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Archive: Jan 2019

Vienna, Coffee, and …North Korea?

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We all know and love the coffee culture in Vienna – turns out, so does Pyongyang! Though the country is notoriously tight-lipped about activities within its borders, apparently a Viennese coffee shop has been in operation in the heart of Pyongyang, right on Kim Il Sung Square. This joint-venture project, initiated by Viennese entrepreneur Helmut…

The Brunnnenmarkt

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In the 16th district of Vienna – between Thaliastraße and Ottakringerstraße – you will find the longest street market in Vienna, which is at the same time one of the last pure street markets in town: the Brunnnenmarkt. Originated in 1786 in the former Viennese suburb of Neulerchenfeld, the street received the official name “Brunnengasse”…

Nymphs of the Night: Vienna’s Grabennymphe

“Lorenzo Da Ponte. Aufbruch in die Neue Welt” im Jüdischen Museum

A few days ago we gave you a brief overview of prostitution in Vienna, and some of the many euphemisms that have sprung up around a profession that has often been seen as taboo. But one of the most indelible re-brandings is surely the Grabennymph – the nymphs of the Graben, otherwise known as women…

On the line, and other euphemisms for prostitution in Vienna

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They say its the oldest profession in the world, and in Vienna it has quite a history. On the whole, prostitution has been widely tolerated if not always embraced in Vienna and, despite crackdowns after a syphilis outbreak in the 16th century and under the staunchly Catholic Maria Theresia (which may also have had something…

“Pi” by Ken Lum

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When rushing through the subway station Karlsplatz one cannot miss the 2006 Media installation Pi by Artist Ken Lum. At a total length of 130 metres, various statistical data is shown on a huge mirror, referred to as factoids, as Ken Lum calls the constant changing red numbers. Factoids can be both countable facts and trivialised information that is…

The adventures of Alexander Girardi

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Some days ago, we told you the story of Katharina Schratt and her relationship with the emperor Franz Joseph. There is an interesting story told by Hellmut Andics that involves them both and also the famous actor Alexander Girardi. Girardi was born in Graz in 1850 and performed in Vienna for the first time in…

An Artistic Villa

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Driving into or out of Vienna in the direction of Hütteldorf, you may come across an impressive aquamarine-accented villa standing in relative isolation at the edges of the Vienna forest. This is the Villa Wagner I, also known as the Fuchs-Villa for the artist Ernst Fuchs. It was built after designs by Otto Wager from…

The secrets of Katharina Schratt

Kaiser Franz Joseph beim Spaziergang mit Katharina Schratt

We don’t know how many women were important in the life of the Emperor Franz Joseph, but there are at least two ladies to highlight: His wife Elisabeth and Katharina Schratt. Who was Katharina? Born in 1853 in Baden bei Wien, Katharina was a well-known theater actress. It was in the mid 1880s that Elisabeth…

Don’t fall in love at the Copa, Copa Cagrana

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As winter wears on, many of us may start to dream of the blue waters and white sand beaches of less land-locked countries than Austria, but Vienna has its own cheeky and charming remedy: the Copa Cagrana. Taking its name from a too-clever-by-half portmanteau of the famous Brazilian Copacabana and the Vienna district in which…

The difficult life of Countess Sophie Chotek

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Many people are familiar with the story of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne. But perhaps sometimes it is forgotten that he was not the only victim of that event. His wife Countess Sophie Chotek was also in the car. And who was she? Born in Stuttgart in 1868, her…