It was a monday night, but Ari, Annika and I still decided that it was worth it to go to a concert by Mika. We traveled a long way from the center of the city to a place called the Gasometer. The Gasometer is actually one of four old gas tanks, which the city used to store gas. They were shut down a while ago, but now they are used for student housing, movie theater, shopping, restaurants, and a concert hall.

Our tickets had no seat numbers so we knew we had to arrive early to get a good standing place. We stepped right off the U-Bahn and there was the Gasometer, but the map was really confusing and we spent about a half hour trying to figure out how we could get to the concert hall, which was ground-level. All the elevators inside the building were closed or locked, so eventually we had to make our way back outside until we found the ground floor entrance. By the time we got there the line was long, but nothing that we were worried about.

Once inside we headed straight to the concert hall and stationed ourselves right at the front. Lucky for us there weren’t that many people there yet and we were only two people back from the stage.

*These pictures aren’t the best, because they were taken with my phone, but they do show just how close we were.*

Mika had a backup choir dressed in these horrible polka dot sheets. He said something about the choir only having rehearsed with them once. Sometimes he would look at them and laugh, because they were dressed so ridiculously, but they were having fun dance and acting along with Mika’s crazy performance.

I always worry that the bands I go see won’t be as good live, but so far they haven’t let me down!

The concert was really amazing, and what I liked about it most was the fact that Mika was so informal. He was constantly changing the set list, which probably made his new band a little nervous, but if they made a mistake he would joke around with them. It was really refreshing to see an artist that doesn’t take himself too seriously. He was constantly jumping around stage and dancing like he was just enjoying life and couldn’t care less what people thought.

Annika probably has the best description of him, she called him a “mischievous elf”.

It was a great night and although we were tired the next day it was worth every minute.

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It’s been months since I went to the Imperial Crypt of the Habsburgs, but I returned to it one day with my class. This time I knew a lot more about the different people buried there after learning about basically every Habsburg that was ever important.

The rituals of the Habsburg’s burials were very important. Whenever one of them died, the heart was removed as well as the organs. These are stored in the crypt in St. Stephens. Although, the hearts are placed in different places depending on what each individual Habsburg wanted. They would also drain them of blood and fill their bodies with sawdust or other concoctions, which differed depending on the person who was preparing the body.

There is also a ritual that the body must go through to enter the crypt. First the dead are lead around Ringstraße and taken to St. Stephens where Mass is held. Then the body is transported to the crypt. Outside the many names and titles of the deceased are listed off, but the body is not allowed to enter. Slowly the titles are reduced until it is only the deceased’s name and yet they are still not allowed to enter the crypt. Finally, the name of the deceased is reduced to simply, “a dead man” and they are allowed to enter the crypt and in turn enter death just as they had entered the world.

The sarcophagi are made out of tin and often have to be restored or else they warp. Inside the sarcophagi are wood coffins.

The first part of the crypt is very different from the last half. This is because the coffins in the first half were built during the Baroque period and therefore they are adorned with entire figures made out of tin, while the most recent coffins, in the last part of the crypt, are simpler and made only a few years ago.

The front of Leopold I’s sarcophgus. He was one of the Baroque emperors and was ruler of the Habsburg lands during the 1683 Turkish siege. He spent most of his life fighting, but is said to have been a peace-loving man. The skull and leaves stand for victory over death.

The largest of the sarcophagi is the one for Maria Theresa and her husband Francis Stephen of Lorraine. Maria Theresa is on the left and her husband on the right. They were very much in love and when he died first she would visit him in the crypt until she could no longer walk. Together they had 16 children, probably the best known being Marie Antoinette. Maria Theresa was a very forward thinking ruler and she passed many reforms that benefitted her people.

Just to the right of Maria Theresa is the simple sarcophagus of the nanny who took care of Maria Theresa’s children. She is the only non-Habsburg to be buried in the crypt.

In the background is the sarcophagus of Maria Theresa. In the foreground is the sarcophagus of Joseph II, the son of Maria Theresa. They co-ruled for a time and when Maria Theresa died Joseph took control. He was one of the very first ruler that was truly of the Enlgihtenment and many would say far too ahead of his time.

He was a very practical thinking man. He opened the Prater and Augarten in Vienna to the public, which as you can imagine did not make some of the more wealthy very happy and he abolished torture and serfdom. However, some of his reforms were too drastic for the time. He believed religion should be an individual matter and the church subservient to the state, which was hard for people to understand when the church had always been so involved in their lives. He closed down 700 monasteries, becoming so extreme that the Pope himself visited Vienna to make him stop.

Joseph was also known for creating fake coffins, which had trap doors on the bottom so that the bodies could be dumped in the grave and the coffin reused without anyone knowing. Some believe that it is because of Joseph that Mozart’s body has never been found.

He also built a hospital for the poor in Vienna with a smaller building behind it for the clinically insane. This is the hospital in which I now have my German classes.

Joseph’s sarcophagus is lower than Maria Theresa’s because he was such a practical man and wanted to be at the level of his own people.

Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. Sisi was loved by many, especially Franz Joseph, but she never really loved him back. She spent most of her time traveling. She was a mediator between Austria and Hungary and helped to create the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She was killed by an Italian anarchist on one trip.

Crown Prince Rudolf is to the right of Franz Joseph. He was one of the only Habsburgs to be tutored by someone other than a noble professor. He is said to have died on a hunting accident, but many believe that he killed himself. They also found a mistress dead with him. It is not known if he killed her or if she wanted to die with him, because she loved him so much.

Charles I.

After WW I he was asked to step down and the Habsburg Empire was no more. He was exiled to Switzerland, but always had a dream of coming back to try to reclaim his “rightful” place. His body is not in the crypt because of his exile.

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