Category: Austria


Colors of the Dark

I haven’t posted much since I returned from studying abroad. It was one of those things where you’ve set definite goals in your mind, but then life and school and fun catch up and suddenly a year has gone by.

It’s been a great year though and who would have thought that I would somehow return to Europe so soon, but it happened and I still can’t believe that I’m so fortunate.

I went to France to study wine (living the hard life, I know) and had a wonderful 10 days or so exploring the vineyards and the little town of Beaune.

However, the following are pictures that I took during my only night in Paris. I walked for hours to see all the main sights and attractions, but it wasn’t until the sun set and the street lights came on that Paris truly began to sparkle.

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Until Next Time

Our second to last day in Vienna was spent at a number of exciting places. We started our day at the famous Schönbrunn, which was covered in snow and also holiday cheer. The Christmas market there is one of my favorite. I think the trinkets they sell are the best I’ve seen and the food is delicious. We all shared some potato soup as well as crepes, chocolate waffles and I had some delicious hot chocolate. Never mind that by the end of our time there my feet had frozen off, it was well worth the pain.

One of the fountains in front of Schönbrunn. It was completely frozen.

Frozen Fountain Schönbrunn

I loved returning to Schönbrunn in the snow. I’ve been there through three seasons and I really can’t say which one I like better. If only I could see it in the spring, but I suppose I need to give myself a reason to return!

tunnel

Snow

Schönbrunn Covered in Snow

Empty Road

After warming up a little on the U-Bahn, we headed to Karlskirche. Outside is another Christmas market and also a small petting-zoo, placed where the fountain is in the summer. All the children were having fun jumping around with the goats and ponies.

Karlskirche

Despite having walked past Karlskirche every day, I’ve never actually been inside. Today that changed.

Inside was very different from what I expected. The domed ceiling is mostly covered by a large brown platform and off to the right is an elevator that takes people to the top of the platform. I’m surprised that they would put that inside the church, because it detracted from the overall feeling of the dome and also the beautiful paintings on the ceiling, but on the other hand it was fun to take an elevator up into the roof.

The Altar of Karlskirche

After exiting the elevator there are a flight of metal and woods stairs that can be climbed even further up the dome. As we climbed them, the stairs creaked and wiggled beneath stomping feet. I felt a little nervous about the entire structure, but it was pretty cool at the top, looking down.

stiarcase

Looking down into the church.

Looking Down

I had to show my family St. Stephen’s, so we walked down Kärtnerstraße and wandered around inside the church for a good while.

stephens

That night we went to the Musikverein and saw the Rotterdam Philharmonic perform in the Golden Room. We were towards the back of the room, but seeing the entire stage and audience set out before us was pretty awesome.

The Golden Room: Musikverein

The following day we set out to find the Kirche am Steinhof, which is a church built by Otto Wagner. It’s a popular place to go for Art Nouveau lovers, but it’s not on the map of the city and the actual road to the church could be considered something of a trek.

The effort and time to travel there was well spent. In the white snow, the golden roof was amazing. We were the only people there, which was nice and we even explored the forest behind the church, which seemed to be a park.

Kirche Am Steinhof

Even though I must leave Vienna behind physically, I’ll always remember the amazing time I spent there. The city and the people I met really changed who I am and opened my eyes to new possibilities. I know that I’ll never truly leave Vienna and its culture behind. Even as I sat on a plane destined for the international airport in Paris, I never really felt sad about leaving and I think that’s because I know I’ll return someday. I haven’t seen Vienna for the last time. Someday, I’ll be walking down Kärtnerstraße again, peeking through shop windows, or strolling along the Danube admiring the new graffiti, or sitting outside the Opera and eating a warm meal from one of the food vendors. It’s hard to say goodbye, but it was easy to say, until next time, Vienna.

My parents arrived early in the morning, so we had the entire day to tour the city and I acted as their personal tour guide. Once we checked into our hotel, they helped me carry all my bags from my host mother’s house to the apartment. It was a little sad leaving the room that I had stayed in for about four months, but at the same time I was ready to leave and have some change in my routine.

Afterwards we headed down to the first district and I showed them the Rathaus with its amazing Christmas Market, it was extremely cold and snowing, so we didn’t want to hang out too long. Just a few days before my family arrived the temperature dropped to freezing and it has been that way ever since, sometimes even getting below freezing, which is pretty with the snow in the streets, but makes for a cold tour of the city.

I also showed them Parliament, Hofburg, and the National Library. We took a tour of the famous Spanish Riding School, which is host to the Lipizzan stallions. They are all white, because the emperor wanted them all to look the same, so they are bred that way. However, the school likes to have one Bay horse, because it is considered good luck.

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The next day was museum day. To get to the first museum we headed out towards the south train station. The Belvedere is on the way, so we stopped to see the palace grounds covered in snow. There is also a Christmas Market outside the Belvedere.

*as an early Christmas present my parents bought me a fisheye lens, which is why the following photos are used with that lens =)

The ponds and fountains surrounding the Belvedere were frozen and the gardens were covered in snow.

Belvedere

Just a few blocks from Belvedere is the HGM (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum), which is a museum about the major wars fought in and around Austria. This includes the Turkish Sieges of Vienna, WW I, and WW II. It is probably one of my favorite museums here in Vienna. The amount of historic artifacts they have is impressive. Inside are a number of different weapons, armor, and other items of significance from influential people in history.

The stairway leading up to the second floor of the museum. The museum itself is a work of art.

The Staircase of the HGM

Weapons of WW II

Hot Air Balloon

The car below belonged to Franz Ferdinand, who was a Habsburg, the next in line under Franz Josef. However, he was assassinated in Sarajevo and because of this Franz Josef declared war. It was to be the beginning of the Great War. On the car are the bullet holes that missed Franz Ferdinand. In the room is also the couch where he died and the suit he died in. His suit had a small hole where the bullet hit.

Franz Ferdinand's Car

Next we headed to the Natural History Museum, which is right across from the Art History Museum. It hosts a number of different animals, minerals, meteors, and dinosaur bones.

The entrance.

Natural History Entrance

The ceiling of the museum.

Natural History Ceiling

Vulture

Giant Bird

Pre-Historic Dinosaur

Pre-Historic Dino

The Christmas market on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Art History and Natural History.

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Winter Lights

Christmas is just around the corner, which means that the lights go up (as well as the electricity bill) in all the homes and around the city. Over the past few weeks the busy streets of Vienna have started to sparkle. The Christmas markets, called Weihnachtsmarktes in German have also popped up everywhere.

The lights on Kärtnerstraße heading away from the center of the city.

Kärtnerstraße2

Kärtnerstraße

Lights on Kärtnerstraße heading towards the Opera House. This is one of the popular shopping streets.

Shopping

A random street.

I like these the most. It looks like it is raining light.

Snowing Lights

Schönbrunn has a Christmas market out front. Every night the building is lit as well as the Christmas tree in front. This is probably my favorite market so far. It’s touristy, but there aren’t too many people, plus the giant palace in the back just adds to the beauty.

Schönbrunn

Schönbrunn Christmas Tree

Chandeliers hang from the buildings along the Graben. Both Kärtnerstraße and the Graben were flocking with tourists and Christmas shoppers. It’s worth seeing the lights, but be prepared to do some ducking and dodging.

Graben

The Rathaus. Probably the most crowded place in Vienna at night. This is one of the bigger Christmas markets and it is always packed with people, to the point where it’s almost impossible to move between the Christmas stalls.

Rathaus

An ornament stall at the Rathaus. There are toys, candy, chocolate, ornaments, classic Austrian foods, and of course the famous Glühwein (mulled wine) and punsch (flavored schnapps)!

Ornament Stall

Lights

St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen's

A giant Christmas tree of lights by Schottenring.

X-mas Tree

Even the grocery stores are covered with lights!

Billa

Day 115-120: Final week of the Semester

Our last week of classes in Vienna.

The best part was probably our presentation in German class. Annika, Addison and I gave a presentation on the Oregon Trail in our class. It was a great experience, not only because the other students had a fun time with it, but also because I could really tell how much my German had improved. Speaking in front of any group of people isn’t a strong point of mine, but when I stood up to present my part, somehow everything just went smoothly. I was able to just talk and everyone understood me. I made a lot of mistakes, but it doesn’t matter. I gave an entire presentation in German and it felt really good!

To sum up the entire week, we had four tests, two ten-page essays and two presentations, but everyone made it and came out alive.

Our last final passed quickly and as we celebrated inside the Institute, snow began falling from the clouds. We all went outside with a skip in our step and took pictures in the snow. It was a really surreal moment, standing in front of the Opera House, covered in snow. I’m really glad that we were able to see snow before we left Europe.

Snow and Me

After getting everyone’s bags to the airport for early check-in, we headed to Vapiano’s (one of our favorite restaurants here) and had one last dinner together. Then we went to Flanagan’s (an Irish pub) to meet Eugene (if you remember he was with us in Dorfgastein). We talked about our time in Vienna with him and he shared some of the highs of his own study abroad experience.

Even though I’m staying in Europe a little longer, the end of my classes is still sad. It means that my semester abroad is over and soon I will have to return to reality. However, I’m ready more than ever to face what is to come. I feel like it can only get better from here on out. Before coming to Vienna, I could never really imagined myself in Europe. I couldn’t even picture myself there when I tried, but now I know that it’s more than possible. I know that one day I will return to Vienna. It’s become a part of me that I don’t want to forget and the friends I’ve made here and the places I’ve been, will always have a special spot in my heart.

** I actually wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but never actually had time to post it.**

Wow, it seems really strange to be typing 101 up in the title. I can’t believe it’s been over 100 days since I arrived in Vienna. I feel like 100 days is not really long, but I’ve done so much in 100 days, that I don’t think I would remember it all if it weren’t for this blog.

Everyone is starting to get restless now. We have less than two weeks left before the end of the term. Our last week will be filled with finals and then everyone is off to the airport. However, I will be going to the airport not to leave, but to pick up my family! I can’t wait to see them and show them everything I’ve come to love about Vienna.

For class we headed to the Upper Belvedere, which is host to a large number of Gustav Klimt pieces. Klimt is one of the more famous artists from Vienna. In the Belvedere is one of his most loved pieces “The Kiss”. It was a really great exhibit over Klimt, because it went through his style change, from more realistic paintings to painting in gold and 2D, to painting garden scenes.

We were also given the opportunity to visit the U.S. Embassy. The security, as you can probably imagine, was really strict, but the meeting we had with one of the ambassadors was really informal. It was a nice insight into the tasks and jobs an ambassador has in other countries.

That week was also my 21st birthday, but it was on a Wednesday so we didn’t really do anything. My host mom was really sweet though, and when I got home from class she made me dinner, we had cake and then she gave me presents. I didn’t have enough room to pack a lot of things when I came here, so I left out gloves and a hat. My host mom would always complain and say I was going to freeze to death, so she got me a hat, scarf and gloves for my birthday.

That weekend, I was thrown a surprise birthday party! We went to a weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), between two of the larger museums in Vienna, and wandered around, then they took me to a Austrian restaurant and we all had traditional Austrian dishes. Lastly, we went to the movie theater and watched Perks of Being A Wallflower. We didn’t want to go home after the movie so we found this cocktail bar called New Yorker and had drinks. It played all the old movie soundtracks like the James Bond and at one point the Mission Impossible theme. We all felt like secret agents sitting in a smoky (people are allowed to smoke inside in Austria) and dark cocktail bar. It was a really great night and I couldn’t have asked for more!

Thursday was also Thanksgiving, for which the Institute hosted a traditional American dinner for us at the restaurant 1516. Some of our professors came, friends from the Institute, and also our speaking assistants. The food was actually pretty good, although there was a strange grey-looking mushroom dish that no one touched.

Annika, Ari and I also traveled to the United Nations. It was the third one built after the New York and Geneva buildings. The UN in Vienna has many jobs, but one of the most important is probably its regulation of Atomic Energy. The tour was really amazing. Our tour guide told us a lot of the reasons that a UN is good, but she also talked about why it doesn’t always work and the problems that it faces. It was a good two-sided tour.

This week has been really hectic, but we are all starting to feel the pressure of time. There’s still so much to do, but just not enough time to do it. However, we have all agreed that our time here hasn’t gone to waste!

The weekend before finals Annika and I walked down the Danube Canal, which is right by my house. It’s a really nice path that basically follows the river through the city. The sides are always covered in graffiti, but I think it adds character.

Along the Danube

We visited Christine’s (one of our speaking partner) horse, he was really cute and she let us sit on him for a photo op.

Horse

After meeting Christine’s horse we took a long walk in the woods. We were in one of the towns just outside Vienna and the woods were really beautiful. Christine had her dog Jack there. He loved to run ahead of us and jump in the creek that ran alongside the trail.

Jack

Fall Leaves

Day 98: Budapest

One weekend we decided it was time to make a final trip together before the end of the semester. Budapest was our destination, only about three hours away by train. Therefore, we made day plans to leave Vienna early in the morning and return the same day. Although one day in Budapest was not enough to get to know the city very well it was a great break from all the work and stress that had been building up.

Like many of the cities we’ve been to, the train station was nowhere near the main attractions of the city, so once we oriented ourselves we set out towards the Buda Castle, which was on the other side of the Danube.

Heading away from the station, towards the Danube.

It might have just been the time that we visited, but the city was quiet. I know Budapest is a really popular city to travel to, but most of the city seemed empty and even the main tourist attractions weren’t very crowded.

 There are a lot of bridges crossing the Danube, the one below is the only white bridge and it looks somewhat out of place and too modern in such an old city.

Making our way across the bridge.

The Hungarian Flag

Directly across from the bridge was a cliff face that had stairs and paths built into it. At the top was a large statue and a nice view of the city.

Up on the hill is the castle and just on the right side of the river is another domed building which is the Parliament building. Budapest used to be the second most important city behind the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The empire was split into two parts with different governing bodies, but Franz Joseph was still technically King of Hungary as well as Emperor of Austria. In terms of defense and international affairs Franz Joseph’s law ruled supreme.

Budapest

We made our way slowly to the castle, which was just open to the public. I’m not really sure what the castle is used for, but it was a nice place to wander around.

A small side entrance to the castle that we took.

Buda Castle

Just a bird friend that we made. They were everywhere and not at all afraid of people.

Bird

We headed out the back side of the castle and came to a small street with carts selling trinkets. This area had some more tourist activities, including archery. I had never tried archery before so of course I had to do it! I completely failed to launch the arrow on my first try. I let go of the string and the arrow just fell to the ground, but then Ari gave me a few pointers and I hit the target twice! It was fun and I definitely want to try it again.

After that we headed down a cute road full of restaurants and shops. This street reminded me a lot of the Golden Lane in Prague, although the houses were a lot larger. Eventually we came to Matthias Church, which had one of the more colorful roofs I’ve seen on a church. This church is up on the hill and looks out along the river.

Matthias Church

Just behind the church is Fisherman’s Bastion. It stands right on the top of the hill overlooking the river and was probably the only place that we went in Budapest that was a little crowded. I really like this place, because it was similar to a maze. Each tower has multiple twirling staircase and underneath each section are small hallways that people can walk through and look out towards Parliament.

Fisherman's Bastion2

Parlament from Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion

After taking a copious amount of photos, we got hungry and went to one of the restaurants along the road. It was really cheap and like a buffet style. Since we had been on the train for a good while and then exploring the city, it was around three when we actually had lunch and by that time it was already getting a little dark out. Therefore, we decided to head towards the riverfront to make sure that we could get pictures of Parliament at night.

Fisherman’s Bastion from below with the church rising behind it.

Fisherman's Bastion 3

The view of Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion.

Parlament Day

The church with the sun setting.

Sunset

The lights decorating Parliament didn’t turn on for some time, so while the sun set we sat next to the water and watched the cars rush by. Finally, the lights slowly came on. It is a really beautiful building at night.

Parlament

It was getting late and we still needed to catch our train, so we headed back to the first bridge we could find.

The sidewalk, heading back to the train station.

The Dark Walk Back

Chain Bridge. This is the one that’s famous and has the lion statues on either end.

Chain Bridge at Night

We had a little extra time and wanted to see St. Stephan’s Basilica at night. It was very impressive to walk up to. It was the only building that was lit up and the square in front of it was mostly empty.

St. Stephans Basilika Budapest

I think that Budapest is one of the more beautiful cities I’ve seen at night. The way they light up the bridges it just amazing. I’m glad we got to see it in contrast to Vienna. Both were influenced by the Habsburg monarchy, but in very different ways.

Day 92: Burghausen

The next day Manuela decided to take us out of Braunau and over to Burghausen, which is a small town in Germany that is also host to the longest castle in Europe. The ride was only about 20 minutes. We were all excited to be in a car for the first time in three months and the winding country roads reminded us all of home.

We made a quick stop along the road to look at the view. This is where the rivers Inn and Salzach meet.

Before actually crossing the border to Germany we stopped at a lookout point. From this vantage point we could see the entire town of Burghausen and the medieval castle, Burg zu Burghausen. It is situated on the banks of the Salzach, which also separates Austria from Germany.

The entire castle is 1,043 m or about 3,422 feet. The actual castle sits atop a hill overlooking the rest of the town nestled below. The entire castle starts from the very right hand side of the picture below and goes until the cluster of buildings on the left side.

Inside the castle we parked the car and got out to walk. Much of the castle is actually used for housing. The entire thing seemed more like a little town in itself rather than a castle. It was very long, but not at all very wide. There was only one row of buildings on each side. Some of them were homes, but others were restaurants, museums and shops.

Manuela told us that every year there is a celebration and people dress as knights and ride horses around on the castle grounds.

The path to the castle.

An example of the cute homes in the castle.

My favorite part of the castle was the red roofs. Each building was topped by a cone and bright red tiles.

The walls surrounding the castle had a number of holes in them for shooting arrows at approaching enemies.

The garden path, which runs along the outside of the courtyard.

There were still a few last roses clinging to the side of the castle walls. They reminded me of all the stories of beautiful princesses and daring princes I read as a kid.

To get to the castle we walked trough the center of the town, but on the way back we walked along the outside of the walls and then stopped at one of the restaurants to warm ourselves up. This particular restaurant played some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time, from “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham! to “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham. The restaurant was definitely stuck in the 80’s.

Our former German assistant, Manuela, lives in Austria, so we decided to visit her since we are so close. She lives in Braunau am Inn, which most people probably know as the birthplace of Hitler, but it is something that the town obviously doesn’t want to advertise and it’s not a good reason to go and visit the town. What people should visit Braunau to see is its homeliness, small-town feeling and to see how the average person lives in Austria.

The town is called Braunau am Inn, because am Inn, means “on the Inn River”, which runs right next to Braunau and separates it from Germany.

When we arrived Manuela was working, so we walked from the train station to the main part of town, which amounted to about a ten minute walk. Stepping off the train and breathing in fresh country air was really relaxing. Everything seemed so quiet and peaceful compared to the city.

When we arrived at the main street, called Stadplatz, we were surrounded by colorful, cute buildings and shops. There was hardly anyone on the street so we sat at a bench and just enjoyed the sun.

Once her work was finished, Manuela met us and then proceeded to give us a tour of the town.

Braunau is right on the border of Germany, so of course we had to make our way over to Germany just for the fun of it. We crossed the bridge between Germany and Austria and ended up in the small town of Simbach.

Manuela told us about this statue in Simbach, which is placed right at the end of the bridge when entering Germany. It is a man riding a fish. Originally the man was completely naked, but the residents of Braunau found it offensive to have a naked man’s behind pointed at their lovely home, so they made the artist cover the figure. I’m not really sure if it helped, since it still pretty much looked like he was naked from where we stood, but the people of Braunau seem to be satisfied.

Braunau was founded in 1260 and used to be surrounded by a wall. However, there is only a small portion of this wall left.

Part of the old wall close to the Inn.

Directly next to the wall is a small walking path that cuts through the forest.

We were then lead to the Church of St. Stephan’s, which is one of the main churches in the town. On the outside of the church is a carving of one of the old town leaders Hans Staininger, or as many know him, “the man with the very long beard”. He did indeed have a very long beard, but it was his beard that eventually killed him. One day he forgot to tuck his beard in his pocket while going down the stairs and he tripped and fell, breaking his neck. Perhaps such a long beard was not the best of ideas, but it sure made him look awesome.

Inside the church.

These particular seats have rounded edges that stick out. This was originally used to keep people from falling out of their seat if they fell asleep while at church. When someone would fall asleep they could slump forward, but the arms of the chairs would catch them and keep them mostly upright.

There is a small park in Braunau dedicated to Johann Philipp Palm. He was a bookseller, but he wrote some things that Napoleon didn’t like and so Palm was imprisoned and then executed for his writings.

While walking through town, we came to the Painters’ Quarter. It’s called this because many artists love to come to this spot and paint the many different rooftops. Addision, Ari, Annika and I all had our cameras out and were taking a million pictures. The old men in my photo were watching us. We were probably the only tourists in the entire town.

We stopped at Hitler’s birth house, but it wasn’t really anything special and looked like any normal building. There is a memorial out front, which I thought was a nice, but subtle way of working with the house without making the house itself into something. The stone of the memorial is made out of granite from the former concentration camp, Mauthausen.

Next we arrived at one of the town towers. It is the only tower still remaining of the original five. It is the town’s oldest building and was built during the time that the town was founded.

After our tour we headed to Manuela’s family house for lunch. Her mother had made us pumpkin soup, which is very popular in Austria. After having lunch we were taught how to make apple strudel. It’s actually really simple and fun to make. First we made the dough and then we began cutting the apples. Manuela’s mother was super fast! She had already done five, while I was still working on one. I have to admit cutting apples is not my forte. Out of all the apples below I probably got through three before they were all finished, but I didn’t cut myself!

After cutting the apples we rolled out the dough, placed the apples inside, added two types of sugar and raisins and then rolled it all together. It took maybe a half hour to cook and then we added vanilla sauce and ice cream! It was the best apple strudel I’ve had so far!

While waiting for the strudel to cook we went outside and fed Manuela’s chickens. Only two of them were old enough to produce eggs, the rest were still too young. They tried to escape when we entered the pen, but once they saw that we had food, we were the center of attention. Manuela told us that they left them out everyday and they wandered the town, eventually coming back in the afternoon for shelter and food.

We said fairwell to Manula’s mother and then headed over to Manuela’s house where she lives with her fiancé. It was a nice little home, with just enough room for us all to sleep in the main living room. She introduced us to her rabbit, which Addison fell in love with and we took a break until heading over to dinner and the movie theater to watch Skyfall in German.

Skyfall was great, even when I couldn’t understand half of it, but it was really strange to listen to a well-known actor like Daniel Craig and hearing the wrong voice. My host mother told me that people here hardly ever hear the real voice of the actors, because they always get the same people to dub the same actors. It makes sense, but it was something I never thought of before.

We went to the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek or Austrian National Library one day for class. This is the library that resides in one section of the Hofburg Palace. Part of it is very old and only used as a museum of sorts, but the rest is used by people in Vienna for their research.

It was like a library from out of my dreams, with shelves full of books going all the way to the ceiling, spiral staircases and secret rooms full of even more books!

The National Library was built in the Baroque style and by Charles VI, the last Habsburg man and father of Maria Theresa. He created a rule called the Pragmatic Sanction that allowed Maria Theresa to take his place, because he could not produce any male heirs. After his death the Habsburgs become Habsburg-Lorraine.

The bookshelves were so high that ladders are needed to reach the top.

The books are so old that the pages have turned dark brown. Everything is hand printed and many of them have beautiful illustrations with the boldest colors I’ve ever seen. We were lucky enough to have our professor there who knew one of the tour guides personally, so we got to see some of the books close up. The covers are also made out of wood.

There were secret rooms all throughout the library. They are not actually supposed to hide anything though.The room was built in an oval shape, but the building itself is square so they had extra nooks to fill in.

The ceiling at the entrance to the library.

The domed ceiling of the central part of the library.

A statue of Charles VI, which stands in the middle of the library.

After we looked around the old library our guide took us underneath the Hofburg to reach the new section of the library. I felt very official walking through all the secret underground tunnels and using the non-public elevator.

We walked by the ventilation system for the library, which is underneath a garden.

The never ending archive room.

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I have two ten-page papers due at the end of my semester. One of them is about the Turkish sieges on Vienna, but the other one is on Art Nouveau and specifically the Art Nouveau movement in Vienna. Since I’m right in the middle of one of the most artistic cities in Europe it was easy for me to simply walk outside and do my research through sightseeing.

The Art Nouveau movement in Vienna was specifically called the Secession, because a group of artists left the Künstlerhaus. They believed it was too restricting. In this group was Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich and most famous of all Gustav Klimt. Later Otto Wagner would join the movement a little later, but he was also a large player in the movement. 

The first place I visited was the Karlsplatz station, which was built by Otto Wagner. He is responsible for a lot of different buildings in Vienna and he also worked on the Ringstraße.

Karlsplatz is one of the larger U-Bahn stations in Vienna. This particular exit is not used too often, but it is really beautiful and probably the most artistic of the Karlsplatz stations. Its name comes from the Karlskirche (Charles Church), which is only about two minutes from here.

Gold, nature and swirling patterns some basic themes in Art Nouveau.

This actually looks like the front, but it is the back of the station. No one can exit through these doors from the U-Bahn.

Detail on the station.

One of the doors. I love the attention to detail. Its simple yet beautiful.

Next I headed over the the Secession building, which was built by Joseph Maria Olbrich. At one point in his life Olbrich worked under Wagner and many of his buildings are similar to Wagner’s own work. Olbrich built the Secession building specifically so that the artists had a place to exhibit their work. Today it still hosts exhibits and has one of Gustav Klimt’s famous works, the Beethoven Frieze.

The Secession building.

Many people hated it when it was first build, because of the golden ball on top. They called it a cabbage or a furnace. Personally, I think it looks cool on its own, but I was surprised by it the first time I saw it, because it doesn’t look like anything else in the area.

Olbrich built this building as a “temple to art” so the entrance is very ceremonial, but inside the building is completely white and plain. This was because the Secessionists believed in functionality over form.

The three heads over the doorway. They are the three Gorgons, representing painting, architecture and sculpture, which are the arts that the Secessionists mastered in.

Above the Gorgons are the words of the Secessionist’s motto, Der Zeit Ihre Kunst, Der Kunst Ihre Freiheit.

To Every Age Its Art, To Art Its Freedom

The side of the building.

Owls on the side of the Secession.