In the 10th district, also known as the "workers' district", if you get off at the last stop of line 67 in Oberlaa (a unique thermal spa), you will notice a full size bronze monument of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin: the famous Russian poet, playwrighter, and novelist of the Romantic era. It was sculpted by the Russian artist Juri Orechow and was a gift from the city of Moscow on the opening day of the "Moscow Days" which started in 1999. The reason for such celebrations was to mantain good relationships between Vienna and Moscow; the "Moscow Days" take place form the 8th to the 10th of September. There is another connection between the Russian poet and a painting from Velazquez kept in Vienna at the KHM. To learn that story you will have to get your copy of the book "Secret Vienna Stories". Suffice to say that a young princess, an Emperor and a cold storm in Moscow are all elements of this interesting story. There is another link between Pushkin and Vienna. In one of his short plays known as The Little Tragedies written in 1830 and entitled Mozart and Salieri he had theorized about the causes of the sudden death and poisoned-like appearance of the body of the seemingly healthy Mozart which much later influenced the plot of the movie Amadeus.
Fieldmarshall Charles Joseph 7th Prince of Ligne is known for his quote during the Vienna Congress: "The Congress is dancing, but nothing is moving forward" . He was also asked by one of his friends if he could be the "second" in a duel. The Fieldmarshall wrote back to his friend "I will arrive in two days, please provide breakfast for four and dinner for three".The seconds were gentlemen chosen by the participants whose job was to ensure that the duel was carried out under honorable conditions, on a proper field of honor and with equally deadly weapons. They also would accomodate a fitting place for the duel. Duels in Vienna were common back then and one third were deadly. There were also "girls only" duels but this is another tale of Secret Vienna Stories !
The engraving "1439 AEIOU" (on the arc of the westside) stands for the year when Emperor Friedrich III - back then only a Duke - arrived to Vienna. The AEIOU meaning is more complex and it is already present in a notebook of 1437 belonging to him and now at the National Library in Vienna, If you want to know more about it get your copy of "Secret Vienna Stories"! In this particular case, If you use cumpasses pinning the needle on a map where St. Ruprecht's church is located and stretching the other arm to the closest church (e.g. Karmeliter Kirche) you can draw a full circle of a radius of 633 meters (also known as the Chinese mile named "LI", which in Roman Digits means 51: the sum of the letters of AEIOU being A=1, E=5, etc.). Yet there is another mysterious number: if you add the number 51 with the year 1439, you will get 1490, the year when Matthias Corvinus (born 1443) died. He was King of Hungary and Croatia and conquered Vienna until he was chased by Friedrich III and had to flee to Graz and then Linz until he died.
When we first saw this etching, we thought it was a fake. A sort of "What if?" On the contrary, Teddy Roosevelt and Franz Joseph I really met in Vienna on April 15, 1910. Roosevelt was not the US President anymore. After arriving in Khartoum in March 1910, Roosevelt toured Europe. He refused a meeting with the Pope due to a dispute over a group of Methodists active in Rome, but met with Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King George V of Great Britain, and other European leaders. There is also a letter dated 1902 from Roosevelt to Franz Joseph to congratulate him on the birth of his niece Archduchess Blanca.
"I call the living/ Mourn the dead,/ shatter lightning".
This is the very beginning of Schiller's "Song of the Bell" (Das Lied von der Glocke). The four seasons of life of the poem are present on the monument in form of a child on the lap of his mother, the wandering youth, an old man and the iron founder. Among these figures, other allegories are present symbolizing genius, poetry, science, and love of home. Call us crazy but we have an idea. As soon as it gets warmer, is there a Secret Vienna Explorer who wants to read the whole poem in German at the foot of the monument? Wouldn't it be great to gather our community in this small park and listen to: "Ich rufe die Lebenden, Beklage die Toten,Breche Blitze."? May 9th ?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is undoubtedly one of the most relevant American novels. Did you know that he was in Vienna for an extended period of time in 1937? He also wrote "A girl I knew" with the original title of "Wien Wien". Curious? Find out the whole story by clicking here! Vienna was truly the center of the (literary) world.
Inside the Votive Church you can find a sarcophagus adorned with scenes from the first Ottoman siege of Vienna of 1529. It is the tomb of Count Nicholas Salm who was wounded by a falling rock in those days and not much later died from such injuries at the age of 70. The monument was commissioned by Emperor Ferdinand I and was originally placed inside the Dorotheum Church, later moved to the Salmschen Palace in Raitz bei Brünn (now parts of Check Republic), and in 1879 finally laid in the Votive Church. There is a statue of the Count in the Rathaus square. Can you find it?
Thank you Secret Vienna Explorers! You help us grow everday.