During his visits to Vienna in the early noughties, the Monkey was struck again and again by the Austrian capital’s grandiose architecture. Here he shows off further evidence of the old imperial grandeur, while also meeting a local devil.
The Monkey stops for a while in the square in front of Vienna’s bizarre Karlskirche. The church was designed by J. B. Fischer von Erlach, and construction commenced in 1716. The dual 33 meter columns are the most eccentric part of the structure, with spiraling relief sculptures highlighting the life of St. Charles of Borromeo, a leading light in the 16th Century Catholic Counter-Reformation.
The Monkey looks stately as he poses by the Austrian Parliament. In the distance you can see the distinctive spire of the Rathaus, home of Vienna’s municipal government.
Vienna is synonymous with Western classical music, with the city playing host and patron to composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Strauss (Senior and Junior), Brahms, and Schönberg. Among the myriad Viennese concert halls featuring works by these composers and others is the famed Staatsoper, or State Opera House. Built from 1861 to 1869, it was among the first of monumental buildings put up along the Ringstrasse. The theater was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during the Second World War, but its postwar restoration has enabled the Staatsoper to remain a focal point of classical music performance in Europe. In this rather awful photo, the Monkey takes a look at the Staatsoper’s facade.
The Monkey waits for his horse-drawn carriage to arrive under the arches of Vienna’s Opera House.
The Monkey visits Vienna’s famous Christkindlmarkt in the front of the Rathaus. The Christmas market—which takes place for the month before the holiday—is a tourist favorite, but even the Viennese enjoy stopping by for a warm glühwein (mulled wine) to fight the winter chill. The impressive Rathaus is another of the grandiose projects that came of Emperor Franz Josef’s late 19th Century Ringstrasse developments, and is the seat of the city’s municipal government. It owes much of its inspiration to the 16th Century Stadhuis in Brussels.
Der Affe rests on Vienna’s posh pedestrian parade, the Graben (which actually means “Ditches,” a reference to the moats that were originally on this site). The street is lined with many 19th Century buildings, and seems to be a favored place amongst the Viennese for their evening strolls.
In Vienna’s Christmas market, the Monkey encountered these devilish incarnations of Krampus, a sinister counterpart to Saint Nicholas that derives from pre-Christian, Pagan traditions. Krampus is quite celebrated in Austria, with some reports that Viennese adults like to dress up as Krampus and terrorize little Wienerkinder during the holiday season. That said, the Krampuses the Monkey met were much better behaved than Vienna’s ubiquitous cherubs.
The Monkey enjoys some of the refined, fin-de-siécle residential architecture of Vienna’s city center.
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