Text & Layout: Simon Spornberger, Julian Steiner
Founded in 1365 and located on the Ringstrasse since 1884. Being the second-oldest German speaking university in the world, nine Nobel Laureates have spent part of their academic lives here. Also, the main building’s arcade court is one of Ringstrasse’s hidden gems.
When Vienna’s town hall was built, Emperor Franz Joseph I forbade the construction of a tower higher than the nearby Votiv Church, which is 99 meters high. Technically, Architect Friedrich von Schmidt gave in and built a tower of 98 meters. After completion, however, he put a 3.4 meter-high statue on top – today, the so-called “Rathausmann” is an icon of Vienna.
Despite its roots as the official imperial theater of the Habsburg Monarchy, Vienna’s most regarded theater has had an egalitarian tradition that is still alive today. For those who are prepared to stand, tickets at this world-class theater are as cheap as €3,50 ($4.00), and even the most expensive tickets are a relatively modest €61 ($69.30).
Hosting the Austrian National Council and Federal Council, this building is massive in size. On a single control inspection tour, security staff covers a distance of more than 7.45 miles (12km). Every day, the building consumes as much electricity as a single family home would use in seven months.
Die Museen (KHM & NHM)
The museums of natural history and fine arts are two identical buildings located on either side of a square, centered by a statue of Empress Maria Theresia. Together, they create one of the most beautiful spots along the Ringstrasse, a fact that even James Bond is aware of – in the 1987 film Living Daylight, Timothy Dalton passes the museums while taking Maryam d’Abo on a chariot ride through Vienna.
For centuries, this palace used to be the center of the Habsburg Empire. Today, it houses the office of the Austrian president. Allegedly, the Habsburgs intended to build a second half-circled wing mirroring the first one in order to create a massive imperial forum. Unfortunately, money ran out before the project could be completed.
Ironically, the new opera house wasn’t very popular after its completion in 1869. Located next to a huge residential building, the Viennese claimed that it wasn’t monumental enough and did not represent Vienna as a world city of music. Sadly, this caused its architect Eduard van der Nüll to commit suicide. Today, the State 7 Opera is considered a masterpiece of Viennese architecture, featured prominently in Tom Cruise’s latest movie Mission Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation.
World-famous architect Otto Wagner planned this art nouveau building in minute detail. From the floor surfacing to the door handles, everything was designed personally by him. With the interior being under full heritage protection, maintenance has been a challenge. In 2004, for instance, several old-style iron radiators had to be cast in order to replace the broken ones.