ora et labora - pray and work
1st Advent Sunday in Heiligenkreuz bei Baden- In 2013 the sunniest December 1 in the last years
It was a lucky day for traveling and to enjoy late autumn days in Niederösterreich( Lower Austria). I was taken to a religious trip to the Stift Heiligenkreuz im Wienerwald, one of the most beautiful medieval monasteries in the world, 13km northwest of Baden.
Inside of the church close to the door there are the statues of St. Benedict, depicted in a black monastic cowl, with a broken glass and a book, and St. Bernard in a white cowl with a cross in his arms.
Stift Heiligenkreuz( the Abbey of the Holy Cross) is the second-oldest Cistercian monastery in the world and the oldest continuously active and inhabited one.
"Cistercium" was founded in France in 1098, in French called "Citeaux". The Cistercian monks are Benedictine, that live according to the Rule of St. Benedict.
In September 11th 1133 monks from Mori Moon founded the Holy Cross in the southern Vienna Woods, donated by Leopold III, a member of the Babenberg dynasty and a saint. It was the request of his son Otto, who had taken the habit in the Burgundian Cistercian abbey in France. In a church is held a large cross relic since 1187. In 1188 Duke Leopold V donated a large relic of the true cross to the monastery.
In Mayerling, on January 30 1889 happened the tragical death of Crown Prince Rudolf and his mistress Maria Vetsera, who was buried in the cemetery at Heiligenkreuz.
Address: Heiligenkreuz Abbey, H.in the Vienna Woods 2532
Directions: The Heiligenkreuz Abbey is situted in the municipality of Heiligenkreuz, 15 kilometers west of Vienna, off the motorway A 21, in the Vienna Woods.
- Religious Travel
Seegrotte: GLÜCK AUF!
An old gypsum mine was used to make red and white plaster. In 1912 undergroundwater flooded the mine and it was abandoned. During the WW2 it was reused as the German military aircraft factory for the He 162 jet fighter( Volksjäger). Today it is the largest subterranean lake in Europe for touristic tours with a historic background.
On the upper floor is a horse stable, a room with a some parts of the plane, the warmest breakroom( 12°C) for a meal, a ballroom where miners celebrate S.Barbara( on December the 4th), a museum, the incline ramp for boarding the motorboat. The lower floor is the Big Lake( 6200 m2) with a average depth of 1,20m, which level is maintained by pumps.
"Three Mousketiers" was filmed here.
At the entrance/ exit is a souveniershop.
Address: Grutschgasse 2a A-2371 Hinterbrühl bei Wien
What happened at Mayerling Lodge?
On the night of January 29th, 1889, Crown Prince Rudolf, son and heir to the Hapsburg Emperor, Franz Josef I of Austria, shot and killed his lover and then took his own life.
The question asked was why?
Did this set off a chain of events that changed the fate of Europe?
The murder-suicide became known as the Mayerling Affair, after the hunting lodge where it took place.
Here I was, at this same Hunting Lodge reading about the events that took place so long ago.
It seems like Rudolf was a womanizer, and even though he wed Princess Stephanie of Belgium in 1881, he allegedly brought a lover with him to his wedding. No wonder the marriage was never really successful - I had to feel sorry for poor Princess Stephanie. As the years went by he still continued womanizing, drinking, and then took to taking drugs.
Rudolf must have had the suicide planned for a while. A 17 yr old Baroness by the name of Mary Vetsara, was not his first choice for the suicide pact, he actually tried to convince a prostitute to die with him, she declined this offer - wouldn't you!
So Mary it was, and it was to Mayerling Lodge where he came with Mary and shot her dead before shooting himself. When the staff came to the door in the morning, their bodies were discovered.
A massive cover-up operation followed. The Habsburgs kept silent about the incident that night, trying to silence every possible witness. The Habsburgs offered Prince Rudolph's own coachman a monthly income for life to keep his master’s secrets and to take everything he knew to the grave.
He really knew everything, as he had spent the last evening with Rudolf and Mary, and seen her last words in a farewell letter to her family.
All the Viennese newspapers reported was the Prince had a heart attack. The name of Mary Vetsera became taboo until after the collapse of the Monarchy.
Today, Rudolf is buried in the Hapsburg family crypt in Vienna, and Mary's body lies in a modest grave in Heiligenkreuz, Austria.
Rudolf's death left Franz Josef I without an heir, leading to the succession of Franz Ferdinand whose assassination in 1914 kicked off the hostilities of WWI, and effectively led to the end of the Hapsburg dynasty.
The lodge is now the Carmelite church, where services are still said in memory of Rudolf. The Church is built in neoclassical style. The altar is situated directly over the spot where the bed with Crown Prince Rudolph and Mary Vetsera were found dead. Daily Mass is celebrated there.
The side chapel contains a statue of the sorrowful Mother of God that was donated by Empress Elisabeth. It shows the Madonna with her heart pierced by a dagger of anguish.
A small museum houses artifacts related to the deaths.
This suicide has been made into many films and books and still is of interest to the Austrian people!
The day I was here, there were three coachloads of people visiting this church, so it does get very busy!
Summer: 9am - 1pm / 1:30 pm - 6pm
Winter: 9am - 1pm / 1:30 pm - 5pm
Sundays and holidays: open at 10am
Adults: 3,00 Euro
Children 6-14 years old: 1,50 Euro
Monday through Saturday: 6:45am
Sundays and holidays: 10am
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
SCENIC DRIVE IN THE VIENNA WOODS
The Vienna woods, doesn't that sound romantic. Well, it could be, as we took this drive from Baden to Mayerling and it was very nice.
After leaving Baden behind, we passed through a tunnel and then lots of small villages. All the time we were driving alongside the Shwechatbach river along the Helenental Valley. We saw old Churches, hillsides covered in forest and every now and then a escarpment showing. The road is windy, so probably the driver won't see a lot.
Once at Mayerling, we stopped at the former hunting lodge of Mayerling, where in 1889, the lives of Crown Prince Rudolf and Baroness Vetsera came to a tragic end.
If you want, carry onto the 12th-Century Cistercian Heiligenkreuz Abbey, where you can visit the medieval cloister and the tomb of the last Babenberger. Europe's largest underground lake is nearby.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Our time up in Baden, we headed out by car along the Badenerstrasse towards Schwechatbach. On the outskirts, we came across the aqueduct of the Vienna waterworks. The mineral spring water makes it way to Vienna so the people there have good drinking water.
In the same area lie the ruins of the 12th-century castle of Rauheneck. It was attacked many times with the final assault by the Turks in 1529, after which it was not rebuilt. It has been open to the public since 1810.
FREE ENTRY 2.5KMS from centre of BADEN.
At the foot Of Rauheneck,stands the Château Weilburg, built in 1820-1825 by Archduke Charles, the victor of Aspern.
On the opposite side stands the ruined castle of Rauhenstein, dating also from the 12th century. This castle also was attacked many times and rebuilt, eventually being abandoned in the 18th century due to the 'roof tax', an annual tax based on the surface coverage of the roof.
15 min by foot on a well-marked trail.
If your driving, be aware where these are situated so you know where to look for the road.
- Hiking and Walking
- Castles and Palaces
The impressive castle ruins, could be seen from the Badener Straße, near Helenental( Helen's valley) on the way from the old Cistercian Monastery of Heilegenkreuz to the city of Baden; nearby is the Carmelite nunnery of Mayerling. There is an aqueduct long the road.
The valley with the River Schwechat is very popular with wine growing areas throughout the district.
Sixty kilometers of marked hiking trails is a worthwhile terrain for comfortable walks or aktive bike trips through the vineyards and the Vienna Woods.
Take a stroll to Helenental
Leaving the center of city, on the way to Helenental, there are many beautiful villas, an aqueduct, the ruins of the Rauheneck and you will finally get to the quietness and beauty of this valley - a nice place for walkin, biking and hiking tours.
- Family Travel
The Baden Doll and Toy Museum
You will find there dolls and toys covering a period of 2 centuries.
a kaleidoscope from 1760 and a paper doll with 8 robes from 1820
The place itself is set in the gardens of a very interesting example of the old Baden country house style of villa, the Attems Villa ( 1838 )
Badener Puppen- und Spielzeugmuseum
Gartentrakt der Attemsvilla
2500 Baden bei Wien, Österreich
- Family Travel
- Museum Visits
Visit the (Thermal public swimming pool), opened from may to september. After the end of the monarchy the community Baden built the thermal public swimming pool in a kind of Art Deco style in 1926 in merely 16 weeks. 5000 m² pool-area and an extensive sandy beach was intended to create the impression of being in an Adriatic open air bath and pool of the old monarchy. In 1930 a section of the parklands of Castle Weilburg was integrated thus turning the open air bath into one of the biggest of Austria.
Take a bath in the...
Take a bath in the Roemertherme. It's a very clean place and very relaxed. If you want to space out in the summer and catch some sun light - that's the place to be... But only during the summer...
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