Vienna, Austria, Pictures

by Keith Stanley

Copyright 2011

   Arriving early morning on a beautiful Spring day, cruising at a low altitude over the countryside, our flight circled the city, affording us a marvelous view of the patchwork early Spring fields, greens and browns.  Some of the rectangles were much longer than wide and the farmed land was itself very flat.  Yet I could see contours in the land, wrinkles for runoff, as well as wooded hills here and there and a few small clusters of windmills for electricity generation.  Small settlements (of not more than one or two hundred dwellings) lay scattered across the predominantly agricultural land, often nestled along one of the "wrinkles" in the land.  Occasionally a highway or road would neatly bisect the land. The sky was clear blue. The land looked rich, the countryside prosperous.

   We landed at the Vienna International Airport (VIE) and took the S-Bahn into town, exiting the system at the Stadt Park Station, just across the street from our hotel, the Intercontinental.  Despite the early hour (10am), they found us a room with a view of the park where we could drop our bags before setting off to explore the city center (the Innere Stadt).  The Innere Stadt lies within the Ringstrasse, a encircling roadway which lies where city walls once stood.  Our hotel was two blocks outside the ring.  We headed to city center and St. Stephen's Cathedral (St. Stephansdom), first completed in 1160 C.E., with subsequent major additions and renovations occurring through 1511.  It's a Gothic masterpiece and conspicuous landmark. 

P1000014 St Stephan's Dom detail.jpg (100808 bytes) P1000052 st stephan's and platz (good).jpg (86018 bytes) P1000019 St Stephan detail (ok).jpg (117401 bytes)
St. Stephen's Dom
(Cathedral)
detail
St. Stephen's Dom
and St. Stephen's Platz
St. Stephen's (detail)

   From the cathedral and St. Stephan's Platz we walked a short 100 yards to The Graben (Der Graben), a broad street of richly maintained historic buildings:

The Graben traces its origin back to the old Roman encampment of Vindobona.  The south-western wall of the settlement extended along the length of the present-day Graben and Naglergasse;  before the wall lay a trench (Graben).  This trench still stood in front of the medieval city walls.  At the end of the 12th century, the city was enlarged by the Babenberg Dukes, using the ransom money for Richard the Lionheart.  At this time the trench was filled in and leveled.  The Graben thereby became one of the first residential streets in the new section of the city.  [From the Wikipedia article "Graben, Vienna"]

Being as it was a beautiful Spring day and a Sunday to boot, der Graben was crowded with strollers and people at the sidewalk cafes.
P1000025 toward the Graben (good).jpg (99288 bytes) P1000026 looking from st stephan's platz towad the Graben (good).jpg (101417 bytes) P1000029 zig zag sign (ok).jpg (86152 bytes)
From St. Stephen's, looking
toward the Graben
Der Graben Zig Zag sign
P1000035 an der Graben.jpg (89421 bytes) P1000032 berlitz.jpg (92281 bytes) P1000049 early settlement foundations.jpg (105617 bytes)
An der Graben Berlitz Early settlement foundations
(going back to Roman times)
P1000018 St Stephan's Dom reflected florist window (good).jpg (125909 bytes) P1000053 st stephen's (side on plaza) (ok).jpg (109536 bytes) P1000020 st stephan's detail.jpg (100403 bytes)
St. Stephen's Dom,
reflection in shop window
St. Stephen's (side view) St. Stephen's (detail)
P1000092 on Singerstrasse (ok).jpg (81659 bytes) P1000011 Wiener gasse.jpg (69322 bytes) P1000054 stadt park, spring ease (ok).jpg (105846 bytes)
An Singerstrasse
(near St. Stephansdom)
Blutgasse (Blood Lane,
looking toward Mozarthaus)
Stadtpark (City Park)
in the Spring
   On our second day in Vienna, we walked the 20 minutes from our lodging to to The Belvedere, originally built as a Summer Palace & gardens for Prince Eugene of Savoy in the early 1700's, but now serving as a museum with principal works by Gustav Klimt and others at the Upper Belvedere (the main palace).  There was also a temporary but comprehensive exhibit of Egon Schiele's work at the Lower Belvedere--what a great chance to see works by two of Vienna's best-known artists (contemporaries in the early 20th century), two of my favorites--very nice!

P1000063 Belvedere, lawn (ok).jpg (85572 bytes) P1000066 the Belvedere with tulips (good).jpg (77171 bytes) P1000072 lower belvedere detail (good).JPG (96512 bytes)
The Belvedere
(former palace --now an art gallery)
The Belvedere (with tulips) Lower Belvedere
(& formal garden)
   On the third day, we decided to take the short walk from our hotel on Johannesgasse to the Ringstrasse and, from there, stroll clockwise around a portion of the Ringstrasse that is home to a goodly number of Vienna's monumental buildings.  We saw the Staatsoper (opera house), then walked through the Burggarten, past the Palmenhaus, then past the Art History and Natural History Museums.  We then took a very slight detour to eat at the rooftop cafeteria at the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice).  The food was decent, reasonably priced Austrian fare, and we had a view over the rooftop of Parliament to the Rathaus (city hall) beyond.  Afterwards we walked past the Parliament (where there was a small demonstration in favor of ethical eating going on) and on to the gothic Rathaus.  After this we backtracked counterclockwise around the Ringstrasse toward our hotel, but detoured 3 or 4 blocks to the south to see the beautifully baroque Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles Borromeo).

P1000093 park near the Albertina.jpg (104171 bytes) P1000095 Burggarten (ok).jpg (96878 bytes) P1000096 Palmenhaus on Burggarten (ok).jpg (107703 bytes)
Near the Albertina Gallery Burggarten Palmenhaus at the Burggarten
P1000097 unknown interior.jpg (95448 bytes) P1000108 sculptural detail (good).jpg (93912 bytes) P1000115 rathaus side, detail, crop (good).jpg (130393 bytes)
Justizpalast ( Palace of Justice )
interior -- atrium
Sculptural detail,
outside Parliament
Rathaus (City Hall)
side view detail
P1000118 rathaus detail (ok).jpg (93720 bytes) P1000128 karlskirche, front detail (good).jpg (64785 bytes) P1000129 Karlskirche front detail w column (+).jpg (91927 bytes)
Rathaus, detail Karlskirche (St. Charles Church) Karlskirche
(front detail with column)
P1000133 altar detail.jpg (91649 bytes) P1000135 interior detail.jpg (74477 bytes)
Karlskirche altar, detail Karlskirche, interior detail
   Jana and I went to the Schonbrun Palace in the morning.  It was considerably less than impressive than I'd expected, both in the interior decor (many of the rooms were dark and gloomy) (no photographs were allowed) and in the garden.  Although the place is impressively large, it's not architecturally notable on the exterior.  Admittedly the palace does have some notable baroque interior craftsmanship but the glory of the sumptuously ornate grand ballroom was largely hidden due to ongoing renovations when we visited.
P1000160 schonbrun on end.jpg (78467 bytes) P1000173 bench pond-duck view (ok).jpg (89559 bytes)
Schonbrun palace (on end) Stadt Park

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kesta1001@yahoo.com.

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