Vienna, 19th District: Döbling
Even more than the "Imperial" district of Hietzing, the 19th District or Döbling is considered to be Vienna′s poshest living area. It is situated on the northern edge of Vienna, reaches into the forested hills of the Wienerwald (Vienna woods) combines luxury villas with historic houses, vineyards and a generally pleasant atmosphere.
Vienna prides itself for being "socially mixed" - no area is really bad and none really good in the "country-club enclosure" sense of the word. This applies to Döbling as well: The primary impression is the one of a very exclusive and somewhat snobbish district, but in fact, there are also middle-class people and students who live here. Beyond that, you also find plenty of embassies in the 19th district.
If you start your tour of Döbling at the station of Heiligenstadt, you will see immediately that I am right about the social mix: Here you find the Karl-Marx-Hof, a socialist bastion built in the 1930ies as a prestige-project of Vienna′s social democrats. It is one of the longest apartment blocks in the world and manages somehow to be an appealing building nonetheless.
The Musical Heritage of Döbling
Heiligenstadt, by the way, is one of 10 towns or villages that successively became part of this district that is now home to some 65,000 residents. I quite like Döbling, since it has close ties with agricultural production (wine) and provides direct access to the Vienna Woods.
Beethoven spent a desperate summer in Heiligenstadt in 1820, writing his will full of dramatic confessions and apologies - alongside with parts of his second symphony. One syphony and one village later, he returned to Oberdöbling and wrote the "Eroica" in the so-called "Eroicahaus". The Eroicahaus is now a side-branch of the Wien Museum and as such, open to the general public. Nearby, you find the Hohe Warte area. Back to our tour of Döbling: There can be only one goal - the Heurigen! Most tourists head for Grinzing, and, further up the hill, the Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg.
The Döbling Heurigen: Grinzing & Beyond
You can go by bus or tram from Heiligenstadt station until Grinzing, and then continue to travel to the "peak" by bus. The trip will give you a good general idea of the structure and flair of Döbling. In the once picturesque village of Grinzing, the Heurigen are more touristy than anywhere else in Austria - busloads of Americans and Japs are carried to the main square of the ex-village and authenticity is very hard to find. In fact, I know only one authentic Heurigen in a side-street of Grinzing; and got drunk there more than once.
Moving on by bus, you get to the Kobenzl - beyond the vineyards, with great vistas over Vienna. On a warm summer evening, it is worth taking a walk; there are all sorts of minor sights to explore, such as the "Sisi Chapel" or a circle of zodiac trees. If you are keen on the best view over Vienna, stay on the bus until you get to the Kahlenberg: Here you find a Polish Church that commemorates that King Ian Sobieski and the Count of Lorraine gathered their troops here to pray before they attacked and defeated the Turkish troops in 1683.
Continue with "19th District, Vienna: Döbling - Part II"
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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna's Districts
District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margareten) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)