The 13th Annual AAWE Conference 2019 will be held in Vienna, Austria
July 14 – 18, 2019
VIENNA is the federal capital, and the smallest of Austria’s nine provinces. It is located in the heart of Europe, stretching from the banks of the Danube to the north-easternmost foothills of the Pre-Alps.
FACTS & FIGURES
The city center (Stephansplatz) is 171 meters above sea level. The highest point is Hermannskogel (543 meters), the lowest is in the Lobau (151 meters). Vienna’s climate is temperate with continental and oceanic influences. In 2016 the average air temperature was 11.5°C (higest temperature 33.7°C, lowest temperature -9.6°C) and precipitation was 732 mm/year.
The Austrian capital has always been an interface between different cultures, and marks the spot where ancient transport routes, the Amber Road and the Danube intersect. Archaeological finds go back to the Paleolithic era. Vienna’s history as a settlement dates back to Roman times and the establishment of a military camp and civilian settlement called Vindobona on the site of what is now the historic city center. In 1156 Vienna became the ducal seat of the Babenberg family, and under the Habsburg dynasty the city served as the imperial capital and residence for over 600 years. The capital of culture and music’s historic old town was named a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.
The metropolitan area is divided into 23 districts, covering around 415 km², and is home to around 1.8 million people (the sixth largest city in the EU).
Austria joined the EU in 1995 and is a signatory of the Schengen Convention. The national currency is the euro and German is the official language. Austria is in the Central European Time Zone (GMT +1), and in summer (from 2am on the last Sunday in March to 3am on the last Sunday in October) it switches to Central European Summer Time (GMT +2).
In 2018 Vienna was named the world’s most livable city for the ninth time in a row by Mercer. Each year the international consultants conduct a quality of life survey in 231 major towns and cities worldwide. Criteria include the political, social and economic climate, medical services, education and infrastructure facilities including public transportation, power and water utilities. Leisure facilities such as restaurants, theaters, cinemas, sports facilities, availability of consumer goods ranging from food to automobiles, and environmental factors including green space and air quality are also taken into consideration.
About half of the city’s total area is accounted for by gardens, parks, woods and agricultural land. 39 percent of all journeys in the city are by public transport – a European record. Vienna is also the only major capital with a significant winegrowing industry within the city limits. Vienna is not just a federal province and capital city, it is also a winegrowing region in its own right with 660 hectares of land under vines (about 80 percent white wine varieties).
Vienna’s Restaurant Scene
Click here for a list with adresses of restaurants
With a strong, well-established and creative mainstream dining culture, avant-garde and haute cuisine face some pretty stiff competition in Vienna – but they are alive and well, spearheaded by Steirereck, widely recognized as the best restaurant in Austria. The UK’s Restaurant Magazine 2018 ranks it the 14th best restaurant in the world. Starting life more than 40 years ago as a corner tavern, over the decades Steirereck has gone from strength to strength, living through nouvelle cuisine before becoming one of the pioneers of the new regional focus in culinary innovation, under Heinz Reitbauer senior. Since the restaurant moved to its current location in Stadtpark, Heinz Reitbauer junior has developed a thoroughly unique brand of cookery that showcases unusual vegetables and herbs to create astonishing flavors.
Young chef Silvio Nickol has also enjoyed success at the restaurant in the Palais Coburg luxury hotel with his creative, meticulous Franco-Viennese cuisine, as has Walter Bauer in his tiny gourmet paradise under centuries-old vaulted ceilings. Markus Mraz continues to break boundaries with his avant-garde creations, and Konstantin Filippou serves some of the most modern and elaborate cuisine in the country at his simply-decorated yet elegant restaurant in a quieter part of the first district. Run by Christian Petz – Witzigmann protégé, culinary visionary, haute cuisine dropout and critic – no one should miss the Mediterranean, Viennese and French-inspired fusion cuisine at Petz im Gusshaus.
Viennese cuisine is not the only style of cookery on the menu in the Austrian capital – a lively international restaurant scene is full of culinary traditions that have their own distinctive identity, or are too exotic to be subsumed into the broader church of Viennese cuisine. Italian food is far and away the most popular foreign food among the Viennese. Over 500 restaurants in Vienna serve up the powerful flavors and delightfully uncomplicated classics of Italian fare: from simple panini and Friulian delicacies in Cantina Osteria Friulana, to an Italian meal of several courses in the exclusive Fabios.
Just as surprising is the slow but steady progress made by French cuisine, which had until recently found it surprisingly difficult to gain a foothold. Choice examples are the high quality brasserie food served at Le Salzgries, and the more down-to-earth bistro dishes at Beaulieu. In contrast, the Asian restaurant scene is thriving. ON, ON Market, Chinabar an der Wien and Goldene Zeiten all showcase the endless diversity of Chinese regional cookery. An astonishing variety of Japanese cuisine and cookery approaches can be found at the refined Unkai in the Grand Hotel, hypermodern Shiki, hip urban restaurant Mochi and its larger offshoot Klon Iki in the new Belvedere quarter close to the Main Station (Hauptbahnhof), Karma Ramen and Sakai. But it’s the Vietnamese restaurant scene that is truly buzzing at the moment. The best are Pho Sai Gon, Good Morning Vietnam, Le Viet and Vietthao.
And there is a huge diversity of other options too: Israeli cuisine at Neni and a branch of Miznon opened by star Tel Aviv-based chef Eyal Shani, Indonesian, Nepalese, Tibetan, Caribbean, Georgian, Polish, Bulgarian, Kurdish, and Afghan cuisine – there have even been Uyghur and Kyrgyz restaurants in Vienna.
THE CITY'S PALATE
Vienna’s café and restaurant scene is the city’s palate and a sounding board for the latest trends – which it does not always react to immediately, but perhaps more reliably for taking its time. Sustainability is used as an umbrella term to describe the seemingly irresistible trend towards consumers making more conscious and ethical choices. In a city like Vienna, where it seems that the focus is first and foremost on enjoyment, it might sound contradictory to talk about sustainability – but that is far from the case.
Motto am Fluss, for example, is one of the hippest and most talked-about places in the whole city. At this fashionable restaurant located right on the Danube Canal, with a sun terrace and attached café, all of the food served is made using almost exclusively organic ingredients. At Gustl kocht everything is 100% organic. At Manameierei, a highly popular breakfast joint in a picture-postcard location on the fringes of the Vienna Woods, the majority of products come from the local area. The concept café by Vienna’s trendiest bakery, Joseph, focuses on organic and regional slow food products. And regional products and producers are at the heart of the elegant contemporary cuisine available at the Brasserie & Bakery in The Guesthouse hotel, designed by Sir Terence Conran. Meanwhile, Heuer am Karlsplatz is all about getting the best out of the ingredients available, a number of which are in fact grown in raised beds directly outside the restaurant.
Change and modernization are also afoot in the world of confectionery and sweet dishes, even though people long believed that the Bohemian desserts perfected in Vienna could never be improved on. A new generation is putting a twist on the classics. Joseph Bistro works almost exclusively with Austrian products, baking tarts with mirabelle plums rather than lemons. Ice cream flavored with mountain herbs or lychee, rose and raspberry can be found at Gregors Konditorei, and made using organic milk and elderflower, asparagus, or goat’s cheese at Eis-Greissler, completely free of artificial preservatives or coloring. And at Veganista, two young women are proving that it is possible to make fantastic ice cream without milk or cream – with no little success. Queuing up outside the attractive ice cream parlors is still an inevitability, even though there are five of them in Vienna these days.
Modern, pioneering ideas have the potential to make people sit up and pay attention, and in many cases have proved to be the inspiration behind some of the capital’s most popular culinary hotspots – of which there are certainly plenty. This keeps the whole city guessing where the next one will pop up. The Naschmarkt’s famous atmosphere, combined with its attractive mix of Art Nouveau market buildings and contemporary bars and cafés is no longer a secret. And Yppenplatz in Ottakring, originally a much more alternative destination, has become well known to the mainstream eating and drinking public with its many wine bars, restaurants and cafés. Opened in 2001, MuseumsQuartier is not only one of the ten biggest cultural centers in the world – it’s also a large hub for events and restaurants, and combined with the neighboring Spittelberg area is considered Vienna’s biggest sidewalk café. The Karmelitermarkt in the traditionally Jewish heart of the second district is another great location, especially at the weekend.
But what’s next? Where in the city will the next wave of hip eateries spring up? One hot favorite is the new business university campus next to the Messe Wien convention center, where eight new designer cafés and restaurants opened in the space of just one week in fall 2013. The quiet streets of Margareten, Vienna’s fifth district, which until now have lived in the shadow of the Naschmarkt and the established scene surrounding Freihausgasse, are also a possibility. Vorgartenmarkt in the second district, is clearly blossoming, as is the Meidlinger Markt in the twelfth. The winds of change clearly seem to be blowing in the hitherto less salubrious part of town around Reindorfgasse and Schwendermarkt in the fifteenth district (Fünfhaus). Mariahilfer Strasse, Vienna’s longest shopping street located directly between the lively sixth and seventh districts, has an extended pedestrian zone that is starting redefining the local bar and restaurant scene – as a barometer of evolving culinary trends.
Right across the city a new trend is making waves: breakfast. The number of cool breakfast cafés has grown exponentially in recent years, with the pace of growth so fast that people might ask whether the Viennese had simply opted to skip the most important meal of the day before they started springing up. Of course that isn’t true, but eating out for breakfast is the in thing to do right now, with delicacies like eggs benedict, homemade wild berry jam, organic yoghurt and fair trade coffee all on the menu.
Breakfast at Meierei im Stadtpark, attached to Steirereck, is so popular that a reservation is essential. Space can also be tight in the Bakery at the hip Hotel Daniel, fashionable Ulrich on Spittelberg as well as the stunning Palm House in the Burggarten. Thanks to its central location and fantastic service, the Guesthouse Brasserie & Bakery has also quickly become a very popular breakfast venue. Vienna coffeehouse doyens Querfeld operate a beautiful pavilion in Schönbrunn Palace gardens and as a brunch location by the name of Jausenstation. The delicacies on offer at Ansari include a traditional Georgian breakfast. The Salonplafond restaurant at the MAK has gone all out to make the first meal of the day the best meal of the day. Even restaurants that until now have been regarded as evening hotspots, like upscale Italian Fabios, have started serving elaborate city breakfasts.
Obviously there might not be much time left for lunch after such a leisurely breakfast, but Vienna has plenty of great options for those in search of a quick snack. Top of the list are the city’s legendary sausage stands, a Viennese institution and the places to sample a “Heisser” – a hot Burenwurst or Klobasse (similar to a Polish sausage), or a slice of Leberkäse – a kind of baked bologna meat loaf – enjoy a pair of frankfurters (the name Viennese give Wiener sausages), or of course savor the incomparable Käsekrainer, a sausage stuffed with cheese. The city center still boasts the greatest concentration of sausage stands, and a large number of kebab stands have also sprung up in recent years.
Another option is to pick up some classic open sandwiches from Trzesniewski – traditional Viennese take-away. Or try one of the fabulous sandwiches at Schwarzen Kameel: their display cabinet offers 20 different varieties, and the line of people waiting can get very long around midday. Anyone that prefers Italian should head to the hip Pizzeria Disco Volante for original Neapolitan pizza, or to 1500 Foodmakers for dishes with a more Italian-American twist. Wulfisch serves fish rolls just like they do in Hamburg, and at Verde 1080 guests can pick up the best take-away burger in the city – to enjoy with one of 400 specially selected beers from microbreweries around the world. Bao Bar specializes in Korean-style filled rolls made from yeast dough, Schachtelwirt cooks up traditional Viennese cuisine (also suitable for takeaway customers) fresh each day, while Chinese crêpes top the billing at Yong Streetfood. Gorilla Kitchen sells delicious burritos, ultra-cool o.m.k has the city’s best takeaway sushi, Hildegard Wurst specializes in New York style hot dogs, the gourmet sandwiches at Marco Simoni’s Bastei wouldn’t be out of place in Paris. Old Quarter and Bánh mi Vienna both offer overflowing Vietnamese sandwiches worthy of Ho-Chi-Minh city, while and Cin Buffet’s panini could hold their own in Rome.
So there is lots to eat in Vienna – but more than enough to drink too: a glass of good wine is a quintessential part of the Viennese lifestyle. Great quality and a good selection await in absolutely every bar, café and restaurant. The Wein & Co Bar presents an especially broad selection, while wine bar Unger und Klein has a special atmosphere, as does their branch, glazed floor-to-ceiling, in the entrance area of the Hochhaus on Herrengasse in the first district. Visitors can enjoy a drink as they soak up a fabulous view of the city on the top floor of the 25hours hotel, or alternatively the Bloom terrace bar at Hotel Lamée. At young hip wine bars MAST, Heunisch & Erben and O Boufés serve currently in-demand natural wines with appetisers and snacks. Generally speaking, a decent glass of wine awaits around virtually every corner and in every bar in the city. The craft beer scene is blossoming a little late in Vienna, but at Brickmakers Ale & Cider House and 1516 patrons can sample the avant-garde beers brewed on-site. And for those who want to end the day at the smallest, most beautiful and unruly bar in the city, there is only one place to go: Loos Bar. It’s a must for anyone who wants to discover what really makes Vienna tick.
The Viennese Coffeehouse
Click here for a list with adresses of coffeehouses
An itinerary highlight for visitors to Vienna and a home from home for quite a few locals: the Viennese coffeehouse. Viennese coffeehouse culture was added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural assets in 2011.
There are around 2,400 coffeehouses in Vienna, ranging from elegant traditional cafés to simple bistros with standing room only, and from spacious café-restaurants to cozy café-patisseries. In the capital’s classic coffee houses, the wait staff are still dressed in black, and the décor is as like it was in the ‘good old days’: wooden floors, marble-topped tables, simple Thonet chairs and plush bench seating. Traditional Viennese coffeehouses usually also have a wide range of national and international newspapers for its guests to peruse. The complimentary little glass of water served alongside each cup of coffee is an absolute must, whatever the location.
In 2011 Vienna’s coffeehouse culture was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. According the official report, “the coffeehouses are a place where patrons consume time and space, but only the coffee appears on the bill.” This perfectly captures what a traditional Viennese coffeehouse has to offer – other than a delicious Melange coffee and a slice of fresh Gugelhupf. The city’s coffeehouses are the ideal place to take time out, and open to all echelons of society. Then as now, the capital’s coffeehouses fulfil an important social function. People go to them to philosophize, lounge about, meditate, read the paper, gossip, flirt, play billiards or chess, talk to friends and strangers about everything and anything. And, of course, enjoy coffee and the odd slice of cake.
While the coffeehouses might have changed over the years, the reasons for visiting them have very much stayed the same. As Stefan Zweig wrote in Die Welt von gestern, the café is still “a democratic club where a cup of coffee can be had cheaply and where for this small sum every guest can sit, discuss, write, play cards, receive mail and, above all, consume an unlimited number of newspapers and magazines for hours on end.” The café becomes a home from home, where you can be alone in company.
The first documentary evidence of a Viennese coffeehouse dates back to an establishment on what is now Rotenturmstrasse 14 in the old town. It was opened by an Armenian by the name of Johann Diodato in 1685. Today, this address is home to Café Daniel Moser. Different groups of people have their preferred coffeehouse: the ministerial functionaries go to Café Ministerium on Georg-Coch-Platz, the art students to Prückel on Stubenring and the politicians to Landtmann on Universitätsring.
HOME FROM HOME
Today the poet Peter Altenberg – or at least a papier-mâché version of him – still holds court in Café Central in Herrengasse in the first district. In the first third of the 20th century this was Altenberg’s postal address and where he had his Stammtisch (“regulars’ table”), the place where he would meet up with Adolf Loos, one of the most important Modernist architects, and his wife Lina, the actor and essayist Egon Friedell and the writer Alfred Polgar. Today the atmosphere at Café Central is distinctly upmarket and bourgeois. During the week it is popular with businesspeople, while at the weekends visitors to the city encircle the papier-mâché poet and listen to the piano music.
Café Hawelka is also located in the first district. Its popularity and artsy image dates back to the post-war period when the little coffeehouse kept its doors open until midnight. In the 1950s and 1960s the writers, artists and intellectuals that frequented Café Hawelka turned it into the home of the anti-bourgeois oppositional artist movement. Numerous literary figures regularly met there including the members of the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group) – H.C. Artmann, Konrad Bayer, Gerhard Rühm and Oswald Wiener. And although a fair amount has changed at Hawelka since those times, one thing has stayed the same: it still serves delicious Buchteln (a hybrid donut/brioche creation from Bohemia, typically filled with damson jam) fresh from the oven.
Another important meeting place of the big names of turn-of-the-century Vienna (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Joseph Roth, Karl Kraus, Georg Trakl, Elias Canetti, Hermann Broch, Robert Musil, Leo Perutz, Alban Berg, Franz Lehár, Oscar Strauss and Otto Wagner) was Café Museum, which first opened its doors in 1899 in a prime location by Naschmarkt and the Secession building. The pared down interiors, created by one of its later regulars Adolf Loos, provided an aesthetic counterpoint to the widespread historicist opulence found elsewhere in the city, earning it the nickname of Café Nihilism. In 1931 the interior of the café was remodeled by Josef Zotti, a student of Josef Hoffmann. After several closures and a number of redesigns, Café Museum reopened in 2010 with the Zotti design concept restored.
There were once 27 traditional Viennese coffeehouses on the Ringstrasse Boulevard, but only precious few survived the wave of coffeehouse closures in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of them have been restored, taking them back to their former glory, such as Schwarzenberg on Kärntner Ring and Landtmann on Universitätsring. Others found themselves suddenly reborn as contemporary espresso bars.
In addition to a popular – and thriving – coffeehouse tradition, the philosophy and practices of Third Wave Coffee and the latest international coffee trends also have their place in the city: sustainability, natural purity, fair trade, direct trade, a wide variety of flavor profiles, own roasts and new and old preparation methods from cold brew to drip filter all play a role. Alternatives to traditional coffeehouses that are a far cry from the typical marble tables, Thonet chairs and waiters in black suits are booming in the city.
One such example is Kaffeefabrik on Favoritenstrasse in the fourth district. This small, quirkily decorated store sells roasts from its private roastery using beans sourced from all over the world, as well as coffee to go. Akrap Espressobar in Königsklostergasse also has its own roastery, only this time it’s in Milan. The finished product is available in countless different varieties including the caffeine packed Triple Shot. POC – People On Caffeine have set up shop in a highly unusual location: the wing of a church in the eighth district. Here, customers can enjoy coffee underneath the historic vaulted ceilings from a classic espresso machine or made simply using old fashioned drip filters.
In Servitengasse, an idyllic side street in the ninth district, Caffè a Casa offers products from its own roastery. Espressomobil follows a completely different business model – having reduced the coffeehouse format to a three-wheeled Italian moped. These mobile coffee vans park up at some of the city’s busiest squares in the mornings, switch on the machines and serve up premium coffee to take away until lunchtime.
Excellent coffee is also the order of the day at CaffèCouture in the grand Palais Ferstel. The beans are roasted by the barista in person at the company’s other branch in the ninth district. Praterstrasse in the second district is another place for fans of fine-brewed coffee, with Supersense and Kaffeebar Balthasar among the go-to destinations. Meanwhile, at Kaffemik in the seventh district each month brings different varieties from guest roasteries. With its echoes of a colonial grocery store, Wiener Rösthaus in the eighth district roasts its own beans on site.
Erwin Gegenbauer, known locally as the “Vinegar pope”, is famous for his excellent vinegars, but also roasts coffee on Naschmarkt where he offers three different blends. Aromatic freshly-roasted beans are also available from the Alt Wien roastery on Schleifmühlgasse. A number of major players on the capital’s coffee scene also roast their own beans, including Aida, Julius Meinl and Naber.
People love to drink coffee in Vienna, ideally with a slice of something sweet to go with it. So it comes as no surprise to learn that the city is home to a proliferation of bakeries and pastry shops with their own cafés. While it is true that guests may not spend quite as long sitting in them as they would in a traditional coffeehouse, they certainly tend to walk out having consumed more calories. Aida, the archetypal Viennese Café-Konditorei, is a chain of around 30 café-patisseries located throughout the city. In a candy pink interior, the display cabinets are filled with cakes, pastries, croissants, strudels and much more besides. The finest baked goods and pastries can also be found at Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, with Sacher and Demel’s legendary products another option. But it also goes without saying that Vienna’s “normal” coffeehouses also have a wide range of sweet treats.
One thing that sets Vienna apart is the sheer variety of traditional coffee specialties on offer in the city. And although not every coffeehouse upholds this proud tradition and offers all of them, the hard and fast rule still applies: never order just a “coffee”. These are just some of the options: a Schwarzer or Mokka is a strong black coffee without milk; a grosser Brauner or kleiner Brauner is a large or small black coffee with a shot of cream; a Verlängerter is a small black coffee “lengthened” with hot water and available with or without milk. A Melange is a shot of espresso “lengthened” slightly with hot water, topped up with hot milk and milk foam. Other slightly more exotic specialties include the Kapuziner (small black coffee with a few drops of cream), the Franziskaner (light Melange topped with whipped cream), the Einspänner (large Mokka in a glass with lots of whipped cream), the Fiaker (Mokka in a glass with a shot of rum) or the Türkischer (unfiltered Mokka). Numerous international varieties including Espresso, Cappuccino, Caffè Latte and Irish Coffee are now also commonly found on traditional Vienna coffeehouse menus.
And Vienna has yet another coffee-related tradition all of its own: the Coffeehouse Owners’ ball (www.kaffeesiederball.at). The event is organized by the Viennese Coffeehouse Owners’ Club, an association that represents traditional and innovative coffeehouses alike. Highly popular among the city’s residents, this elegant ball takes place during the carnival season at the Hofburg, attracting around 6,000 guests each year.
Even if the triumphant premiere of “Don Giovanni” was in Prague, and Italy, England and Germany marked the first flowering of his gifts, without Vienna, his most important “hometown”, Mozart would never have become what he still remains – the greatest musical genius in history.
Seriously, how many musicians entertain the upper crust of society as six-year-old kids? Or conduct their own compositions at the age of twelve, to the ovations of more than just family and friends? And who goes on from such an early career to bless posterity with melodies like the “Queen of the Night” from “The Magic Flute” (1791)? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), as a composer and musician, was an exceptional phenomenon and Vienna is closely connected to him, particularly as he spent the last ten years – his most successful – in the city. Around 20 Viennese locations can rightly boast that “these rooms”, “this palace”, “this church” once played host to what was probably the greatest phenomenon of musical genius to appear in the last 250 years. At the beautiful cemetery of St. Marx, it is different: there, Mozart remains to this day, as one of the deceased.
Let us begin, as did Mozart, with the social and political elite. Schönbrunn Palace: it is 1762 and Mozart, just six years old, is already being called the “prodigy from Salzburg”. Admittedly, his father Leopold, himself a well-known musician in the service of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, has had a hand in it all. And the “Mozart family business” marks up a major success with the Habsburgs when Little Mozart plays in the Hall of Mirrors at the imperial summer residence, and the “mother of the nation”, Empress Maria Theresia and her family are duly impressed. And when, as the story goes, the six-year-old afterwards jumps up on to the Empress’ lap, their enchantment knows no bounds.
Four years later, in 1768, Empress Maria Theresia and Mozart, still very much a child, meet again on two occasions. At the Vienna Hofburg, the Empress grants Mozart, now an artist of considerable international experience, an audience of two hours. And for the consecration of the Waisenhauskirche on Rennweg, Mozart, at the tender age of twelve, writes his Waisenhausmesse, which he conducts himself in the presence of Maria Theresia. Back to the Hofburg: years later, in 1781, Mozart spends Christmas Eve here – more precisely, in the imperial apartments. The host this time is Austria’s enlightened Emperor Joseph II.
Five years have passed. It is 1786, in the Schönbrunn Orangery, and Mozart faces a more serious challenge. The 30-year-old composer, already at the zenith of his career, is before the musical “Argus eyes” of Joseph II, in direct competition with Joseph’s court Kapellmeister Salieri. Mozart’s “Impresario” is going into the ring with Salieri’s “Prima la musica e poi le parole”. Posterity shakes its head over the Habsburg ruler’s decision, but Salieri wins. Mozart, for his part, is confirmed in his distaste for the court, its ceremonial, and above all, for “playing the lackey”.
The “Viennese” Mozart, however, is not only a denizen of the court. The vivacious artist, who is forever challenging society’s conventions, also has a private life. He is even a caring father, as shown by his efforts to secure his oldest son, Carl Thomas, a place at the school of the Piaristen (Order of the Pious Schools). In a letter to his wife Constanze, on October 9, 1791, he wrote: “…at 10 o’clock I’ll be going to the offices of the Piaristen, because Leitgeb told me that I can speak to the headmaster then.” To this day, the Piaristen run not only an excellent school, but also a good restaurant – the Piaristenkeller – where guests can enjoy one of Mozart’s favorite dishes, “Kapaundl” (capon) with morels.
In 1781, in the wake of a dispute, Salzburg’s head chamberlain Count Arco, ends Mozart’s employment with the Prince-Archbishop with a kick in the rump at Vienna’s Deutschordenshaus /House of the Teutonic Order (“sent out the door with a kick in the arse”). Mozart, forced to fend for himself, turns once again to the Vienna nobility and their patronage. Even as a child, he appeared at the Auersperg, Harrach, Kinsky and Pallfy palaces with his sister Nannerl, under the watchful eye of his father. In 1786, as a 30-year-old, Mozart conducts a private performance of the opera “Idomeneo” at Palais Auersperg.
Another patron is the director of the National Library, Gottfried van Swieten – the son of Maria Theresia’s famed personal physician Gerard van Swieten, who is immortalized to this day as a pillar of the monarchy in the monument to the Empress between the Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History. In 1786, the same year as the Auersperg appearance, the younger Van Swieten invites Mozart to a “Sunday academy”, that is, a concert. Van Swieten junior has gone down in history as one of Mozart’s most important supporters and patrons.
The private but above all the happy Mozart can best be seen at Mozarthaus Vienna, which was opened in January 2006 as a Mozart center in and around one of the original Mozart locations. It was at Domgasse 5, in the heart of Vienna, that the creator of “The Magic Flute” (1791) and “The Abduction from the Seraglio” (1782) probably spent his happiest and most successful years. From 1784 and 1787 he lived on the first floor. Entering this apartment with its four large and two small rooms, and its own kitchen, one still senses the prestigious ambiance of this address. Small wonder that these lodgings saw the creation of what was perhaps Mozart’s most enjoyable opera, “The Marriage of Figaro” (1786). Covering one thousand square meters, the Mozart center is an absolute must for Mozart fans in Vienna.
Let us remain in the heart of the city. A place with equally fond memories for the Mozart family must have been St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where Wolfgang married his beloved Constanze (née Weber) in 1782. Even if Mozart scholars tell us that the newlywed husband was rather lukewarm in describing his wife’s beauty (“she is not ugly, but also far from beautiful”), there is no doubt as to her cheerfulness and loyalty even at the most difficult points in his career. This strong bond is further indicated by their six children – of whom only two, however, survived infancy. The “Steffl”, as the Viennese affectionately call their cathedral to this day, also played a role in the end of Mozart’s life. After Mozart’s death on December 5, 1791, his remains were carried here in a funeral procession, to receive their final blessing in the adjoining Kruzifixkapelle.
Mozart’s death also took place in the heart of the city, at Rauhensteingasse 8. The actual deathplace has long since vanished. Today it is the site of one of Vienna’s best-known department stores, “Steffl”. Mozart’s famous, unfinished Requiem – in a sense his musical legacy to the world – cannot be heard here.
St. Marx Cemetery is the final resting place of Europe’s greatest musician, the creator of numerous operas, masses and immortal melodies. No one can point to the precise location of his grave with one hundred percent certainty to this day: Mozart was buried in an unmarked “shaft grave” with four or five other deceased, as it was the custom of the time.
Mozart’s resurrection began just a few days after his premature death. A requiem service was held at St. Michael’s Church at the instigation of Emanuel Schikaneder – director of the Theater an der Wien and commissioner of “The Magic Flute” (1791), during which Mozart’s last piece, the unfinished Requiem, is believed to have been heard for the first time.
As to Mozart and posterity, even if he was denied consistent acclaim during his own lifetime, the situation changed immediately upon his death. “The Magic Flute” became an unparalleled success, and his many other pieces were increasingly recognized as pinnacles of music-making.
Prominent among the many spots that recall the composer is the Mozart memorial in the Burggarten, created in 1896. At Vienna’s large Central Cemetery, a further monument to Mozart has stood among the Graves of Honor since 1891 – in direct proximity to those of other composers such as Beethoven and Strauss. Also worth a look is the Mozart Fountain at Mozartplatz in the fourth district, also known as the Magic Flute Fountain, since this group of bronze figures (unveiled in 1905) portray the main characters of the opera, the flute-playing Tamino in the embrace of Pamina. For those in need of sustenance, the great musician can also be remembered at Café Mozart, just behind the State Opera.
The Haus der Musik (House of Music) takes a different approach. It devotes a room to Mozart where original objects from his life are on display, and modern infotainment media allow visitors to “conduct” an unforgiving Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (1787). “Namadeus”, the interactive computer programme based on Mozart’s musical game KV 516f, offers visitors the opportunity to playfully turn their names into original Mozart interpretations.
Tourist Information & the Vienna City Card
The Vienna Tourist Board is happy to be of service to Vienna’s visitors. City maps with a list of museums, hotel guides, a monthly calendar of events, gastronomy tips and other information in many languages are all available free of charge by calling +43-1-24 555 or mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel enquiries and reservations are also taken. The website www.vienna.info/en features an extensive database of events and many useful hints for your stay in Vienna in 13 languages.
The Vienna City Card (VCC) – the Vienna Tourist Board’s official visitor card – is available in two versions. Both versions include discounts at more than 210 tourist attractions in the city including museums, concerts, theater performances, numerous shops and restaurants.
Vienna City Card – Wiener Linien (red card):
City card for 24, 48 or 72 hours
Unlimited travel on the underground, bus and tram network
One child aged 14 or under travels free per card holder
Available from hotels, the tourist information offices on Albertinaplatz (9am-7pm daily), the Main Station (9am-7pm), Vienna International Airport (7am-10pm), Wiener Linien info and ticket counters (e.g. Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstrasse/Wien Mitte), the Vienna City Card App and the online shop.
Vienna City Card – Big Bus Vienna (white card)
City card for 24, 48 or 72 hours
Incl. hop-on hop-off ticket valid for duration of the VCC
Incl. live guided night tour
Incl. guided city tour
Excl. public transportation
One child aged 15 or under travels free per card holder
Available from hotels, the tourist information offices on Albertinaplatz (9am-7pm daily), the Main Station (9am-7pm), Vienna International Airport (7am-10pm), Big Bus Vienna, the Vienna City Card App and the online shop. www.viennacitycard.at
The capital’s main Tourist Info is located just behind the Vienna State Opera on Albertinaplatz-corner of Maysedergasse, 1010 Vienna). Visitors to the capital can make the most of the expert advice on offer from the Vienna Tourist Board employees on site. Tourist Info Vienna, open daily from 9am to 7pm, offers room reservations, free brochures, the Vienna City Card, free WiFi and a host of information on sightseeing, events and day trips. An info desk and ticket counter are fitted with an inductive system for the hard of hearing. Wheelchair users can access a roll-under service point, which is equipped with a tablet.
The Jirsa theater ticket box office offers last-minute tickets at the Tourist Info on Albertinaplatz between 2pm and 5pm for performances the same night. Discounted tickets must be paid for in cash. The handling fee is EUR 3.50 per ticket. It is not possible to book last-minute tickets by telephone.
Additional (smaller) tourist information offices can be found at Vienna Main station (Hauptbahnhof, open daily 9am-7pm) and Vienna International Airport (open daily 7am-10pm).