Part Three of the Vienna Series, still has us in the Inner City of Vienna, but in a whole new part of it. The Inner City is a district of Vienna, that takes up the old city center. Glimpses of that center have been shown in parts one and two. This here is the main inner shopping street, where you will find many exclusive brands, cafes, fast food and regular restaurants as well as many other shops and stores.

click on the images for a bigger view 

This part of the Inner City is called Graben. The Graben traces its origin back to the old Roman encampment of Vindobona. At the end of the 12th century, the city was enlarged by the Babenberg Dukes, using the ransom money for Richard the Lionheart. At this time the trench was filled in and levelled. The Graben thereby became one of the first residential streets in the new section of the city. In this area of the city large unbuilt areas were still available, which probably contributed to the maintenance of the name "Graben" (which means trench) up until the present day.

The main view of the Inner city here, shows the Plague Column that is one of the most well-known and prominent pieces of sculpture in the city. More on it later.

Rozet & Fischmeister is a jewelry store in the Graben. Owned by the same family since it was established in 1770, this jewelry store specializes in gold jewelry, gemstones set in artful settings, and both antique and modern versions of silver tableware.

In 1679, Vienna was visited by one of the last big plague epidemics. Fleeing the city, Emperor Leopold I vowed to erect a mercy column (the so called Plague Column) if the epidemic would end. In spite of the long construction period, the frequent amendments of the design and the large number of sculptors involved, the monument appears quite homogeneous.

During the design period, it changed from a conservative memorial column to a high baroque scene, narrating a story in a theatrical form. The monument thus indicates the transition to the era of High Baroque in Vienna. It highly influenced the style and was imitated in the whole Austrian region.

The Graben has served as a marketplace from the very beginning. Already in 1295, shortly after the Graben was first named in documents, a fruit dealer was mentioned. The selling of cabbage began around 1320, and other vegetables were introduced around a hundred years later. These products lent the Graben the additional names of Grüner Markt and Kräutermarkt.

Beginning in the 14th century, flour and bread sellers are also mentioned. In 1442 the bakers were granted permission to sell their own wares. The so-called Brotbänke, which the bakers were required to rent, originated on the Graben.

The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world.

St. Stephen's Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna.

I love metros and trains, and I think that Vienna has a great metro system. The station in the city center is called Stephansplatz, and it is an important destination and interchange station in the Vienna U-Bahn or metro system.

The U-Bahn platforms lie up to five storeys below the Stephansplatz. Station entrances are located in the square, in the Graben, in Kärntner Straße and in Goldschmiedegasse. To preserve the streetscape, they are not covered. The Goldschmiedegasse entrance is via a lift on the outside of the Haas-Haus and is wheelchair-accessible. The remaining entrances have escalators and stairs. There are a total of 23 escalators of varying lengths, and 3 additional lifts within the station.

Construction of the Stephansplatz station began as part of the creation of the basic network (Grundnetz) in May 1973. Deep excavation at the site was completed in August 1977 and construction of the station then proceeded largely in an open pit. The U3 connection was planned from the beginning and prepared for as part of the work in the 1970s, but that part of the station only opened in 1991.

The Metro took us to our next destination, the Alpine Gardens next to the Belvedere Castle. Those images will be posted in part four, but here is a little sneak peak at the gates. But what lies behind them, will be shown tomorrow. :)

I wish you all a happy start into the new week!


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