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Archive: Dec 2018

The “Opera Toilet”

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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….

Hand-me-down Kahlenberg

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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…

The Ferstel Passage

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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…

St. Stephen and his horses

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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…

The first Christmas Tree in Vienna

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It is December and most people are getting ready for the big day tomorrow. And, of course, presents are part of the tradition 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…

The Palmenhaus Schönbrunn

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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,…

Schubert and the Three Girls’ House

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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…

Renoir and the brazen thieves

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Art theft is often a brazen act, not least because galleries and museums have extensive security systems and famous pieces of art tend to be recognizable and therefore impossible to sell. Nonetheless, even by those standards, a recent theft in Vienna takes the cake (or the painting!). On Monday, November 28 2018 at around 5pm,…

The origin of the word Tschick

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There are many controversial topics splitting Austrian right now. One among them is for sure the discussion if smoking in restaurants should be allowed or not. If you ever heard about the topic in Vienna you probably came around the term “Tschick”. It is the common abbreviation for “cigarette”, jokeful and slightly pejorative (equivalent to…