Vienna, Seventh District: Neubau
The seventh district or Neubau is among former "suburbs" that form the circle around the first district or the inner city. It is quite a fashionable neighbourhood for students, intellectuals and creative industries and has a high percentage of foreigners. Combined, these demographic features of Neubau led to this district becoming the first in Austria to make the Green party the strongest at least for the local administration.
For some general orientation: The western border of Neubau is the Gürtel, the ugly red light area surrounding the former "Vorstädte" ("suburbs" - now districts three to nine). In this area, tourists usually come only if they are on their way to the Westbahnhof Station. Well, or for hiring a prostitute. The southern border of Neubau is marked by the Mariahilferstraße, the main shopping road of Vienna full of mega-stores that sell useless crap - clothes, shoes, mobile phones, more clothes…
In the north, Neubau meets the more quiet Josefstadt, the eight district - the border is not really obvious and marked by Lerchenfelderstraße. In the East, Neubau meets the first district - and it is here that you find the most significant attractions of the seventh district, starting with the MuseumsQuartier.
MuseumsQuartier & Spittelberg: Neubau′s Top-Attractions
Situated in the former imperial stables, the MuseumsQuartier unites a dozen of good and at least two excellent museums with a total exhibition space of 6,000 square metres. My personal favourite is the Leopold Museum, dedicated to Austrian modernism and home to the World′s largest collection of Schiele works.
In combination with the MuseumsQuartier itself, you will find a whole bunch of small cafes, bars and bistros, bookshops and other arty/intellectual things. Not to forget the free wireless lan, which is anonymous and thus perfect for downloading illegal stuff from the internet. I am not a big fan of internet anonymity myself. Cross the MuseumsQuartier and you will get to the Spittelberg. This neighbourhood is often referred to as a "village in the city". It consists of a few blocks of late Baroque and Biedermeier houses.
Until well into the 20th century, the Spittelberg had a dubious reputation and its attractions were cheap booze and prostitutes. Today, it is a very fashionable and expensive neighbourhood with art and craft shops, restaurants and bars. There are also many art galleries and interior design stores. The Spittelberg gives you a good idea of what Vienna must have looked like before imperialist madness gave rise to historicist development projects and the flattening of thousands of historic houses in the 19th century.
More Things to See in the Seventh District
Right on the edge of the Spittelberg, you can see the Stiftskaserne, once a monastery, adopted into an army base in the 19th century. The Nazis had great plans with the building: They wanted to make it an enormous war memorial for the commemoration of the Wehrmacht′s sacrifice for winning WWII. Didn′t happen. The only visible mark the Nazis did leave is the massive and ugly concrete Flak tower, twinned with the one in the sixth district (the "Haus des Meeres"). The tower is one of six that was built to protect Vienna from air strikes and the only one that is still used by the military.
By the way, the current population of Neubau is a bit less than 30,000. One thing that I forgot: Right next to the MuseumsQuartier you can find the Volkstheater. It was built in 1889 and its name, meaning "people′s theatre" already suggests the purpose of the building: To produce great theatre for the crowds and not only for nobility and aristocracy like the nearby Burgtheater. In order to accommodate the masses, the Volkstheater was built on a large scale: It is one of the biggest theatres in the German-speaking world.
Further westwards you will find the Hofmobiliendepot, the
museum of Imperial Furniture - sounds bizarre, but is actually quite an interesting institution and a great thing to see on a rainy day. Other sightseeing attractions of Neubau include the
Altlerchenfelder Church, the Augustin fountain, a trinity column, the
Lazaristenkirche Church and the Ulrichskirche Church.
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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)