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Secret Vienna Blog

Hofburg

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…

The story of the Burgtor (Update)

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Some days ago, your Secret Vienna explorer came across a very interesting painting. An old view of the Burgtor. This gate gives you access to the city center via today’s Heldenplatz. This is the only gate that was left after the city walls were removed. And if you look closely at the pic you will…

The Wiener Schnitzel, by way of Constantinople, Paris, and Milan

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Where does the Wiener Schnitzel come from? The name of course ties it to Vienna, but many contend that it actually comes from Milan. Breaded, deep-fried veal might not seem like a highly original concept, but the origins of the schnitzel can send passions soaring, and historians scrambling. So where does the thing actually come…

The story of the Michaelerplatz

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Any visitor to Vienna will have stood for a brief moment on Michaelerplatz, if not longer, to marvel at some of the city’s architectural wonders. Even in Roman times, the square was an important crossroads (today’s Herrengasse/Kohlmarkt), leading to one of the garrison’s imposing gates: Porta Decumana. The square has been defined by the buildings…

The story of old walls at the Hofburg

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The Hofburg in Vienna is an interesting place. One can literally tell the history of the Habsburg empire by walking through it. Starting with the Babenberger family and the beginning of the construction of what is known as the Schweizerhof, continuing through to Josefsplatz talking about the reforms implemented by Josef II, and reaching the…

Fire at the Hofburg

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November 27, 1992: A security guard raises the alarm after discovering flames in the Redouten ballrooms at the Hofburg. What followed was the largest and most dramatic firefighting operation in Vienna´s recent history. This was not the first time the ballrooms were damaged by fire: Not too long after being built in the early 17th century…

Miniature Horses and Naked Emperors

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As the weather warms up, it’s a lovely time to take a stroll through the gardens at Schönbrunn. While meandering past the stoic statues and neatly trimmed hedges near the Palmenhaus, you may come across what looks to be a miniature statue of a horse and rider placed atop a disproportionately large pedestal. The shrunken…

The story of the Neue Burg

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The Neue Burg… it does not matter from which direction you come to the Heldenplatz, the Neue Burg is an imposing building that was supposed to expand the living space of the imperial family and now hosts the national library and two museums. It was built between 1880 and the fall of the Habsburg empire……

Live like a king

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Did you know that you can live in the Hofburg or Schönbrunn? These are some of the most famous addresses in Vienna, but they are not only for the royals and nobility of yesteryear; no, they also contain rental apartments that are open to anyone—assuming you get a spot! The number of apartments are quite…