Sunday, 16 November 2008

A curious stroll through Vienna's 2nd District

Last Wednedsay evening, my friend Brigitte and I strolled through Vienna's 2nd district, Leopoldstadt, accompanied by a little booklet, our culture guide.
The district is situated on an artificial island between the Danube and the Donaukanal on the area of the former floodplains of the Danube.

So, come on!

The first recommended object on our tour is the "Dianabad", Europe's first indoor swimming pool from 1850!
Remarkable: the building once served also as a ball and concert hall during the winter seasons.
Here, Johann Strauss' world famous "Donauwalzer" received its world premiere in 1867.

Today, nothing is left of the original building.
After being rebuilt around 1900, destroyed in WW 2 and finally burning down some years ago, the building looks like this today:

A so called "Erlebnisbad", a water and fun park with waterslide and wave pool,
and some original Jugendstil mosaics in the entrance hall for decoration.

We walk through Karmeliterviertel with its churches and market places
and try to find a house which Johann Strauss, the king of waltz, once inhabited. When we look up, a stag, larger than life, looks down on us! We've never noticed that bizarre creature before!

We walk through the rainy little streets and the small hidden market squares of Karmeliterviertel, with its small pubs, "Beisln", and its old houses, some of them more than 250 years old, and the classical houses of Vienna's wealthy bourgeoisie.

We plan to visit this "Beisl", Gasthaus zum Sieg, on one of our next trips.
It promises traditional Viennese food, and its interior has not been changed during the past 70 years (at least)!
We LOVE that!

Throughout the centuries, the second district was mainly inhabited by Jews.
Today we see some kosher shops and some inscriptions on the walls, but all the synagogues have been destroyed by the Reichskristallnacht progrome of 1938 foreshadowing Holocaust.
What a horrible catastrophe!
Needless to say, only a few Jews have returned.

"Freud's lost neighbors" , an exhibition at the Sigmund Freund Museum Vienna in 2003,
showed the history of the residents of the house at Berggasse 19 from 1939 to the present. Please follow the link for a precise outline!
By now, a documentary is being screened by the Jerusalem Cinemateque in cooperation with the Austrian Embassy.
Thank you Dina for your valuable hint!

Again we have to search for a shelter from the rain, and this time we choose an Italian restaurant, run by a Croatian owner.

The evening is too short for a visit of the Prater, Vienna's largest recreational area with its amusement park, the "Wurstelprater", and the famous giant's wheel "Riesenrad" reminding of Harry Lime and the Third Man.
This would be a nice weekend trip!

Follow this link to see more contributions to the meme


Dina said...

Thanks for this. I am glad to see the happier face of Leopoldstadt. Recently the Jerusalem Cinemateque in cooperation with the Austrian Embassy screened the documentary "Freud's Lost Neighbors" or "Freuds Verschwundene Nachbarn."
Thanks for the links too.

Maria said...

Thank you for your valuable hint at "Freud's Lost Neighbours", Dina,I have added it immediately to the post!

Dina said...

Thank you noch einmal, Maria! I didn't realise (before reading your new link) that the movie had first been an exhibit at the Freud Museum. I went to see the film with a friend who lives nearby. She is a Catholic who grew up in post-war Vienna. Her mother, still alive, was Freud's last patient.

Maybe the next meme after That's My World should be It's a Small World? :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Maria :)

Very interesting and informative post with lovely photos and detailed step by step commentary for better understanding and enjoyment.

It is a great pity that the synagogues have been destroyed. In Kochi we still have an ancient synagogue functioning and it is a place of tourist attraction. There are only handful of Jews living here and most of them have migrated to Israel.

I was amused to read about the Italian restaurant with a Croatian owner. How did a croatian get the idea of starting an Italian restaurant and what kind of Italian food can he make? I suppose Italian food must be in great demand and people really don't mind the food being served as long as it is called Italian.

Many,many thanks for this wonderful tour.

Have a lovely day :)

Denise BC said...

Hi, Mary
An excellent tour, I loved your world.
Kisses, Denise

Maria said...

Joseph, there are only very few Jews living in Vienna. Some returned after the war from their exiles in America or England, long-time residents who loved Vienna very much, and recently, Jews from Eastern Europe are coming to Austria. They may be afraid of going to Israel because of is this pemanent terror situation.
It is such a sad and terrible thing about the Holocaust.
And the Holocaust did also a great deal of damage to Austria. Austria lost an immense part of its intellectual elite.

Maria said...

Dina, and I did not know about the exhibit AND the movie!
Hope the movie comes to our cinemas soon! Ha, I think I have found the DVD:
And your friend grew up in Vienna!
Maybe " It's a Small World" would be a good meme!

Arija said...

Lovely, though rather moist walk with a wealth of historical and not always pleasant memorabilia.
Great photos of rain soaked streets with reflected lights.
I do hope you make it to the Prater and have some hot Maronen for me too!

Maria said...

Arija, I give you my word :)

Maria said...

Thank you, Denise!

Migs CFL fan said...

Thanks for the tour. Great pics.

Regina In Pictures

Louise said...

What a nice view of Vienna. I would love to hit that water park!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Thanks, Maria. Wonderful tour. ;-) Vienna has so much history -- good as well as bad--, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tour. I enjoyed it a lot and did not cost me a penny.

fishing guy said...

Maria: I must say that was an interesting walk through your town.

Sylvia K said...

What a wonderful tour! And the pictures are beautiful! Thanks not only for the pictures, but all the interesting information. Vienna has such a wonderful history!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Yes what a nice tour of somevery interesting places

Leora said...

Thanks for posting a bit about the Jews of Vienna. My friend's father was from Vienna; now he lives in the U.S., and she lives in Israel, with her nine children. She went to visit once, to see the "old country". I'm glad some memory of their having lived there is alive.

It looks like a beautiful area of the city.

Carletta said...

What a lovely tour! I enjoyed your commentary and your photos. The last photo with the rain and light and shadows is gorgeous.

babooshka said...

This is genuinely fascinating and aia really felt like I learnt something of your world from your post.

mannanan said...

Thgank you for a brilliant tour of Your World. Great photos and excellent narrative. I just love this neme as I learn new stuff like this each week

Jeanne said...

Maria I love all these pictures. The architecture is amazing and I love that mosaic. The photo looking through the window at the pool is very interesting too. My favorite I think is the rainy sidewalk. Love the lighting. Great post and lovely walk.

Leslie: said...

Thank you for a lovely walk in the rain around Vienna. I bet you had a good dinner and got all warmed up in that restaurant! I'd love to visit Vienna some day!

Rural Writer said...

What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Jan said...

Maria, I love your town, and I've never been there! Thanks for all the wonderful tours. This one was wonderful.

Baino said...

Ah Vienna by night. Isn't it lovely to be a tourist in your own town and then discover a little gem like the Stag. I've been going into Sydney quite a lot lately with visitors and there's always something new! Great tour. Thanks.

April said...

Thank you for the lovely tour of your city. These are such wonderful nighttime pictures of all the buildings and the stag, too! Beautiful wet streets!

Sandradb said...

That was really interesting tour through Vienna - thank you for your visit and greetings from Croatia.

antigoni said...

It's been so many years before that i visited Vienna and i remember only a few things. Next time i'll have you as a guide. I really enjoyed your post.

Jedediah said...

Interesting photos. That stag is really weird.
I sometimes wonder what was lost with all the people killed in the concentration camps, how many books were never written, inventions never made, songs never sung.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

many favorites among your the last especially.

also enjoyed the many interesting history links throughout post. and yes, the cost of the holocaust on the country is still being felt today in 2008.

thank you for sharing this post with all of us.

The Tile Lady said...

Oh Maria, how terribly sad about Dianabad! It breaks my heart about the lost treasures in Europe! I love the Strauss music you are playing on the is perfect for the views you have posted! Great pictures!!!! More than ever, I just want to visit there!!!!

So you happened upon your award!!! :-) I hadn't had time to let you know about it, so I am glad you did! Yes, indeed, you are one hot blogger!


Ishtar said...

I love your pictures! Am left wondering what kind of dog do you have?

Greetings from West Africa,

2sweetnsaxy said...

What a great post. I really enjoyed the wonderful tour, history and photos. It's just the kind of place I would love to visit.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the great tour, and for sharing your world. I've heard Vienna is a beautiful city, though I've never had the opportunity to visit.

Titania said...

Maria a great tour with lots of information. Have you thought about changing your profession? What a pity I missed out on a excellent tourist guide on my trip to your lovely city! Herzlichst. T.

Brenda said...

I love to tour your beautiful city with you through your pictures!

Celeste said...

What a wonderful trip and what better way to end your evening than in an Italian restaurant! Thank you for sharing :)

Webradio said...

Nice photos... Shadows are beautiful !