The Ringstrasse Project

The Ringstrasse Project

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 The talk of the town and the media was the announcement by the Austrian emperor that he was going to tear down the outdated medieval city walls to make way for a modern boulevard on the green line around the old city centre.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.)

FelicitasKonecnyFelicitas Konecny

Felicitas 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.

Katharina Ebner

Katharina Ebner was born in Vienna in a family of three generation Viennese. She holds a Master Degree in Art History and Cultural Studies, having studied at the University of Vienna and Rome. During her studies she has was involved in a research project focusing on the photographic representation of post-war Austrians. Since graduating with a thesis on the relationship between sounds and images in film (summa cum laude), she has been working in several fields of art and cultural production in Vienna, Rome and Amsterdam. She worked as program curator for a renowned Vienna Discussion Forum, gave tours through the collections of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. As an independent art professional she has been involved in several international University projects, as well as writing texts for catalogues and works as an editor. She is closely associated with the Institute of Composition and Experimental Music at the University in Vienna, currently working on a research project on the history of the Institute. She has been giving talks and lectures internationally on the contemporary Viennese Art Scene as well as Film, Sound and Image relationships. Because Katharina shares a strong interest in the historical and contemporary cultural urban space, she also became a licensed tour guide, providing insightful tours through Vienna.

Katharina Trost

Katharina Trost was born and raised in Vienna and earned an MA in History at the University of Vienna.  She gives a wealth of themed tours of her city, from the classic city tour to imperial history, music history, architecture and art nouveau, palaces, churches and cemeteries. She is well-known for her lively and specialized tours for children, which are interactive and allow kids to solve historical secrets while discovering Austria's capital.  

Gerti Schmidt

Gertraud Schmidt has a linguistics background. She decided to leave a successful career in translation to indulge her passion for history, architecture, art and culture.  After graduating summa cum laude from the two years of study to become a licenced Austria guide, she has become a involved member of the Vienna travel world, representing the Vienna Tourist Guides in the Chamber of Commerce/Association of Businesses in the Leisure Field in Vienna, as a member the Tourist Guide Training Department and as Vice Chair of the Board in the Chamber of Commerce/ Association of Businesses in the  Leisure Field in Vienna. She loves introducing travelers to Vienna’s rich history, its architecture and astonishing art collections. In her free time, she also serves as an expert lay judge at the provincial high court.  

 

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


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