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Secret Vienna Blog

Archive: Jul 2018

The story of the Schweizerhof

The Hofburg. Most visitors and locals have walked along it and through it: the former Royal and Imperial Library, the “Leopoldinischer Trakt”, the “Michaelertrakt”, and the many other buildings and passages that have been built over the centuries. But where did it all start? Well, it started in the area that is known today as…

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July 28, 2018

Wiener Riesenrad – The story of a Viennese symbol

One story tells that sometime during World War II a German official took his wife and a couple of friends on a trip to Vienna. Pleasantly surprised by the relative calm of the Viennese life in comparison to wartime Berlin, their home town, they decided to do one of those things most tourists can’t resist…

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July 27, 2018

Sisi loses a star

Empress Elisabeth from Austria, nicknamed Sisi and actually from Bavaria, was known for her impossibly thin waist, and incredibly long hair. One of the most famous depictions of her is a portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, in which she glances over her bare left shoulder with her hair spilling down her back and decorated with…

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July 23, 2018

The story of the “Schemerlbrücke”

Some days ago, your SV explorer went to look for the lions that appear on the cover of the catalogue, which has been prepared for the Otto Wagner exhibition that is taking place at the Vienna Museum. These are located at the “Schemerlbrücke” not far away from the last station of the tram D. The…

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July 22, 2018

A very special fencing

Summer time is construction, demolition, and refurbishment time. If you are in Vienna, you may have noticed that almost no stone remains unturned in summer, as it is the best time to do all the construction work that can’t be easily done in winter. Something very common at construction sites is a kind of fencing…

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July 19, 2018

Who is Puber?

If you were around in Vienna in 2013, you surely remember Puber – he wrote his name all over Vienna, spraying hundreds of tags onto just as many walls and buildings. There was almost no place you could go in the city without seeing his tag. And, perhaps the greatest offense for some Viennese, his…

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July 17, 2018

The long history of the double-headed eagle

Eagles are common and popular symbols of power – considered the “kings of the sky”, ruling families have long appropriated the symbolism of the free and mighty eagle as a projection of their own power, reach, and strength. However, the Austrian-Hungarian eagle that we are so familiar with in Vienna is unique in that somewhere…

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July 13, 2018

The story of the Schloss Neugebäude

How old is old? Definitely age is relative. Why would you call something dating back centuries “new”? The name of the “Neuer Markt”, for example, dates back to the 13th century, but we still call it “new market”. Some names just stick and are hard to change. That is also the case for the “Schloss…

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July 12, 2018

The rise and demise of the Zaha Hadid House

Zaha Hadid came to be one of the world’s most famous architects, but it took her many years to get a project built, let alone to receive acclaim and recognition for her work. Indeed, she only got her first project built in 1993 – and shortly thereafter, in 1995, she also got a commission to…

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July 10, 2018

1930s Vienna through the eyes of a gifted traveller

Vienna has always been a city rich in visitors and many of them wrote down their memories in journals, letters or books. If one wants to get a feeling of 1930s Vienna as seen through a foreigner’s eyes, there is no better travel companion than Patrick Leigh Fermor (Paddy). In December 1934 Paddy, aged 19,…

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July 10, 2018