1.Bezirk / 1st district, Vienna
Vienna is city of art, decorated with so many monuments, sculptures and fountains, dislocated all over the city and its parks. Many facades and corners of the houses are adorned with small sculptures which illustrating certain events important for their owners or symbolizing their professions. Such a details usually capturing attention of the visitors when strolling around, I like to see them.
According to the tradition, the locals used to announcing new born child by placing a stork somwhere on the house facade.
Palais Daun & Kinski is one of the most beautiful private palaces in Vienna and it was built for Graf Daun, who had a high position at the royal court of empress Maria Theresia. This baroque Palais was built by Lucas von Hildebrandt at the beginning of the 17th century, close to the Hofburg, and it has a noble restaurant inside nowadays and a gallery and auction-house.
You are able to enter the building freely and without restrictions during the day, untill late at night, when the restaurant will be closed. It makes sense to come and take a look inside, the entrancehall looks great already. Take a closer look already at the entrance-gate with its ornate door-knockers !
When you are lucky, you will be there during the week, between 10.00a.m. and 05.00p.m., when the gallery is open - see my next tip !
Providentia-Brunnen / Donnerbrunnen am Neuen Markt (40 meters to Kaerntnerstrasse) is one of the most beautiful fountains of Vienna. The fountain dates back to the year 1739 and was made by Georg Raphael Donner : In the centre you may see goddess Providentia (providence) and around her 4 sculptures - each of them symbolizing one of the 4 most important rivers flowing into the Danube: the young man is the river TRAUN, the old may the river ENNS, the ladies are the rivers MARCH and YBBS. The fountain was payed by the population of Vienna and does not show a single engraving or decoration of the royal family - this might have been one of the reasons, why the fountain was taken away by order of Kaiserin Maria Theresia in 1770, who said it has too many naked people... It should have been destroyed, BUT somebody saved it and it was reconstructed again in 1801. The fountain on Neuer Markt is made of rather cheap copper - in the marble-hall of Unteres Belvedere you will see the original of this fountain made of cast-iron.
Tourists fill the Graben or the Kohlmarkt without knowing that some Viennesse who work in the city sip a nice cup of coffee or a nice glass of wine in Julius Meinl am Graben. Viennesse do their shopping in Julius Meinl Am Graben and then kill time here either to rest a bit or just to have a drink with their friends or colleagues before heading off somewhere else. The supermarket caters to the affluent Viennesse not only because of the remarkable prices of the goodies but because of the fine selection of almost every edibles from cheese to marmalade to coffee to oil, etc.
Why go there? Aside from the great atmosphere, you will enjoy looking at the Graben and passers-by.
This is the first stop of our walking tour with Michael. In front of the cathedral, but by the side, you will see a tree log in a plastic "case". In that log there are plenty of nails. The story of those nails is that whenever someone left Vienna (when the city was young and smaller) to improve their crafts, they'd hammer a nail on a tree that was where the log is today. Next door, there is a door ornament, sort of like a sculpture, that shows a guy with a hammer . Those who speak German say that the name should be Eisen im Stock but I don't know why (yet!).
Sorry for the bad picture of the log, it was basically impossible for me to take a better shot.
Inside the old city centre quarter (District 1) one can also find the oldest and original buildings of the Vienna University. The modest buildings are spread over several buildings and still contain certain divisions of the present day University. One of the original first University parts is immediately next to the Jesuit church.
Also a place that some people do not want to miss is the house where Mozart lived in Vienna and created few of his masterpieces. In the old house there is a small museum about his turbulent life, as many know that Mozart did not only love music.
Vindobonum. This was the original name of the first city that was here along the banks of the river Donau (Danube). It was a fortified Roman town that eventually grew out to become present day Vienna. Now one would say that nothing reminds of those days, but this is so untrue. Underneath the "Hohe Markt" (High Market) one discovered traces of Vindobonum and these archeological digs can be visited in the cellars of a warehouse complex here.
Above ground there is another remarkable item from history. Against the walls of bridge shaped connecting part between two buildings, a theatrical clock draws your attention every quarter of an hour. Then it plays it's music and shows the visitor some pretty pictures of ancient times.
The old city centre district of Vienna (also known as district 1) is a very pleasant place to walk around in (or get lost). Strawling through the narrow alleys and streets one should not forget to now and then "dive into" the innercourts of the large houseblocks. This might lead to wonderful suprises, as here is where the people live and they too (like yourself) like to have a wonderful home surrounding. The courts are often surprisingly green or contain balconies filled with flowerpots, hanging from the fences. Sometimes tunnel shaped alleys (gasses) run underneath the buildings and suddenly make you come out on a whole new place within the old city centre.
By one of the exits from Stubentor underground station (U3), on the Wollzeile opposite Plachutta, there is a sculpture of the city of Vienna as it apparently using to be with its bastions and of course the all-dwarving Stephansdom. This is something that a lot of people will miss seeing - but if you are in the area pause for a couple of minutes to have a look.
The fountain, of marble and bronze, was built in the year 1732, from Josef Emanuel von Erlach.
The construction of the well was planned already since 1702, from the Emperor Leopold I.
He promised the construction of a column, for Saint Joseph, if his son, Joseph I, should return safely from the war.
Charles VI replaced the project with a marble fountains, designed by J.E. Fischer von Erlach, that symbolizes the sacred nuptial group, showing Josef, Mary and various prelates.
A canopy with a representation of the trinity of crowned bronze rises over the group.
Address: 1, Hoher Markt, Vienna
While waiting for my first taste of Viennese ice cream, I was amazed by the huge clock directly in front of me. It was the Anchor Clock (or Ankeruhr)...built between 1911 and 1917 and is situated on the oldest square of Vienna 'Hoher Markt." The clock represents a typical Art Nouveau design and forms a bridge between two parts of the Anker Insurance Company's building. It's adorned with mosaic ornaments and in the course of 12 hours, twelve historical figures or pairs of figures move across the bridge (among them Joseph Haydn, medieval lyricist Walther von der Vogelweide, Empress Maria Theresa and Prince Eugen of Savoya). Every day at noon, all figures parade accompanied by music from the various time periods.
While I was exploring the side streets round Stephansdom, I ended up in this Vienna's oldest part-Hoher Markt (High Market). The 1st thing that caught my attention was the lovely Wedding Fountain (Vermählungsbrunnen), but then I heard the sound of the Anker Clock (to the right from the fountain) that 'hangs' between 2 buildings. I had to stop and watch the parade of its figures across the face of the clock. I've never seen anything like that before.
Go from Stephansdom down the Kaerntnerstrasse direction opera. In the middle go right and you'll reach a place called Hoher Markt. Ther you'll find the Kapuzinerkirche with the Habsburgs' tombs under it and a very nice fountain. From here you can reach easyly all the attractions of the 1st district like Hofburg, Oper, Stephansdom, National Library, Volksgarten, Freyung etc...
The Main Reading Room at the University of Vienna is a wonderful Renaissance Revival library. It's a public building, therefore you can have a quick look. Just use a locker for your bags and coats before entering.
LOCATION: 1010 Wien, Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring 1; take the main entrance and ask the porter or any student for the 'Bibliothek'
Mo-Fr 9.00-21.35, Sat 9.00-12.35
TIPP: go there in the evening