Are you up for learning some pretty interesting history of Vienna? There is no better way to fulfill your free time (and we know you have it!) than reading about cool historical facts about your favorite city. Every street of Vienna’s old city center has its history, and once you know a little bit about it, you appreciate the sights of those streets even more. If you’ve been to Vienna, this blog post will help you to understand the sights you already saw, and if you dream about traveling to Vienna one day, use this time and prepare yourself for exploration of this magnificent city.
If you’ve ever been to Vienna, you probably know about Ringstrasse (the Ring Road), the circular road that separates the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town) — the 1st district from other Viennese districts. It is built on the locations where the medieval city walls once stood — it was a fortification with high walls and the broad open field ramparts. Ringstrasse was built right after the walls were deconstructed, in the mid-19th century. Along the road you can see many beautiful buildings, all built in the same historicist style, that is also known as Ringstrassenstil (“Ring Road style”), using elements of Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Because of that gorgeous architecture, this road was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is often called the “Lord of the Ring Roads”.
The map of Old Vienna, 1858 — You can see the Innere Stadt surrounded by the city walls
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Ringstrasse — Burgring
(cc) Gugerell / cc0
Hoher Markt is the oldest square in Vienna and during the Middle Ages, it was one of the most important market places in the city. Even though it was once a part of the Roman settlement, there are no ruins to be seen today except in the underground museum. But everywhere you turn you’ll see some amazing buildings! Some of the most impressive things to see here are the Wedding Fountain and the amazing Ankeruhr — a large gilded clock in Art Nouveau style that shows different figures crossing the bridge each hour and plays music in the background.
Fleischmarkt or Meat market is a part of one of the oldest Viennese quarters, the Greek quarter. This street was first mentioned in the 13th century and is known to be one of the oldest streets in Vienna. That’s where you’ll see the Julius Meinl House — an Art Deco building that was the first spice shop of Julius Meinl I. Also, this is the street where you’ll find the oldest restaurant in Vienna, Griechenbeisl that was visited by many famous people, such as Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, and Strauss. Right next to this restaurant there is a beautiful building of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
Fleischmarkt in the Greek Quarter
(cc) Gugerell / cc0
Herrengasse is a gorgeous street in Innere Stadt, near Hofburg Palace, and home to many beautiful buildings. This street also existed in Roman times, and it was a part of the limes highway system. During the Middle Ages, one part of this street was called Hochstraße (High Street). The street got more popular at the beginning of the 16th century when Vienna got established as the imperial capital, and the nobility migrated to this part of the city. They all wanted their palaces to be close to Hofburg Imperial Palace, which was the residence of the Habsburg rulers. The name changed a bit later when Vienna became the administrative center of Lower Austria and a place where the region’s representatives (which were gentlemen — German: Herren) gathered. Today, this street is a place with gorgeous architectural landmarks and important meeting point.
Graben is the most popular street in Vienna’s first district, which also dates back to Roman times when it was just a defensive ditch (“Graben“ means “ditch“ in German). The ditch was filled in the 12th century, and this area quickly became a marketplace. In the 14th century, the place got completely destroyed in a fire, but not so long after the unfortunate event it god rebuilt and became a residential neighborhood. The most famous resident of this street was Mozart, who lived there in the 18th century. The street became a pedestrian area in 1974, and then it slowly became one of the most popular shopping streets in Vienna. One of the most famous things to see on this street is the Plague Column, or Holy Trinity Column, which was erected after the Great Plague epidemic, in memory of its victims. This Baroque monument is one of the best-known landmarks of the Graben street.
Dirty Secrets of Vienna’s Streets
We love Vienna and its lovely streets — they’re full of historical and cultural landmarks. But these streets have their other side, their dirty little secrets that you’d surely love to know! Now you have the chance to find out about those secrets — we revealed them for you in our new digital tour “Love for Sale in Old Vienna”.
Love for Sale in Old Vienna — our new digital tour
You’ve heard a thing or two about the so-called oldest profession in the world, but have you ever really wondered how did prostitution come to life? We did our research and put together a digital tour which will take you through the streets of Vienna’s historic city center — you’d never know what was happening on the Graben or Naglergasse before they became upscale shopping streets. In this tour, we brought dirty secrets and the downsides of Viennese erotic activities to life.
Graben street in 1900
There are plenty of secrets hidden among the historic streets of Vienna, but we won’t reveal them in this blog post — you can learn more about them in our digital tour! Hurry up, buy this tour, download it to your favorite device, enjoy these juicy stories and learn a little bit of history of Vienna!
This tour is a part of our #HelpingWithCulturalPlaces project. Through this project, we are helping people in need all around Austria, with the support of Austrian NGO Volkshilfe. We will donate 50% of the net proceeds of every tour that you purchase and help all people who are suffering in this health crisis that hit us. Thank you for your support!