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Secret Vienna Blog

Joseph II

Miniature Horses and Naked Emperors


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 Schweizerhof


The Hofburg. Most visitors and locals have walked along it and through it: the former Royal and Imperial Library, the “Leopoldinischer Trakt”, the “Michaelertrakt”, and the many other buildings and passages that have been built over the centuries. But where did it all start? Well, it started in the area that is known today as…

The story of the Josefsplatz

City Tour of Vienna

Have you ever wondered who is the gentleman sitting on the horse in front of the former Royal Library? That is Joseph II, son of Maria Theresia, and ruler of the Habsburg empire during the second part of the 18th century. He is one of those rulers who are considered to fall under the category…

The story of the Theresienkapelle

Vienna City Tours

Months ago, we told you the story of the Böhmische Hofkanzlei (“Bohemian Court Chancellery”) – located at the Judenplatz – and its long history: Roman past under its grounds, hit by bombs during the Napoleonic wars and in WWII, and many physical changes since its construction started in 1709. In all these years some structures…

A morning walk in the 2nd district

Vienna Walking Tours

How does your morning walk in Vienna look like? This is one SV explorer’s 30 minutes of jogging through Vienna’s second district’s history! A morning run around the block. 100m down the Kleine Pfarrgasse street, on the right, there is St Leopold church built by Emperor Leopold I in 1680, after evicting the Jews from…

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…

The story of the Taubstummengasse

City Tour of Vienna

If you use the U1 for your daily commute perhaps you have come across the station with the name “Taubstummengasse”. Ever wonder why that name? During the time of Joseph II, a school for deaf-mute children was established in Vienna. After several locations, in the 1820s the “Taubstummeninstitut” was brought to the fourth district. The…

The Clock that wasn’t


One mission we had when we visited the Chancellor’s office the other day was to find a clock. You see, we read that there is a cartel clock in the Ministerratssaal where the painting of the young Franz Joseph is also located. According to the story we read, this Parisian clock was likely a present…