By tram in snowy Vienna. Riding along the Ring
Seeing Vienna with snow
It’s frustrating to go to Vienna for Christmas and not find snow. Having seen Vienna in summer as a lively city, it seemed very sombre to me when I beheld it empty and dull on Christmas Eve.
The first photos show the image of Vienna we first saw on that trip.
Karlskirche. Saint-Charles church
Karlsplatz. Saint-Charles Square. Art Nouveau metro entrances
Palace of Prince Eugen. Read his story below, with the Belvedere
Hoher Markt. The oldest square of Vienna, with the Art Nouveau clock
Kärtnerstraße pedestrian zone
The famous opera of Vienna
At the Belvedere. The prince who changed the history of Europe
Fortunately, afterwards it snowed and the image of Vienna changed completely. Then, of course, there was the problem of what was the best way to move. Especially if your company wants to see the Belvedere museum, but you want to see around. What do you do?
Side note: the Belvedere was the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. The one we encountered above with his winter residence. As you will see, he deserved these two palaces.
The French Prince Eugene of Savoy was deemed unsuitable by King Louis 14th for the French army because of his weak appearance. So he tried his luck in the service of the Austrian emperor.
The result? Thanks to him Vienna was saved from the Turkish siege of 1683. After that, he halted the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, repelling the Turks from much of central Europe. That is, Prince Eugene changed the history of Europe.
Boulevards in the place of walls
A good suggestion is to take the tram going along the Ring.
The Ring is the avenue created in the 19th century when the walls were demolished. At that time, advances in technology had made cannons so powerful that no walls could resist to them.
Therefore, in most cities of Europe, the walls were demolished and a perimetric avenue was created in their place.
Usually, it was the first wide avenue in a medieval historical centre hitherto cramped within the walls.
The cathedral of Saint-Stephen in Vienna’s medieval centre surrounded by the Ring
Therefore, it was an opportunity to build grandiose public buildings along the new avenue. These buildings were usually turned towards the city’s interior.
The most beautiful perimeter Boulevard. The Ring of Vienna
Perhaps the most beautiful such avenue is the Ring of Vienna. Because it was created when Vienna was the capital of the largest state in Europe: the Austrian Empire (later Austria-Hungary).
Therefore, they built the grandest palaces of the then imperial capital along this avenue.
If you take, then, the tram, you’ll have the opportunity to see them all in turn. And if you are lucky enough to encounter snow, as I was, you’ll see the most fairytale route in a city centre.
Along the way, I made some stops to make small detours and returned to the tram for the rest of the route.
Kursalon. One of the most famous music halls in Vienna
Hofburg royal palace
Art History Museum
Natural History Museum. Don’t get confused. It’s NOT the same as the previous one. They just look too much alike
The Parliament, designed by Theophil Hansen
Liechtenstein palace and Starhemberg palace
Minoritenkirche. The Franciscan church
Hofburg royal palace
After the sightseeing
And when you feel too cold after the comings and goings on the tram, you can pick your company from the Belvedere (or wherever you’ve parked them) and go for hot coffee at the Demel pastry shop.
But beware! If you ask them if they serve coffee with brandy and they say to you natürlich, don’t expect them to bring you coffee with a little brandy inside.
They will bring you a coffee and a brandy and will charge them separately. If you consider that Demel is one of the most famous pastry shops in Europe, you’ll understand why you should NOT order this way.
Be careful of such small pitfalls and holiday in snowy Vienna will be like a fairy tale, as was ours.
About the author
Hello! I am Denis, an architect based in Athens, Greece. I teach history of art and architecture in higher education. That’s one passion of mine. The other one is hiking, in and out of town. If you follow me, I’ll share my discoveries with you.
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