Been here? Rate It!
One of the more famous squares in Vienna, is the Michaelerplatz. It was here, the German National Anthem was performed for the first time. Look for the memorial plaque on the left of the Michaelertor.
The Imperial Palace of Hofburg is located in the square, so you can expect this area to be quite busy. There were quite a few impressive sights, including the neo-Baroque Michaelertor, the entrance gate to the Hofburg, one of Vienna's first modern buildings, the Looshaus and the Michaelerkirche, the parish church of the Emperors.
An interesting area in the square, is the open area with Roman and medieval remains. Archaeological digs were carried out by the city authorities between 1990-91 when the square was being redesigned. They found the foundations of a Roman settlement and remains of the walls of the "Garden of Paradise." There is plenty of information on the site.
To prevent them from any further destruction, a concrete wall was erected around them. Not the prettiest of squares now, but this needing doing!
Horse & carriages line this area just waiting for you, the tourist, to come and ask for a tour!
Plenty of spots to grab a coffee too!
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
The history of the town
The history of the town goes back 25.000 years ago when the first settlement was built here, most probably by the Celts. Later on, in the 15th century BC, Romans fortified the frontier settlement they called Vindobona, to guard the Empire against Germanic tribes from the north. Vindobona is the oldiest known name for todays Vienna.
The recent excavations discovered remains from the Roman times at the Michaelerplatz, right in front of the entrance to the St. Michael's Gate.
All streets lead to the Michaelerplatz.
In Vienna all streets lead to Rome, at least to the Roman vestiges of the Michaelerplatz.
In fact the streets of Vienna lead to the Stephansdom or the Hofburg.
The excavations of the Roman settlement on the square between the Michaeler church and the cupola of the Hofburg are very modest; don't expect to see here a vestige like the Porta Nigra of Trier.
The visitors can not avoid passing here to visit the Hofburg (the entrance of the museums is here), the Spanish Riding School or the Michaeler kirche. Fiakers like to turn around the square.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
Entrance to the Hofburg Palace
This square's most striking feature is Michaelertor, the grandiose main entrance to the Hofburg Palace. Michalerplatz is named after the 13th century St. Michael's Church that also faces the square. Even though the square in its current form only goes back to 1725, we know that it has a long history since excavation works have revealed the remains of a Roman campment. The square was redesigned in the 18th century when plans were made to add another wing to the Hofburg complex, a project that was completed in 1729.
Another building worth seeing on Michaelerplatz is Loos Haus. Designed by Adolf Loos and built between 1910 and 1912, its modern look does contrast a bit with the rest of the buildings around the square, but I don't think it justifies all the negative criticism it received upon its completion. Emperor Franz Joseph hated it so much, he made it a point not to use Michaelertor when going into the city and even had some windows boarded up in his private appartments so he wouldn't accidentally see it (!). The building now houses a bank so technically, it's not a tourist attraction but you can still go inside during business hours and take a look around the richly decorated lobby.
- Historical Travel
Kohlmarkt - a little street with lots of style!
Kohlmarkt connects the Graben to Michaelerplatz. Its name (coal market in English) is derived from its very humble beginnings as a trading spot for charcoal merchants. However, when the Hofburg Palace was built nearby, it began attracting a whole new class of merchants: jewellers and high-fashion stores. Cartier, Gucci, Chanel, Armani, Louis Vuitton and Burberry all have stores on the tiny street. My own personal favourite place to shop, however, turned out to be the famous pastry shop and chocolatier Demel. This bakery was originally founded under a different name in 1786. When Christian Demel became the owner in 1857, he changed the name and moved the shop from its original location on Michalerplatz to the current one on Kohlmarkt. Demel's reputation goes back to its days as purveyor of the court. Of course now there's no need to be a king to go to this rather elegant bakery, but bear in mind that it's still a bit on the expensive side. But if you ever feel like spending 5 Euros on a hot chocolate, this is the place to go!
Another shop that's worth mentionning is Manz university bookstore located at Kohlmarkt 16. Although it's specialized in law books and therefore not as interesting - at least to me - as other bookstores, it's still worth taking a look at the Art Nouveau facade designed by Adolf Loos in 1912. It is perhaps one of the architect's most easily recognizable pieces of work in the city.
Archeological diggingground Michaelerplatz
On the Michaelerplatz you will find an open digging ground of the Wienmuseum. It shows roman wall foundations and a roman street crossing of two very important trade routes in the time of the first century.
Additionally ceramics from the middleage and foundations of the Hofburgtheater (teared down in 1888) were found.
- Historical Travel
Walking through Wien--Michaelerplatz
The overcrowded square fronting the Hofburg has been a site for Viennese history since the era of the Roman Empire. Excavations centered in the square include remnants of a 17th C theater, a sewage system, and most importantly the Roman outpost of Vindobona. The excavations are surrounded by a cement wall - some say this archaeologic site distracts from the adjacent Hofburg entrance and are particularly offended by the cement wall. Whatever - in one place a layered introduction to the remote history of the city.
VINDOBONA - A Roman settlement on the Danube dates to the 1stC BC, replacing earlier Celtic settlements. The Danube was for many centuries the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, guarded by numerous fortified camps. Up to 6000 soldiers were housed within its walls with a surrounding city of as many as 20,000 inhabitants. The location was selected by the course of the Amber Road, a major path from the Baltic to Rome, but also important enough for repeated attacks by Germanic tribes from the north. Marcus Aurelius would successfully defend against one such attack in the second century but would die here. As the Roman Empire faded, Vindobona lost its importance, just another town by the end of the 5th Century.
Signage at the site describes briefly the history of the excavation and draws attention to painted lines describing the identity of the different foundations visible.
Vienna by night
Vienna is a great place to explore at night. Some of the streets and squares are deserted and the only sound is your own footsteps or the distant sound of the horse and carriages on the cobbled streets around the Hofburg.
The city parks and gardens tend to be full of young people chilling out with a ghetto blaster supplying the musical backdrop and the atmosphere is really nice.
The best part of exploring the city by night though is that the grand Viennese buildings are lit up and you can you see them with only a handful of tourists for company.
I would take the U-Bahn to Herringasse and wander through the Jewish quarter then down to the bottom of Kohlmarkt. Walk up Kohlmarkt to Michaelerplatz and the Hofburg then through the archway to the Neue Hofburg.
After spending some time there continue on through to the museums quarter and the Volkstheatre. Plenty to see and do.
Loos House & American Bar
Standing opposite the entrance to the Hofburg on Michaelerplatz it's hard to believe that both it and Loos House were built at similar times as they have radically different architecture. Built in 1910 the building drew the public displeasure of Emperor Francis Joesph with its straight lines and unelaporate facade.
Located just off Karnter Street Loos's American Bar is built in much the same style as the house. Inside is very stylish and upon entering it looks deceptively large thanks to the clever use of mirrors but in reality it is a very tiny place.
A surfeit of churches
Even the most avid student of church architecture or lover of gilded swags and charming cherubs could reach the point of "Enough!" in Vienna. There are so many beautiful and interesting churches around the city, all with their own particular reason to claim some of the tourist's attention but the constraints of time and the lure of all the other attractions the city has to offer mean that only the most determined tourist will manage to see more than the exterior of some, and the interior of a few.
The Capuchin Church (Kapuzinekirche) - on the Neue Markt , near the Hofburg Palace. This church has been the burial place of the Hapsburgs - 12 Emperors and 18 Empresses lie entombed in the crypt - ever since it was first consecrated in 1632.
The Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) - Dr-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz, next to the Old University - where an elegantly restrained exterior belies the explosion of gilding, marble, carving and fresco, the very embodiment of the Baroque, inside.
St Michael's Church (Michaelerkirche) - one of the oldest churches in Vienna, sits on the Michaelerplatz across the square from the Hofburg entrance. This was where the court came to church. A medley of the mediaeval, Renaissance and Baroque features fill the interior whilst the exterior is gracefully neo-Classical.
The Scottish Church (Schottenkirche) is not Presbyterian , or even Scots in any way. It was actually founded by Irish Benedictines in 1177. One disaster after another saw the church rebuilt several times, culminating in the pink and white Baroque interior that dates from the 1640s.
You could be forgiven for thinking the Votiv Church was a fine example of mediaeval architecture. Its location, outside the Inner Stadte gives a clue that it is not so old at all. A "votive" is an offering given in thanks - in this case an extremely grand offering to give thanks for the life of the Emperor Franz Joseph who survived an assassination attempt just near the site of the church in 1853.
Hofburg - Michaeler Platz
Arriving at Michaelerplatz you will discover this marvelous entrance to the Hofburg complex passing under the Michaelerkuppel dome. Recently discovered ancient roman ruins in front of the entrance make an amazing contrast in architectural styles with the magnificent baroque palace.
- Castles and Palaces
Michaelerplatz is dominated by St. Michael's Church and is the historic main gate to the Hofburg. Surrounding Micahelerplatz is the "Kohlmarkt", the Loos-haus, and ancient Roman ruins.
St Michael's (Michaelerkirche) dates from the 1200s, but has been changed numerous times over the centuries. The chancel is from the 1300s, the spire was constructed during the 1500s, and much of the remainder of the building is from 1792.
Roman ruins are located at the center of the square and were just excavated in the late 1980s. The Kohlmarkt -- or Coal Market -- used to be a blue collar trading area, now it's one of the ritzy places to shop in the city. The Loos-Haus was built in 1910 and was controversial due to its plain appearance in this high-end neighborhood.
Day 2 : Hofburg area
The Michaeler Platz (square) is dominated by the Michaeler Tor (gate).
This Michaeler gate is in fact the entry towards the Hofburg, the Kaiserappartments and the Winterreitschule.
In the middle of the Michaeler Platz, there is kind of a hole, here you can see the results of recent excavations, they found the remains of a Roman camp, and remains of mediaeval foundations.
On this square you also can visit the Michaeler kirche (church).
If you follow the street opposite the Michaeler (Kohl Markt), you will pass the Demel Konditorei, which an excellent place to stop to taste the delicious house made pastry.
And from here you are only a few steps away from the Graben square with its Plague column.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The circular public square is dominated from the imposing facade of the Hofburg, than of it it occupies all the south-western feature. Contrapposte is, to right, the facade of the Michaelerkirche and, to the left of Kohlmarkt, the Loos Haus, construction erected in the 191O on plan of Adolf Loos, father of the Neue Sachlichkeit and that to that time true storm of critics raised one. Also Francisco Giuseppe express the own indignation for the lack of decorative frames to the windows - here the nickname of Augenbrauenloses Haus, "house without eyebrows" and the use of the marble onion in wraps inferior of the building, destined to emphasize of the function trades them. Restored around 1990, bank is today center of one; great part of the furnishing of the downstairs has been rifared based on photo of the age. Of forehead, from the other Hiatus of Herrengasse, it is the Palais Herberstein (1896), between the latest examples of the viennese eclectic architecture. In summer 1990, the jobs of pedestrian sistemazion of the public square have carried to the light remain of wall, pavements and a Roman fort, with the rests of medieval and rinascimental walls.
- Historical Travel
Michaelerplatz & Michaelertor
Michaelerplatz is the area that is in front of the entrance to the Hofburg Complex, Michaelertor. As you walk towards the Michaelertor, directly in front you will notice a hole in the ground with unearthed Roman ruins and Medieval foundations on top of them. It is like a time capsule of Ancient Vienna.
The Michaelertor is the actual entrance to the Hofburg Complex. The dome and carvings on top is called the Michaelertrakt.
- Historical Travel
- Save up to 50% off Hotels Everyday
- Expedia.com Photos, Reviews and the Guaranteed Lowest Prices
- Save Up To 50% On Hotels
- Orbitz.com Find great deals on Orbitz & pay no hotel change or cancel fees
Explore the World
- Lahore Hotels
- Boston Hotels
- Malgrat de Mar
- Novaliches Hotels
- Cebu City
- Saskatoon Hotels