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Maria Antonia and the Diamond Necklace

a stack of flyers on a table

Marie Antoinette is usually considered quintessentially French, indelibly tied to the French Revolution, and famous for her “let them eat cake!” proclamation, which she most likely never said. She was of course the last Queen of France before the revolution, so it’s no surprise that most people consider her to be French. But she was…

The Life and Times of Luzi-Wuzi

a black and white photo of a man

There are many scandals, secrets, and stories about the Habsburgs – some hearsay, some confirmed. One member of the Habsburg family about whom much was speculated but not so much was known is Archduke Ludwig Viktor, youngest brother of Kaiser Franz Josef. Known to his family and friends as Luzi-Wuzi, he was known for his…

The story of Christian Brandstätter

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In his “Memoirs”, Chancellor Metternich wrote “The men who create history have not time to write it – I at least had none”. Contrary to the Chancellor, Christian Brandstätter has made history and has had the time to write it. Born in Upper Austria in 1943, he moved to Vienna at the beginning of the…

The Highs and Lows of the Historical Sophiensäle

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Large-scale fires are always shocking when they happen, though unfortunately every major city has an entire history of buildings and cultural artifacts lost to fire – and Vienna is no exception. Although fires were more common in the past when building codes were less sophisticated than today, large-scale fires still occasionally occur, sometimes destroying historical…

The Yearly Markets of Old

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Did you visit the Christmas markets in the past weeks? Vienna is of course well-known for them, and people come from all over the world at this particular time of year to visit them. But way before these markets established themselves as an annual winter tradition, there were other ‘yearly’ (as opposed to daily or…

The story of the “Widmertor”

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Walking around the city, perhaps we miss little details that have a lot of history. One of these details is located in the corridor that connects the Burgplatz with the Heldenplatz. In the past we have told you some stories about the walls that used to surround Vienna and over the centuries these defensive walls…

Riding the ‘bim’, Vienna style.

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Have you ever heard the Viennese refer to the tram, or Strassenbahn, as a “bim” and wondered what they were on about? Why would a tram be called a bim, which sounds nothing like ‘strassenbahn? Where does this strange name come from? Well in fact, back in the very early days of the tram when…

The story of the Christian Brandstätter Verlag

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If you are interested in “Vienna 1900” or Jugendstil, chances are you have come across books published by the Christian Brandstätter Verlag. Established by Christian Brandstätter (an institution in his own right), in a way the origins of the company can be found in another famous publishing company, namely the Fritz Molden Verlag. It was…

Vienna’s famous Kaiserbründl sauna

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Some weeks ago we told you about the Vienna Central Bath, located in the heart of the first district and known in its time as the most fully realized and elegant bath-house in the world. As you may recall, part of the bathhouse is still in operation today, though it now caters to an exclusively…

The story of Helmut Portele

a man wearing a suit and tie

Perhaps some of our readers collect things. Some people collect items such as stamps, books, coins etc. and these items would fit usually in one’s home. Another type of collector would hunt for bigger things such as old timers or motorcycles and one would definitely need a large space to store these. Helmut Portele belonged…