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The story of Peter Altenberg

Peter-Altenberg

The Café Central.  Together with the Sacher Hotel, it is the place where many visitors want to spend some hours in.  Inaugurated in 1868, the Café  Central has a long history and one can argue that it was luck what allowed the Café Central to become so famous at the end of the 19thcentury –…

The origins of Hanswurst

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Everything has an end, only the wurst has two! Perhaps you have heard this Austrian expression…of course, Austria is known for sausage, but its not the only kind of wurst that has claimed its place in history. One of the earliest and most theatrical of these is the infamous Hans Wurst, a comic figure who…

The streets are alive with the sound of music

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Vienna, the capital of music. When walking through the city, one quickly gets the impression that people like Mozart or Beethoven lived on almost every street corner. The busts of Haydn, Brahms or Maher, to name just a few, greet you in any souvenir shop in their hundreds. Just think of the Staatsoper, the Konzerthaus…

Vienna’s comedic traditions

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It’s well-known that the Viennese have a particular and biting sense of humor, elevating a sarcastic wit to a coffeehouse art form known as ‘wiener schmäh’. Alongside this, however, Vienna has a long and celebrated history of cabaret, which originated most likely in France before spreading across Europe in the 19th century. It was a…

The story of Theophil Hansen in Vienna

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Many famous architects have left their mark in Vienna: the Fischer von Erlach (father and son), the inseparable duo August Sicard von Sicardsburg & Eduard van der Nüll, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Erich Boltenstern, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Hans Hollein, and many others. There is one architect in particular that has left several marks in the city:…

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…

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…

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…