The Ringstrasse Project Private Tour

The Ringstrasse Project Private Tour

The-Ringstrasse-Project-2The scene is Vienna, Christmas 1857. The talk of the town and the media was the announcement by the Austrian emperor that he was going to tear down the outdated medieval city walls to make way for a modern boulevard on the green line around the old city centre. The ring­-shaped boulevard was to symbolize the wealth and power of Vienna and its readiness for modern times, therefore enabling the city to compete with the famous reconstructions that had made 19th century Paris and Berlin famous for grand avenues and sweeping vistas.

This walk, in the company of a historian, takes you along this outstanding boulevard called “Ringstrasse” and gives you an in­-depth introduction to the political and philosophical motivations behind the project. In addition, you learn about the social and geographical impact it had on the city in the years to come. We start off in front of the impressive City Hall (“Rathaus”), one of the landmarks along the Ring and a beloved meeting point.

The-Ringstrasse-Project-4When the project was introduced, it was proclaimed that a large number of public buildings were to be placed along “Ringstrasse”. During our discussion, we will consider the historical style in which these public institutions were built and why certain styles where chosen for certain buildings. You will also become familiar with the most influential architects along the “Ringstrasse”. For each of those architects, winning a commission in this prestigious project meant a completely new status for their future careers.

The construction of the “Ringstrasse” was to be funded through the building of privately financed apartment houses. However, it proved difficult to sell the properties. First of all, it was obvious that it would take years before the Ring project would be finished. Nobody could be found who was immediately attracted to living on a building site. Second, the established nobility of Vienna feared the mystery of future occupants in an entirely new district. Because The Ring was a terrae incognitae in society circles, any nouveau riche could become your neighbour! The story of the community who ended up living along the “Ringstrasse” will add another dimension to our discussion along the Ring.

The-Ringstrasse-Project-5Of course, a boulevard functions as a kind of public catwalk and The Ring was most definitely the place of places in Vienna to see, be seen and meet with people from the moment of its completion. Therefore several cafes and restaurants were established along the boulevard. At the end of our tour we will visit “Cafe Schwarzenberg” est. 1861 to get an insight into the thriving Vienna café culture at the latter half of the 19th Century.

(This tour can also be booked as a children’s family tour where your guide focuses on the symbols on various buildings and on everyday life in Vienna around 1900.)

ProkschChristine Proksch holds a BA in Cultural Journalism and a MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Copenhagen. She finished with a Master about the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler. In order to dig deeper into her favourite topic, Austrian Literature around 1900, she studied German and Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna and fell deeply in love with the city and the vast cultural landscape. Since 1998 she has lived permanently in the city.. Today she mainly works as a cultural journalist reporting to Danish Medias about the cultural life in Central Europe. She has also written the most sold Vienna guide and guide to Austria in Denmark.
SmithNicholas Smith is an American who moved his life to Vienna after marrying an Austrian. He is in the last year of completing his MA in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City while also freelancing writing articles on Vienna history, arts and culture for The Vienna Review (the largest and most distinguished English language newspaper in Austria).
OconnorStephen O’Connor earned his PhD in Military History at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is passionate about recounting the many ferocious battles waged over Vienna from Roman times through the Ottomon Threat, Napoleon, the Hapsburgs, and of course, the global wars of the 20th century. In fact, he is as passionate as most Irishmen are deemed to be at recounting a good tale of any kind, but particularly those that have to do with the fascinating history, arts and culture of the Vienna he moved to and fell in love with along with the Austrian who he married there. He presently works as a teacher of English for Viennese professionals.
FelicitasKonecnyFelicitas Konecny studied architecture in Graz, Naples and Vienna. As a student she organized conferences, co-founded a research group, wrote articles, held seminars and worked freelance at architectural firms. This wide-ranging experience led her to a position as the secretary of the Austrian Society for Architecture (1997-2003). Five times she was a co-curator of the biennial Architecture Days in Vienna, from 2005–2010 she edited a program on architecture for Vienna‘s Community-TV-Channel „Okto“. In 2012, she became a licensed Austrian tour guide. Her tours are mainly focused on the urban development of Vienna from the origins to the present day and architecture in its respective socioeconomic, political, cultural, and aesthetic context. What makes Viennese architecture special to her: the multifaceted interplay of buildings from all ages in this historic city and the prominent role of social/affordable housing as a motor for innovation and a challenge for the best architects. Although an enthusiastic native Viennese, she despises cliches and is happy about visitors with a critical eye.

 

Starting Location:
Café Landtmann
Universitätsring 4
A-1010 Vienna, Austria

 

Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

Cancellation and Tipping