact, the famous Stock im Eisen (Staff in Iron) from which the…

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September 9, 2017

The Luck of the Chimney Sweep

So, remember the large chimney sweep mentioned in the Hohe Brücke story?  He can be found jutting out over the street with his ladder and flue brush at Wipplingerstrasse 21, just next to the Hohe Brücke. While real chimney sweeps can still regularly be seen walking around town, this large representation of a chimney sweep actually…

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September 9, 2017