Vienna’s Ringstraße

Monday, 30 May 2011 - 02:30 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Vienna Burgtheater (Theatre) © Peter Gerstbach

Vienna Burgtheater (Theatre) © Peter Gerstbach

The Ringstraße is a circular road surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, Austria and is one of its main sights. It is typical of the historical style called Ringstraßenstil (Ringstraße Style) of the 1860s to 1890s.

The street was built to replace the city walls, which had been built during the 13th century and funded by the ransom payment derived from the release of Richard I of England, and reinforced as a consequence of the First Turkish Siege in 1529, and instead of the glacis, which was about 500m wide. The fortification had been obsolete since the late 18th century, but the Revolution of 1848 was required to trigger a significant change.

In 1850, the Vorstädte (today the Districts II to IX) were incorporated into the municipality, which made the city walls a simple impediment to traffic. In 1857, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria issued his famous decree “It is My will” (Es ist Mein Wille at Wikisource) ordering the demolition of the city walls and moats. In his decree, he laid out the exact size of the boulevard, as well as the geographical positions and functions of the new building. The Ringstraße and the planned buildings were intended to be a showcase for the grandeur and glory of the Habsburg Empire. On the practical level, Emperor Napoléon III of France’s boulevard construction in Paris had already demonstrated how enlarging the size of streets effectively made the erection of revolutionary barricades impossible.

Since the Ringstraße had always been meant primarily for show, a parallel Lastenstraße (cargo road) was built on the outside of the former glacis. This street is commonly known as 2-er Linie, named after the index “2” in the identifiers of the tram lines which used it. It is still important for through traffic.

After some disputes about competence between the government and the municipality, a “City Extension Fund” was created, which was administered by the government. Only the town hall was planned by the city.

During the following years, a large number of opulent public and private buildings were erected. Both the nobility and the plutocracy rushed to build showy mansions along the street. One of the first buildings was the Heinrichshof, owned by the beer brewer Heinrich Drasche, which was located opposite the opera house until 1945.

Austrian Parliament © Gryffindor

Austrian Parliament © Gryffindor

Among other fantastic architectural monuments are:

  • Vienna State Opera, in neo-romantic style by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll,
  • Academy of Fine Arts,
  • Federal Ministry of Justice,
  • Parliament building, in neo-attic style (a reference to the democracy of ancient Athens) by Theophil Freiherr von Hansen,
  • Town Hall in Flemish-gothic style by Friedrich Schmidt,
  • K.u.K. Hofburgtheater (Theatre) by Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer,
  • University Building, in neo-renaissance style (a reference to the beginnings of the university system in northern Italy,
  • Votivkirche, in neo-gothic style (a reference to the gothic Cathedrals of France) by Heinrich Freiherr von Ferstel,
  • Stock Exchange,
  • Ring Tower, modern 1950s style,
  • Urania observatory,
  • Postal Savings Bank, in Jugendstil by Otto Wagner,
  • Museum of Applied Arts in neo-renaissance style by Heinrich Freiherr von Ferstel,
  • Hotel Imperial,
  • Palais Schey von Koromla and many more

Ringstraße Webcam

Read more on werbeka.com – Ringstraße and Wikipedia Ringstraße.






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