Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Friday, August 30, 2019

Finishing Up Vienna

Tuesday was my last day in Vienna, and I wanted to spend the day simply wandering around the old part of the city.  Once again I was enchanted by the architectural beauty of this place.

I figured that I had already seen enough churches, but during my wanderings I kept running across more.  I would enter and be astounded.  Is there no end to the baroque splendor of this city?

Here is the Jesuit church...

The "trompe l'oeil" painting on the ceiling makes you think there is a dome where there is none.

A short distance away is the Dominican church...

Soon I had reached the Danube Canal, the northern limit of the Old City.

This is the oldest part of the old.  It was around here that the Romans had founded their settlement of Vindobona.  There are still a few streets that look more medieval than baroque. 

One church that I was searching for was St. Ruprecht's Church.  My former student Meredith mentioned that she had seen it some years ago on her first trip to Europe and was impressed by its antiquity.  This Romanesque structure is the oldest church in Vienna.  Its founding may date back to the 9th century although the building has been rebuilt and altered several times in its history.  The simple exterior and interior are a striking contrast to the grandeur of the city's baroque churches.

A few blocks farther and I had come to the Judenplatz… the Jewish Plaza.  This neighborhood was once the Jewish ghetto in medieval times.

The austere structure in the plaza is the memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.  The memorial stands on the site where the synagogue of medieval Vienna once stood.

I soon reach another square. This one is called the Am Hof.

This lovely building facing the Am Hof served as the armory and then as the headquarters for Vienna's fire brigade.

There are many horse drawn carriages that take tourists on a tour of the old city.  In spite of all the horses, I never saw one bit of dung on the streets.

A street vendor selling fresh fruit.

OK, just one more church.  This one is part of a Benedictine monastery and is called the Scottish Church.  A sign with the church's history explained that the monastery was founded by Irish monks.  In the Middle Ages Ireland was referred to as "Scotia maior"... larger Scotland.  The name Scottish Church or Our Lady of the Scots stuck.  The monastery is the oldest in Vienna, founded in 1155.  Obviously the structure has been much modified since then.


The interior of the church did not disappoint... another baroque masterpiece.

By this time it was time for a break and something to eat, so I went back to Demel, that wonderful pastry shop.  It was a hot day, so I ordered cold chocolate instead of hot, and this time I had TWO pastries... some kind of strawberry confection, and apple strudel.  After all, who knows when I will get back to Vienna, and, besides, I deserved to indulge after walking all morning.

In the afternoon I took the tram to the city park.

At the edge of the park is the Kursalon, a small concert hall where Johann Strauss used to perform with his orchestra.

Nearby in the park is a monument to Johann Strauss, the Waltz King who will forever be identified with Vienna.

It was late afternoon, and I needed to return to my hotel and pack my bags.  Farewell to Vienna.  The next day I was headed to Germany.

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