Vienna Shopping: Kohlmarkt, Graben,
Kärntner Road & New Market - Part II
The Haas Haus with its reflective fašade looking at the Stephansdom at the end of the Graben was built by Austria′s star in contemporary architecture, Hans Hollein, in 1989. Once highly controversial, the Viennese now accept that the building is there and stopped complaining about this modern piece. The architect aimed to quote the alignment of the Roman fortifications that once ran along the Graben here.
To the opposite of the Haas Haus, the Palais Equitable marks the onset of Kärntner Straße. This Palais has one of the most elaborately designed and decorated staircases of all 19th century houses in Vienna. Unfortunately, it is occupied by doctors, offices and alike and thus not open for the public. You can, however, try to be cheeky and wait for somebody coming out of the building - then you can hop in and have a look.
The Kärntner Straße has a similar story to tell as the Graben: Once a long time ago, it was a path commonly used by pilgrims and all sorts of people. In the 19th century, the road was widened and therefore, most buildings date from this period. The Kärntner Straße used to be a tacky version of the Kohlmarkt. Those days are over with property prices in Vienna′s first district rocketing away. Today, the Kärntner Straße shops are mostly expensive boutiques - however, the tacky smell of the 1970ies and 1980ies is still present, mostly due to ugly electronic advertisements on almost every house.
Where Shopping meets Sightseeing in Vienna
One sight of the Kärntner Straße is the Malteserkirche or Church of the Maltese Order. Originally built in the 13th century, this church was insensitively refurbished in Baroque days. Since the Vatican, Bohemia and Austria were the only areas in the World that the Maltese never lost their grounds in, they do hold a fairly strong position in Vienna.
Further down the road you will ultimately end up at the National Opera and the Albertina. If you walk towards the Emperor′s Tomb, though, you will get to the Neuer Markt Square - meaning "New Market Square" and being just that. Here you will find a copy of the Donner Fountain, designed by Georg Raphael Donner under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia in the 18th century. The original figures made of lead can be seen in Schloss Belvedere Castle, in the Baroque collection.
Just between the Neuer Markt Square and the Palais Equitable, you should stop by at the "American Bar", the first North-American-style bar that opened in Vienna. The interiors were designed by the architectural legend Adolf Loos and preserve a unique atmosphere only enhanced by the strip club next-doors. Attractions nearby include the Haus der Musik, the Academy of Fine Arts, and - from the Graben - the Am Hof Square with its attractions.
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Others - Part I"
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