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maria theresia

Maria Antonia and the Diamond Necklace

a stack of flyers on a table

Marie Antoinette is usually considered quintessentially French, indelibly tied to the French Revolution, and famous for her “let them eat cake!” proclamation, which she most likely never said. She was of course the last Queen of France before the revolution, so it’s no surprise that most people consider her to be French. But she was…

The Mystery of a Viennese Hospital Named After a Belgian Princess


Vienna has long been regarded as a center for medicine, with a history of medical studies that stretches back over 600 years. In some ways, Vienna and its medical faculty can be considered the cradle of modern medicine, but the city only really came into its own and was recognized as being at the forefront…

On the line, and other euphemisms for prostitution in Vienna


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 story of the “Famous” Caspar Zumbusch


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 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 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 door numbers in Vienna

Vienna History Tours

Walking around the city perhaps you have seen some house numberings that look a bit odd. Most likely because the numbers don’t come in the usual blue background with white numbers or perhaps because the numbers are higher than usual. These strange numbers, known as “Conscriptionsnummer”, date back to the time of Maria Theresa and…

The story of the Favoritenstraße


The Habsburgs used to enjoy summer at different locations and, therefore, they built or bought several residences for summer time. One of these residences was located in the “Kaiserweg” (The emperor’s road) in today’s fourth district (Wieden). In addition to this one, there was another summer residence located in today’s Augarten in the second district….