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Franz Joseph

A racetrack fit for a king

galopprennbahn

Did you know that Vienna historically had two separate horse race tracks, one for trotting (Trabrennbahn) and one for galloping (Galopprennbahn). The Galopprennbahn is the older of the two, having been opened already in 1839. It was according to the architectural and artist tenants of Historicism, which was popular at the time, incorporating a great…

The story of the Franz Joseph Kaserne

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Some time ago, we told you the story of the first public building that was built in the Ringstrastrasse, namely the “Handelsakademie” (Vienna Business School). It was in the area of today’s opera where the first buildings of the Ringstrasse started construction. And what part of the Ringstrasse was built the last? Well, that is…

The adventures of Alexander Girardi

ONB-Alexander-Girardi

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…

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…

The Banners of the Austrian Parliament

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When construction of the Austrian parliament was finalized, the emperor Franz Joseph had a loge in each one of its chambers (today’s National Council and the Federal Council). And in these loges one could find a banner. In the middle of the banner there is the text “Virbus Unitis” (“mit vereinten Kräften” or “with united…

Franz Joseph’s Christmas present

City-expansion-plan

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…

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,…

The story of the “Famous” Caspar Zumbusch

Herzog-Albrecht

Have you ever heard of Caspar Zumbusch? Not really a household name, but kind of a big deal. He was a sculptor born in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1830 and starting in 1873 he worked at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. To make a long story short, he is responsible for monuments that most…

The story of the Kapuzinergruft

Vienna City Tours

Last week we told you the story of Marhsall Radetzky and why he declined the emperor’s offer to be buried at the Kapuzinergruft (The Imperial Crypt). Well, perhaps one should not blame him for declining the offer as the Habsburgs had a particular way of being buried. You see, the remains of some members of…