Mark Twain arrived in Vienna in 1897 and stayed for 20 months. He had come to Austria so that his daughter Clara, who met her future husband during her stay, could study music. The family lived mostly in the city. He was a major celebrity at the time, arguably the most famous man in the world. He wrote, gave lectures, and mingled with Viennese society. He witnessed the funeral of assassinated Empress Elizabeth in 1898, watching from the balcony of the Krantz Hotel in Neuer Markt in the Inner City. Conversationally fluent in German, he wrote the wonderful essay "The Awful German Language" which should be required reading for anyone learning the language.
The Kreuzer was an Austrian silver coin, one-hundreth of a Florin.
Vienna, in spite of its opulence and beauty hid a hidden city beneath its streets. The waves of immigrants from the countryside and from non-German-speaking parts of the Empire added to unemployment and housing shortages. These contemporary photos show that this is not just a problem of our times.
Library of Congress
The Prater is a huge public park in Vienna's Second District. Originally a private hunting ground for royalty, it was opened to the public in 1766 by Emperor Joseph II. A large section of the Prater is devoted to the amusement park which contains beer gardens, rides and the Riesenrad, the Giant Wheel that was built to commemorate Franz Josef's Golden Jubilee in 1897.
Loden is woolen cloth that has been kept water-resistant by retaining the natural lanolin in the wool. It is used in Austrian traditional clothing. Loden Plankl is a fine clothing store in the First District just down the street from Werthen's Habsburgergasse office.
Biedermeier is a generic term, at times used in a derogatory fashion, describing the comfortable middle-class lifestyle of the first half of the nineteenth century. Biedermeier furniture was a simple and elegant style and, as such, there are many designs. Biedermeier furniture and lifestyle was featured in exhibitions at the Vienna Applied Arts Museum in 1896, resulting in a revival of the style.
Schottenring derives its name from the Schottenkirche in the First District. Founded in 1155 by Emperor Henry II, the Schottenkirche takes its name from the Irish monks that Henry brought in for spiritual as well as intellectual reasons. Ireland, in the Latin of the day, was known as Scotia Major/Greater Scotland. Thus the monks were referred to as Schotten/Scots, as was their monastery. The current church dates from the mid-1600's.
The Schottentor/Scottish Gate was the gate in the old city walls leading up to the street where the church was located. The city walls were demolished in the 1860's by decree of Franz Josef to create the Ringstrasse and unify the city and its suburbs. This part of the Ringstrasse was named Schottenring.
The year 1848 saw a series of revolutions in amost the entire of Europe. In the Habsburg Empire the rebellions were mostly nationalistic, either for social reforms or outright independence. Although the revolutions eventually failed, in Vienna the de-facto leader of the empire since the Congress of Vienna in 1814, Mitterand, was forced to resign and Emperor Ferdinand abdicated, ceding power to the eighteen year old Franz Josef.
Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien
Fasching, the Vienna carnival, lasts from January to Lent. Highlighted by over 450 balls given by the various unions, guilds, and professions. Shown here the Ball der Stadt Wien - Ball of the City of Vienna by Wilhelm Gause. Mayor Karl Lueger is shown at left wearing his chain of office.
"A few years ago . . . There was a widely spread craze for snail races . . . A fashionable club was actually formed in Vienna where this form of 'sport' was regularly organized, and here the snails entered for races by their owners were carefully fed and tended. Each was marked with a number upon its shell, and a careful record kept of the time taken by winners in crawling up the one meter 'race-course', with a view to their being properly handicapped in subsequent matches. More than one ancestral estate changed hands as a result of bets upon this absurd past time." - from Austro-Hungarian Life in Town and Country by Francis H.E. Palmer, 1903
Czernowitz/Chernivtsi is a city in the southwest Ukraine. The university was founded in 1875 and called Franz Josef University. It is now called Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University (after a Ukranian nationalist writer) and in 2009 was granted membership in the European University Association.
Andreas Augustin; The Most Famous Hotels in the World
The Hotel Imperial is a luxury hotel located on the Kärntner Ring. Built in 1863 as the city palace of the Duke and Duchess of Wurttemberg, its original name was Palais Wuttemberg. However, the Duke and the Duchess lived in it for only five years before selling it. It was converted into a hotel in 1873. Now taller by two stories added in 1928, it is still a first-class hotel on the Ringstrasse.
Otto Gross was indeed "at loggerheads" with his father. He was a neurologist and psychoanalyst. At the time of the novel, he had recently returned from South America where he had become addicted to opium and cocaine. He totally rejected the idea that Freud's "unconscious" had to be reined in or repressed in order to maintain civilization. Instead he saw any repression as psychologically harmful and encouraged his patients to lose all inhibition, particularly sexual, often apparently giving his mostly female clientele practical demonstrations. He became involved with anarchist circles. He spent increasing amounts of time in psychiatric clinics, which were paid for by his father. Hanns Gross even had Otto arrested in 1913 as a dangerous anarchist and interned in an institution in Austria. He was freed following a press campaign initiated by his friends. The promotion of opium and cocaine (as well as hashish and absinthe) as crucial "life enhancers" and his frequent sexual liaisons with patients, made Gross a figure of scandal and fascination known throughout Europe.
Opened in 1891, the Kunsthistorisches Museum/Art History Museum is one of the finest in the world. Set on the Ringstrasse, it faces the Natural History Museum, a building that is its mirror image, across a large square. Among its treasures are ten paintings by Pieter Breugel the Elder and decorative arches by Gustav Klimt.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Breugel's The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559) presents the contrasts between worldly pleasures - on the left side of the painting is an inn - and spiritual life - on the right the church. In between is a gallery of revelers and pious people, although the revelers definitely outnumber the latter.