Stiftskaserne Army Base & Stiftskirche Church
Military Sightseeing off Mariahilferstraße - Part II
Following the revolution, the academy was expanded and used as a regular army base. The engineering school was transferred to Klosterbruck near Znaim in Moravia, today′s Czech Republic. An additional wing was built that connected all existing buildings and a uniting fašade was applied. The orphanage left and the Stiftskaserne became one of the most important infantry training facilities in the Austrian Empire: The "Kriegsschule" was here between 1859 and 1865, the infantry cadet school until 1898.
In 1869, the "Technical Military Academy" moved in and stayed until 1904, when it was transferred to a building in Mödling (where it still is, now a middle school called "HTL"). The rooms that had originally been built for the Savoyische Akademie became home to the archives and library of the Ministry of War. During WWI, the Stiftskaserne served as a military hospital. In the 1920ies and 1930ies, the Bundesheer (army of the Republic of Austria) kept on using the facility as an army base, training facility and administrative place.
An almost-turning point came with the arrival of the Nazis in Austria: They picked up the insane plans of the Habsburgs to build a "Kaiserforum", an enormous palatial area that would have included the entire Hofburg, the Kunsthistorisches and the Naturhistorisches Museum and the Imperial Stables (now the MuseumsQuartier) to build a gigantic government district - a second "Neue Burg" on the area of today′s Volksgarten was planned to "close" a huge courtyard between today′s Leopoldinertrakt of the Hofburg and the MuseumsQuartier.
Nazi Plans for the Stiftskaserne
The Nazis liked both pompous architecture and gigantism. And so they took the crazy Habsburg plans - and made them even bigger: They wanted to include the Stiftskaserne and make it a national shrine for the German victims of the war. Alas, with the failure to establish the proposed "Empire of a Thousand Years", such things did not happen. The only thing the Nazis did to change the Stiftskaserne was to build a huge concrete tower for air defence purposes, a so-called "Flak-Turm"; its sibling is more visible in the Esterhazypark. You can even go inside that one, as it is used by the "Haus des Meeres" Aquarium.
After WWII, American troops used the Stiftskaserne. In 1955, the Bundesheer moved back in with some training facilities and is still there. Later, some divisions of the Ministry of Defence followed. Today, the Stiftskaserne is home to the Landesverteidigungsakademie (a training institution), the offices of military papers and film divisions, the Austrian Military Library and administrative divisions of the army. The Flak tower is still used for military purposes - mostly radio signal transmission and radar. As an active military base, the Stiftskaserne is not open to the general public. The Stifskirche Church is open during the day. The Flak tower can be seen pretty well from the Hofburg or from the top of its sibling in Esterhazypark.
Attractions nearby are numerable - apart from the named ones (Museumsquartier and the centre), the most immediate are: The Spittelberg area, the Volkstheater, the Justizpalast, Palais Trautson and Palais Auersperg.
Return to "Stiftskaserne Vienna - Part I"
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