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Secret Vienna Blog

Archive: Dec 2018

The “Opera Toilet”

As a local or visitor, it is likely you have seen it (or heard it): It is located at one of the busiest pedestrian underpasses of the city and next to one of the most frequented exits/entrances anywhere in Vienna and if you are close enough you can hear Waltz music playing all the time….

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December 30, 2018

Hand-me-down Kahlenberg

Rising gently to the north of the city, neither the Kahlenberg nor the Leopoldsberg can really be called mountains, despite the presence of the word ‘berg’ in their names – perhaps for the relative flatlands of the east these qualify as a mountain, but for the rest of alpine Austria, they barely register. Nonetheless, both…

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December 28, 2018

The story of the Amalienburg in the Hofburg

The Hofburg has a long history and every building that is part of it has a particular story. One of the buildings that is part of what we call the Hofburg is the Amalienburg, which is one of the four buildings that form the Burgplatz. Built in the 16th century, it is named after the…

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December 28, 2018

The Ferstel Passage

The Palais Ferstel is one among many in Vienna that is rather unassuming, and that you may have walked past many times without recognizing that it is there. That’s not because its unimpressive or unmemorable, but rather is located in and amongst a veritable cornucopia of Viennese real estate, such that it no longer stands…

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December 26, 2018

Franz Joseph’s Christmas present

Today is Christmas day and, following the tradition, perhaps most of our SV followers have received and given presents to friends, relatives, and many others. But on this day in 1857, one man gave an entire city (and an empire) a very special present. It was on December 25, 1857 (a Friday) that the Wiener…

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December 25, 2018

St. Stephen and his horses

The 26th of December is known as Stefanitag (St. Stephen’s Day) in Austria, and is a national holiday. This is the same St. Stephen after whom the Stephansdom is named, but who is he and why is he so celebrated in Vienna? He was, in fact, the first martyr of the Christian faith, and is…

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December 25, 2018

The first Christmas Tree in Vienna

It is December and, as part of the tradition, presents are waiting under the Christmas tree. Do you know how the Christmas tree came to Vienna? That is the story of Fanny Arnstein. Born Franziska Itzig in Berlin in 1758, she moved to Vienna after marrying Nathan Adam Arnstein. She was a famous member of…

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December 23, 2018

The story of Franz Wertheim

Have you ever heard of Franz Wertheim? Perhaps a name that few people are familiar with but he was famous a long time ago. Born in Krems in 1814, he made a career as a tool maker and he even won prizes with his products. One day in 1848, during the days of the revolution,…

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December 13, 2018

The Palmenhaus Schönbrunn

When the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn opened its’ doors in 1882 it was one of a kind – being the largest in the world. Today it remains in the top three worldwide while still claiming the top spot in Europe. It houses around 4,500 different plant species and has constant temperature of at least 18 degrees, yes,…

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December 11, 2018

Schubert and the Three Girls’ House

Standing small and resolute next to its towering neighbor on the Mölker Bastei, the Dreimäderlhouse (3 Girls’ House) is a gem from the waning days of Josephine Classicism. It is shaped like a letter T, with the small side featuring delicately ornate trimmings while the larger front facade stands stoically in the style popularized during…

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December 10, 2018