Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Around the Hofburg complex in Vienna

Given that we were unable to visit the Café Central due to the queue of people waiting for a table, we walked on to the Griensteidl instead, another classic Viennese café on Michaelerplatz where we had apple strudel (what else?) and drinks.

Loos House was  on our left as we left the café.

The building which was completed in 1912, is regarded as one of the most important structures built in the 'Wiener Moderne'. It marks the rejection of historicism, as well as the ornaments used by the Wiener Secession. Its appearance shocked Vienna's citizens, since their overall taste was still very much historically oriented. Because of the lack of ornaments on the façade people called it 'the house without eyebrows'.

The simple façade led to attacks against Loos. He had to give in and promised to decorate several façade windows with flower pots.

There is a sharp contrast between the marble-lined façade used at the ground floor and the plain plaster façade of the residential floors above.

Looking closer.

Across Loos house is the Hofburg complex, shaped by hundreds of years of patronage from the royal family and their endless entourage of aristocrats, politicians and wealthy merchants.

With the exception of Belvedere Palace, we did not visit any palaces in Vienna - there's too many, it got too overwhelming and we are not really interested in the conspicuous consumption and the excesses of the rich and privileged.

We did go through the gates however, as our aim was to visit the Volksgarten (the People's Garden).

It's all very grand,

as most of Vienna is.

The Volksgarten is a former royal garden and we spent a pleasant time there.

Unlike the other two gardens/parks we visited, it's very formal

but pretty.

In the middle stands the Temple of Theseus, an exact copy of the Thission in Athens. This was built to house Antonio Canova's Theseus and the Minotaur which was brought to the city by Napoleon. Since 1890, however, this work of art has stood by the main staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. More about this in the next post.

I sat on a bench for a while

and from my bench I could see the Austrian Parliament Building

so after a while I went up to this gorgeous gate to have a look through

The Parliament Building was designed in 1878 by the king of neoclassical architecture, Theophilus Hansen, who pulled out all the stops for this design, basing the style of the enormous porticoes on the Parthenon and covering the pediments in gilded allegorical statues. The sheer quantity of carved marble on display is impressive.

I forget who this is a statue of

We then retraced our steps heading for the city centre

It was a gorgeous day - 21oC and sunny, so the Viennese took advantage of this

the lilac bushes were in bloom

There was some kind of techno event going on and lots of people were sitting around listening to the music

and some people started dancing.

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