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Secret Vienna Blog


The Pompfüneberer

“A schöne Leich”, Vienna’s obsession with death and funerals It’s no secret that Vienna has a very special obsession with death and rituals that circle around it. If you study the Viennese dialect you will soon notice that we have quite a few words dedicated to death and everything mysterious. Today we would like to introduce…

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October 18, 2021

The Catacombs of St. Stephen’s cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral- Ossuaries beneath Vienna’s historic center, crypts filled with bones and skulls. Most of you have probably walked past or even stepped into the St. Stephen’s cathedral by now. Most of you surely know that you can visit the landmark’s platform via an elevator or by taking the 343 steps up the south…

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October 13, 2021

The story of the Kahlenberg Cemetery

Laid to rest in the thicket of the Wienerwald Would you think of cemeteries if somebody asked you to describe Vienna’s charm? Many tourists that come to Vienna take it upon themselves to visit our central cemetery, a place that tells tragic stories, kept by the most beautiful gravestones. Today we want to introduce you…

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October 10, 2021

The story of the Jewish cemetery in Währing

Perhaps you know that in the very old days it was customary for churches to be surrounded by a cemetery. This was for example the case of the Stephansdom and the Michaelerkirche in the city center. In the 18thcentury, Kaiser Joseph II decided to ban cemeteries from Vienna’s inner districts and one of the cemeteries…

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August 31, 2019

The story of Concordia and its funeral business

Some weeks ago, we told you the story about the tram 71 and its close connection with death. Well, at that time there were also several private funeral homes that provided all types of services needed when a loved one would pass away. At the end of the 19th century, there were at least 80…

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January 3, 2018

The TU and the Cemetery of the Condemned

In a city with a history as long and colorful as Vienna’s, the past is never far from the present. This became clear this past Wednesday night, December 20th, when your SV Explorer happened upon a rather dramatic scene at the Technical University. The street was blocked off, police officers and firefighters milled about, and…

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December 21, 2017

Vivaldi’s last summer in Vienna

Summer time in Vienna means, among many other things, a non-stop array of festival and events in the most popular of the city’s squares. Find yourself here in those warmer months and you will likely while away a few hours in front of the Karlskirche tasting your favorite drink, dancing, or enjoying a live concert. …

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December 20, 2017

Mary Vetsera and the man who stole her bones

It was one of the most exciting stories of his life. A stranger entered and declared to the writer George Markus that he was “in possession” of the remains of Baroness Mary Vetsera. Then he opened a red briefcase, took out a skull and laid it on the desk. “That’s Mary,” he said. The man…

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December 11, 2017

Taking tram 71 (or, how the Viennese die)

Have you ever heard the expression “mit dem 71er fahren”? You might assume that it just means to take the tram line 71, but the 71 has quite a reputation and “taking the 71” can be a rather grave undertaking (ha!). This is because for over 100 years, the 71 has been closely connected to…

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December 8, 2017

Hedy Lamarr: Icon and Inventor

Surely one of the most remarkable women to come out Vienna in the 20th century was Hedy Lamarr. Born towards the very end of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1914, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler lived a long and eventful life. She came from an upper-class Jewish family, but was raised as a Christian.  She became known…

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November 29, 2017

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