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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…

Franz Joseph’s Christmas present

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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…

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 story of Franz Wertheim

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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,…

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…