The story of the Böhmische Hofkanzlei
The Judenplatz in Vienna has a long history and one of the famous buildings in the area is the the Böhmische Hofkanzlei (“Bohemian Court Chancellery” in English). In its lifetime, the Hofkanzlei has seen and experienced many things: all sorts of government offices, expansion works to add more space, important imperial decisions, refurbishment work after the Napoleonic wars and WWII, and even Roman history under its grounds. After this long journey, the Böhmische Hofkanzlei is now home to the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court. The existence of the Böhmische Hofkanzlei dates back to the 17th century and it consisted of two houses. As this location was too small, the famous baroque architect Bernhand Fischer von Erlach was given the task to build a new house, which he did in 1709/1714. Years later more space was needed and an additional part was built in 1751/1754. If you visit the building you will likely notice that the street between the Hofkanzlei and the old Rathaus is very narrow. This street is the Wipplingerstrasse whose path dates back to the Roman times. Because of this narrow spot, at the beginning of the 20th century, some voices supported the idea of demolishing the Hofkanzlei to build a broader street. Fortunately, these voices did not prevail and eventually, during refurbishment work after WWII and by removing some rooms, a corridor was open up in this part of the building. The Roman past of the house was evident in 1937 as during maintenance work of water pipes on the Wipplingerstrasse side, Roman walls were found some meters underground. The bricks used for this wall had the symbol of the 10thLegion and Roman numbers indicating the 1st and 2nd centuries. There is indeed a lot of history behind the Hofkanzlei! You have the chance to visit the Böhmische Hofkanzlei during Open House Wien on September 9. There will be tours in German and English. Don’t miss this opportunity! (Cr).