Graben Street - Shops - Architecture, Vienna
The Graben and surrounding streets are essentially visited for shopping; you find here what you find in any city centre from the luxury brands to the popular ones. Not to forget a number of terraces for drinking, eating and people watching.
A plus point of the Graben is the architecture of a number of buildings.
The larger ones like Grabenhof, Generalihof, Erste österreichische Sparkasse all from the 19th c. belong to banks or insurance companies (photo 1). They give, with several other smaller ones, that monumental style typical of the Graben at least if you look above the commercial ground and sometimes first floors. I especially like the building in light brown colours at the start of the Kohlmarkt (photo 2) belonging to the Bausparkasse Wüstenrot.
Is it a coincidence that there are so many famous jewelers on the Coalmarkt or due to the fact that diamonds are also made of Carbon atoms?
From here the promenade reaches the Michaeler-Platz and Hofburg.
Coming back you cannot avoid that strange monument called Pestssäule (photo 3). On each of my visits to Vienna I stop here and … feel invaded by perplexity. This should be an example of high baroque?
Graben is one of Vienna's best-known streets, and it's a beautiful place to spend some time.
It's lined by old, historic and beautiful buildings, with statues and fountains, designer shops and plenty of food and drink outlets. In the centre is the beautiful and famous Plague Column, always surrounded by camera-clicking tourists.
Best of all, Graben is part of the huge pedestrianized city centre, so you're away from the pollution and noise of traffic - except in the mornings when deliveries are made to the traders, until about 10 o'clock. There's just one single-lane one-way road, which an occasional bus, taxi and the horse-drawn carriages, fiaker, using it.
Later in the day, and into the evening, it's where buskers entertain the passers-by, many of them classical musicians on violin or cello.
We like to spend time in one of the pavement cafes - Segafredo is our favourite - enjoying a drink and a snack and watching the constant stream of people promenading.
The Tiefer Graben is the name of a street where in Roman times there was once a trench. This area was the border of the Roman legionary fortress and the city limits of Vienna.
One important landmark, is the magnificent Art Nouveau bridge.
In 1295, it was simple wooden High Bridge, then in the mid-15th century, a brick bridge with Gothic pointed arch was built as a road bridge and a chapel was erected in the 18th century. Yet again, another change took place in the 1850's, when a neo-Gothic style bridge was built of brick and in a Tudor arch design, the chapel was not re-erected.
Finally, in 1904, the Art Nouveau style bridge was built, complete with marble finish and iron railings with ornaments. This is Bridge is still standing and the one I saw today.
I had already been to Michaelerplatz and seen the Roman ruins, then I came to Graben and found out this was where the Romans dug out material to build their walls. Graben = Trench.
The Graben traces its origin back to the old Roman encampment of Vindobona.
I found it interesting that in the 12th century, the city was enlarged by the Babenberg Dukes, using the ransom money received in exchange for the release of the English king, Richard the lion-heart. At this time the trench was filled in and levelled and The Graben became one of the first residential streets in the new section of the city.
It begins at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz next to the Palais Equitable and ends at the junction of Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben.
In the 17th century there was a flour and vegetable market place here.
I found two fountains in this square. Fountains stood here in 1455 and were mainly used to put out fires. In 1638, the two fountains were rebuilt, and at the request of Leopold I, the fountains were adorned with sculptures of Saints Joseph and Leopold. The fountains are known as Josefsbrunnen and Leopoldsbrunnen as they are dedicated to two saints, St. Joseph and St. Leopold.
No worries about traffic as this area is pedestrians only!
Graben translates as "trench", which is what it was from Roman times until the Middle Ages. The Medieval city that would eventually become Vienna was surrounded by fortifications, with a deep trench dug next to the city walls. In the 12th century, the trench was filled and became a street, but it kept the name of Graben. Running through the heart of the Old City, it seems to be the place where everyone converges in the late afternoon or early evening after a day of sightseeing or shopping. It can get very busy, but I very much enjoyed the lively atmosphere. There are plenty of buskers and street performers to entertain the crowds, and the street also features some very interesting architecture, including a few buildings that are viewed as some of Otto Wagner's best work. It is also where you'll find the Pestsäule, or Plague Column. When the deadly disease hit Vienna in 1679, Emperor Leopold I vowed to have a monument built at the end of the epidemic. Several sculptors worked on the Baroque column that was finally inaugurated in 1693 and has since become one of the city's landmarks.
The Graben - this large square near the cathedral is lined with shops and restaurants and dominated by a very over the top plague column. This was built by Emperor Leopald 1 in gratitude for his survival of the 1679 plague.
It’s an old square called Graben (Fortress Moat) and surrounded by buildings in so called Jugendstil with Holy Trinity Column (Dreifaltigkeitssaul) in the center.
The column dates back to the end of the 17th century when the city was suffering from plague.
The monument was erected in the reign of the emperor Leopold I as a sign of gratefulness for the end of the devastating plague epidemics in the city in 1679. You can see three angels, numerous other figures and statues and the statue of the kneeling emperor Leopold I who is thanking Heavens for the end of the plaque nightmare.
People call that column simply Plague Column.
The Graben is a street in Vienna. It originates from the time that Vienna was a roman settlement. They protected this with a trence of which the German word is 'Graben'. This trench was still existing in the middleages when it was finally filled up and became a street. So when you walk on the the Graben looking at the nice shops, then you basically walk along the former roman settlement.
On the Graben you will find the very beautiful Pestsäule (Plague Column).
One of the most famous streets of Vienna, the origins date back to the old Roman encampment of Vindobona.
The Pestsäule was erected by Emperor Leopold I to thank the end of the Great Plague of Vienna.
- Main: General view.
- Second: Pestsäule/Plague Column.
- Third: Pestsäule/Plague Column (top).
- Fourth: Josefsbrunnen.
- Fifth: Leopoldbrunnen.
The pedestrians-only zone of old Vienna is centered around St Stephan's Cathedral, along Graben and Kartnerstrasse. Here is where one can savor the city's famed coffee, or enjoy authentic Viennese cuisine. It's a fine place to stroll about, shop, or just watch the world go by.
Even in Vienna you can find thermal springs. The spa is located outside the city centre in the 10th district. You can reach it by taking subway U1 till Reumannplatz and then changing to tram No 67. Next to the spa is a nice park, where you could go for a walk.
The building is quite big, they have several thermal basins, a Kneipp area ("walking through ice cold water like a stork" :), then warm your body up again, it feels as if there were ants in your legs, but this procedure should help to strenghten the immune system), a steam bath, "Kräuterkammern" (those are small rooms where you can inhale the smell of herbs, like eucalyptus or camomille), jacuzzis, a sauna area and a lot more. I like especially the basins outside. It is very nice to swim in the warm water when it is dark and freezing cold. From 7 p.m. on they have some nice light and music effects too ("liquid sound").
I would preferably go from Monday till Friday to Oberlaa and not on the weekends, because then it gets very crowded. Entrance fee starts at about 10 EUR for 2 hours.
There is another spa in Baden bei Wien (about 20 km outside Vienna) too. In my opinion, the spa in Baden is much nicer than the one in Oberlaa. If you go with your kids though I reccomend Oberlaa, because there are a lot more attractions for them than in Baden.
The wide space of Graben - more square than street with its absence of traffic and large al fresco cafes under shady awnings serving coffee and cake, weiners and beer to tourists and locals alike - is busy night and day with a constant throng of people. First a Roman moat ("graben" means ditch) and lined with palaces and grand houses in the days of imperial Vienna, it's all glass shop fronts now, but look up and you will see some lovely facades and interesting rooflines. At the end of the street, where it joins Kohlmarkt, you'll find the fabulous Julius Meinl store - all your foodie fantasies rolled into one. This is definitely the place to look for a sweet treat to take home with you.
Rising in the middle of Graben, looking from a distance like some peculiarly netted monster , is the Pestaule, a column erected in thanksgiving for the city's deliverance from the plague in the late 17th century. The nets are to keep the birds off but they don't do much for the aesthetics of the florid Baroque monument of marble and gold.
In the area around the Stephansplatz, the Kärtnerstrasse, and the Graben you'll find everything you need for a good shopping. But more expensive shops than cheap ones, as I noticed :-)
If you are not interested in shopping, then have a look at the buildings ! Amazing architecture, and a strong feeling that everything is so "clean". Every building is worth looking !
The lengthened public square, from five centuries heart trades them of the city, must its name to rising on the situated one of the ancient one goes it roman, incorporated in walls to the end of the XII century. It puts into effect them curvilinear structure, communicating to an extremity with Stephansplatz and Karntnerstrasse, laughed them to the "widenings" of the second half of the 1800's: the Equitablepalais, than to the angle with Karntnerstrasse marks the beginning, rises when were situated five houses demolished in 1856-86 when, for viabilistic reasons, the diaphragm of Stock-im-Eisen-Platz between the public square of the cathedral and the Graben was eliminated. The building of neo baroque shapes with portale to cariatidi, erected in 1890-91 on plan of T. Streit, is crowned from an imposing cupola to plant quadrant. On the angle with Karntnerstrasse, embedded in the chine of the palace, it is the so-called Stock im Eisen, log of tree in which, to leave from the sec. XVI, as it wants the legend, every fabbro in visit to Vienna it was usual to plant a nail.
Look at the Pestsaule on the Graben. In 1679 Emperor Leopold I vowed to commemorate Vienna’s, eventual, deliverance from the plague which was raging. When the plague was over he commissioned Rauchmiller, Burnacini and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to build a Baroque plague column. Its most striking image is a saintly figure and an angel watching over a hag (symbolizing the plague) being destroyed, above that the Emperor is praying. Graben is a pedestrianized street with some lovely shops, but while walking there also look at the building and not just the windows of the shops. There are buildings by Adolf Loos and Otto Wagner.