- VIENNA PART 4a and 5 -

Hofburg and Environs (2)
Stadtpark and Opera

LINKS to pages in the Vienna site and to the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

1 : Schloss Schönbrunn
2 : Vienna City
3 : Churches and Cathedral
4 : Hoffburg and Environs
5 : Statepark and Opera House
6 : Journey to and from Vienna

We can move through the Michaeletor (left and below) into the city centre. Instead we return via the Hofburg courtyards to the Mozart and Goethe Memorials.


Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born in August 28, 1749 and died in March 22, 1832. A memorial statue now stands in the Burggarten. The original statue of Goethe sitting on a bench was unveiled on the 15th of May 1932 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death. Willy Russ of Krásno was its creator. The statue was destroyed during the Second World War. After the war, a stone bearing a plaque, stating that Goethe's statue had been standing there, was installed on the original pedestal. Today's statue of Goethe (below), by the local sculptor Vítezslav Eibl, was placed on the original pedestal and unveiled in 1993.


Mozart memorial statue in the Burggarten (left and below)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart full baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart !!) lived from 27 January 1756 to 5 December 1791 and was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. He composed over six hundred works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most popular of classical composers.

Mozart died at Rauhensteingasse 8 in the heart of the city. The house where he died has long since vanished, and today the site is occupied by Kaufhaus Steffl, one of Vienna’s most well known department stores. It was in this house that he started to compose the famous unfinished Requiem.

The statue is by Viktor Tilgner and dates from 1896.


Statepark and Opera House

During the demolition of the city walls and the creation of the Vienna Ringstraße in its place, the mayor at that time, Andreas Zelinka, promoted the project of creating a public park on the territory.

The park was designed in the style of English gardens by the landscape painter Josef Selleny, while the plans were made by the city gardener Rudolf Siebeck. On 21 August 1862 the park was opened, becoming the first public park in Vienna.


Monument to the composer Anton Bruckner (right).

Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 to 11 October 1896) was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. His symphonies are often considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length.

Bruckner died in Vienna in 1896. He is buried in the crypt of St. Florian monastery church.


The gilded bronze monument of Johann Strauß II, is one of the most known and most frequently photographed monuments in Vienna. It was unveiled to the public on 26 June 1921 and is framed by a marble relief made by Edmund Hellmer. The gilding was removed in 1935 and laid on again only in 1991.

There are several other monuments, e.g. of Franz Schubert, Franz Lehár, Robert Stolz and Hans Makart; the Stadtpark is the park with the largest number of monuments and sculptures in Vienna.


The Karolinenbrücke (Caroline Bridge), which was built over the Wienflußin 1857 (since 1918 it is known as Stadtparkbrücke - City Park Bridge) connects the childrens' park to the Stadtpark proper on the northern side of the river.

After the regulation of the Wienfluss, the whole river area was rebuilt by Friedrich Ohmann and Josef Hackhofer between 1903 and 1907, with a gate through which the river flows plus several pavilions and a restaurant.


The Opera House was the first major building on the Wiener Ringstraße commissioned by the controversial Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the building in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, who lived together in the 6. Bezirk. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style.

The building was, however, not very popular with the public. On the one hand, it did not seem as grand as the Heinrichshof, a private residence which was destroyed in World War II (and replaced in 1955 by the Opernringhof). Moreover because the level of Ringstraße was raised by a metre in front of the opera house after its construction had begun, the latter was likened to "a sunken box" and, in analogy to the military disaster of 1866 (the Battle of Königgrätz), was deprecatingly referred to as "the Königgrätz of architecture".

Van der Nüll committed suicide, and barely ten weeks later Sicardsburg suffered a fatal heart attack so neither architect saw the completion of the building.


Towards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment, which was intended for the Raffinerie in Floridsdorf. The front section, which had been walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, however, destroyed by flames as well as almost the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes.The opening premiere was Don Giovanni, by Mozart, on May 25, 1869.

Lengthy discussions took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be completely demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site. Eventually the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been, and the main restoration experts involved were Ernst Kolb (1948 to 1952) and Udo Illig (1953 to 1956).


And so ends our tour of Vienna.... but it's more than a tramride back to Weyrigg !

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