Heumühle auf der Wieden:
Haymill as the Oldest House of Vienna
The „Heumühle auf der Wieden" is a small house in the fourth district of Vienna and wouldn′t be anything to shout about if it wasn′t the oldest preserved house of Vienna. Non-religious house ("Profanbau"), that is, since there are plenty of churches that have at least foundations that pre-date the Heumühle - besides, I can't imagine that there are no other houses older than the mill in the first district. Anyway, the "oldest house of Vienna" is the official claim. The building was first mentioned in a document that dates back to 1326, but it is likely that it was built in the 13th century. The Heumühle can be found in a courtyard at the end of Grüngasse, but you have to look for it - which most tourists and even locals never do.
Heumühle means „haymill"; the mill was not the first one of its kind in Vienna and run by a nearby creek which was a side-branch of the Wien River. Originally, the Heumühle was part of a hospital called "Heiligengeistspital" ("Hospital of the Holy Spirit"). In 1528, the building burnt down (that much about being the oldest house of Vienna); it was renovated until 1533 and given to the Diocese of Vienna by Emperor Ferdinand I. In the following decades, the building was adapted repeatedly and extended. The Heumühle was used as a mill and bakery until 1856.
History of the "Heumühle" Haymill
Back then, the Wiental River Valley contained several mills - many of them were working under hard circumstances due to frequent floods. The floods were also the reason why the Wiental was unattractive for residential buildings. In 1856, the city of Vienna bought the "milling privileges" from the diocese and filled up the creek for "hygiene reasons". I assume that it served not only as a source of power for the mills, but also as a sewer to the few people who lived in the valley.
Following this step, the Heumühle fell into disrepair. Only in the later 20th century, the local authorities remembered the building; according to a news report, it is likely that the mill was not in inhabited since before WWII. In 2004 - when the state of the Heumühle was already seriously bad - the Bundesdenkmalamt (the public institution in charge with the preservation of historic buildings) did a study on the Heumühle. This study investigated the history of the mill and suggested ways to restore it. In the same year, the mill was partly sold to private investors; it is still owned by several people. In 2008, the Heumühle was finally refurbished and now looks somewhat decent again - at the cost of almost a million Euros.
Today, the Heumühle is used by offices. Attractions nearby include the Paulanerkirche, the Naschmarkt and the attractions of the Karlsplatz; as well as the Palais Favorita (Theresianum & Diplomatic Academy) and the ORF Funkhaus.
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