One of the great things about our program here in Vienna is that we actually go out on the streets and see everything we are learning about. Although the old walls and many of the original buildings are no longer standing, just being able to see where everything once was really puts things into perspective. Suddenly, the history and people we learn about are more present.

On our tour for History we walked behind the Institute and back into some of the smaller, less traveled roads. Our first stop was in a little square where there is a memorial built in the center to the 65,000 people who died in various concentration camps. The names of the concentration camps were all along the base of the memorial. Although the memorial looks just like a plain building, it’s actually covered in stone books which have the bindings turned in rather than out. There is also no key or knob on the doors.

This square is also where the Jewish Museum is and one of the first Jewish ghettos in Vienna.

Many of the buildings around the area look old on the outside, but they are completely new on the inside. The Babenberger’s first residence in Vienna was also supposedly in this area.

Our wanderings took us eventually to Freyung square. Freyung square is named so because it was a sanctuary for anyone fleeing from persecution. If people reached this square they would be safe within its walls. This was because right next to the square is Schottenkirche. Schottenkirche/tift or Scottish Church/Abbey was built by Heinrich II, the first Duke of Austria. He was also called Jasomirgott, because he like to say Ja so mir gott helfe, which means “so help me God” in German. Heinrich asked a group of Irish monks to build the church, but they were confused about the translation of Irish from Latin to German, which looked a lot like the word Schotten, so even though they were Irish, the church was named Scottish Abbey.

The church is the yellow building behind the fountain.

Heinrich II is buried below the church with his wife and daughter. Thanks to our professor we were able to go down into the crypt and see the people buried there. It was quite the process to get down there, with two different doors and we had to turn on the lights ourselves. The quietness of the crypt was unnerving, especially when no one else was there. However, the actual crypt itself was all white and really open.

Many of the caskets were in the main area of the crypt, but Heinrich II’s was down a long dark tunnel and the room a the end was pretty small.

Heinrich’s tomb used to be in the actual church, but he was moved down into the crypt when the church was being reconstructed in the Gothic style and apparently his coffin didn’t work with the new style of the church.

After having a short lesson in the crypt, we headed back up to the main part of the church where there is a museum. This museum is host to the Schotten Altarpiece, which depicts Mary fleeing with Jesus to Egypt. The Altar was really beautiful. It was painted in the Gothic style and in the background of a few of the panels there are some of the first paintings of Vienna.

After our museum we had to run down the street in the pouring rain to get to the U-Bahn.

The following day it was raining again, but we took another trip, this time with our professor for Ethnic Diversity. With her, we traveled to Brunnenmarkt, which is the largest market in Vienna. Brunnenmarkt is in the 16th district of Vienna also known as Ottakring.

It was raining really hard while we were walking the market, so our professor cut the walk short and we headed over to a local restaurant that served Turkish food. It was extremely delicious and very cheap!

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