Palais Schwarzenberg was built in the 18th century as the summer palace of one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Austria. Their next-door neighbour was Prince Eugen in his summer palaces at Belvedere. The Schwarzenbergs had their base in Bohemia, it’s the very same family that played an important role through imperial Austria and even later on, Karl von Schwarzenberg who wanted to become president of the Czech Republic is one of them.
The palace, a masterpiece of baroque architecture, designed by Vienna’s most famous architects Lucas von Hildebrandt and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. It was begun in 1697 for the Count of Mansfeld, who unfortunately died soon after. In 1716 the Prince of Schwarzenberg bought the construction site and had the palace completed. The name of the family remained with the building, in fact the Schwarzenbergs still own the estate.
You can spot the impressive building from the gardens of Belvedere and in the background of Schwarzenbergplatz. I would like to see it from closer by, but for tourists the palace and its grounds are out of bounds. The palace was to be turned into a luxury hotel in recent years but the investor ran away and the refurbishing never took place. There are some rumours about its future but so far it is unclear what is going to become of this remarkable building. Let’s hope there will be an adequate solution soon.
There are three such a small shops, one after another, offering classical look cloks made by the local craftsmen. I cannot say much of its location, but it is definetely in the centre of the town and in a walking distance from the cathedral. Clocks like this one might be a nice memory from Vienna.
Lions and dragons, scary faces roaring at you, chunky cherubs struggling with eagles or big fish....
Look up as you walk around central historical Vienna and you'll find them all....and more...
All these within a small area around Stefansplatz.
Central Vienna has many, many buildings of the 'frilled and twiddly' type (I'm no expert, so I don't know the exact term for building styles).
It's always worth looking closely at such architecture. There are very often smaller details which are missed at first glance. I especially enjoy looking at the sculpted heads which so often adorn the frontages. Sometimes (as in the photos here) they are almost certainly portraits of ...presumably...the people for whom the building was constructed...
I found all of these within a few streets of Stefansplatz. I'm certain there are many, many more in central historical Vienna.
A little further on my wander I passed the Kapuzinerkirche.
This is, of course, the location of the 'Imperial Crypt' where members of the Hapsburg dynasty are interred.
It's quite an old church, dating from the late 1500s, and i poked my nose inside to have a look.
But what really intrigued me, apart from the rather nice ?fresco? above the entrance, was the ironwork on the gates which enclose a huge statue of Pere Marco d'Aviano, once called 'the saviour of Vienna' . In the 1600s he served as preacher in campaigns against the Turks, which is presumably why the gates have images of Turkish warriors.
You can't miss the statue, on the exterior to the left of the church entrance. But do take a moment to look at the gate details: they are rather fun, and a good indicator of warrior costume and weaponry of the time!
You'll find the church on Tegetthoffstrasse, by the Neuer Markt and near to Stefansplatz.
I wandered past the Vienna Opera House on my way from Karlsplatz to Stefansplatz.
It's not my sort of architecture..twiddly wedding-cake style isn't. But my eye was caught by a series of energetic (and rather slim) cherubs cavorting in plaques around the side facing Operngasse. I bet there are more on the other side, but I did not check.
I liked them because each plaque showed a cherub doing something entirely different...leaping, skipping, posing, playing the violin...
They looked full of life and pleasure, and they made me smile. Have a look for them when you visit the Opera House!
On my main picture you will see the big entrance-hall of the Palais Kinski, where in the old times the carriages stopped, so the noble people could get out and enter the palais. You may do so as well, when you are lucky enough to be there, while the great gallery & auction-house "Im Kinski" is open.
Get inside and you will first see the great sculptures and the staircase built by L. von Hildebrand, it looks already great from below, but believe me, the best part of it you will find when you dare to step up to the 2nd floor (USA:3rd floor !)
In case that you happen to come to Palais Kinski on any workingday between Monday and Friday from 10.00am till 05.00pm: Don't hesitate to step up to the 2nd floor (USA: 3rd floor) of Palais Kinski, because THERE you will find the most beautiful and the most precious part of the building : The top of the stairs made by Lukas von Hildebrandt with the beautiful fresco that you may see on my pictures.
Most probably you will be there on your own, because most tourists don't know of this hidden gem, and also your guide-books will hardly tell you about it.
Palais Trautson dates back to the year 1710 and was built by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723, he was also the architect of Karlskirche ).
He built the Palais for "Obersthofmeister" Fuerst von Trautson.
Oberst-Hofmeister was one of the highest ranks at the court of the emperor.
Today the Palais is not open for the public, but used by the ministery of Justice and police-officers are guarding there the whole day, so you better behave well !!
You may see it of course from OUTside, like I did, from a small park in front of it.
The Palais is in the 7th district, close to Neubaugasse and Bellaria-Kino.
A-1070 Wien, Museumstrasse 7
Take a look at "Vienna's smallest house" in Wien 7, Burggasse 3.
It is just a bit more than 1,45 meters wide and fills a tiny spot between 2 houses and the street and it was built in 1872.
Inside the building is a famous shops for old and new clocks by Friedrich Schmollgruber, a specialist also for repairs of old clock-works of all ages.
Friedrich Schmollgruber also has a shop and a clock-museum in Steyr.
In my last 2 pictures: another quite small house at Spittelberg, in a distance of about 300 meters from Schmollgruberhaus.
Look out for the ornaments in Palmenhaus im Hofgarten - they were recently totally restored.The Palmenhaus also offers a great restaurant with a terrace to have coffee in the atmosphere, the emperor and his noblemen used to enjoy . Opposite of palmenhaus you will find one of the few places in the centre of Vienna, where you may spend the day, sitting on the grass of the park called Hofgarten.
Palmenhaus is behind of Albertina and in the backside of Hofburg - it is best to enter it from Ringstrasse.
Next to Palmenhaus you will see the "Schmetterlingshaus" - a building full of exotic butterflies - NOT dead like in Naturhistorisches Museum, BUT alive and flying around !
Palais Ferstl reminds me a bit of a palace in Venice - from inside and from outside as well. You can enter it from Freyung and will walk through a great gallery of exclusive shops and beautifully decorated arcades. At the end of the gallery you will come to a fountain inside of the building, and from there you may go as well to Cafe Central - well known for its beautiful arcades and architecture and celebrities like Peter Altenberg, a famous Viennese poet, who used to spend almost the whole day in the Cafe, meeting friends and writing his books...
Palais Ferstl and also Cafe Central have also an entrance from Herrengasse.
While Cafe Central will be open untill 10.00p.m.,the shopping-arcade of Palais Ferstl will be locked at around 09.00p.m.
By day, the Uniqa Tower is a very impressive, 20-storey, modern office building but after dark, it becomes a wonderful work of art.
In 2006, 180,000 LED lights were installed from top to bottom and they 'perform' sequences of different patterns and different colours each evening. I wasn't able to take any good photographs of it at night but there are plenty on the Internet and you can see a video of it on the link I've pasted below. However, none of them does it justice. The many sequences are truly stunning and you have to see it for real to appreciate the full impact. Our hotel was right next door to it and every night when we came home, it was doing something different.
You'll find it on the edge of the Ringstrasse, on Aspernbrückengasse.
The Mocca Club is Vienna´s Speciality Coffee House & Bar, featuring the biggest selection of single origin coffees. The Mocca Club offer over 45 freshly roasted single origin coffees and blends from all over the world. The Coffee can be Jamaica Blue Mountain, Kopi Luwak, or coffee beans from Hawaii, Kenya, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, Yemen, or Australia.
Besides the speciality coffee, they have a selection of creamy, hot-chocolates, whole leaf teas, pastries, international chocolates, breakfast and small snacks day and night, cocktails for the evening hours and world music all day round. Happy hour is from 6 -8 pm; 50% off the cocktail prices.
Another nice thing about this Club is the colonial hardwood furnitures that decorate the interiors. You can sit in these furnitures, enjoy your coffee or chocolate or cocktails, and/or relax, read a book, etc.
Mocca Club is located at Vienna´s Naschmarkt, on Linke Wienzeile 4, 1060 Vienna (6th district); next to the Wine & Co. Wine bar.
Two of the most unusual structures in Vienna are the two Flak towers (Flakturm) in the Augarten Park. These anti-aircraft towers where constructed in WWII, and thought to be bomb proof. The physical size of these huge structures is quite daunting and to watch people in the park playing and picnicing next to these structures is just amazing.
There is six towers still remaining in Vienna, the two in Augarten are in a bad state and fenced off to the public. Fortunatly a visit to a flak tower is possible. A vivarium (Haus-des-Meeres) has been constructed in a Flak tower in Esterhazy Park, it's just off Mariahilfer Strasse (one of the Main tourist shopping areas) and it is well worth a visit.
A structure has been attached to the tower and access was need to be cut through the walls, at this point you can see how well the tower has been constructed - we were just dumbfounded at the thichness of the walls.