Vienna, Thirteenth District: Hietzing - Part II

Move on to the Café Dommayer - as described in my article on cafes in Vienna, it is one of the city′s most classic up-market cafes and a great hunting ground for those who come to spot archetypical Hietzing residents. For former Hietzing residents, go to the Friedhof Hietzing cemetery - it is probably my favourite cemetery in Vienna, packed with the most pompous tombs. I recommend to look especially for the mausoleum-type tombs (Grüfte) in the middle of it; some of them are little palaces and even furnished.

They beat even the fanciest graves at the Zentralfriedhof in terms of pomposity. For celebrity corpses, see the graves of painter Gustav Klimt, the architect Otto Wagner, the (moderately recommendable) writer Franz Grillparzer or the Austrian fascist ruler Engelbert Dollfuß. Beyond that, the Friedhof Hietzing is generally the biggest aggregation of Austrian aristocrats outside of the Salzburg Festival.

Speaking of Gustav Klimt: He owned a small garden cottage in Feldmühlgasse in Hietzing during the last years of his life, which served him as a workshop. It was later incorporated into a villa and recently purchased by the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere - there is currently a debate on what to do with the building. As of 2008, it should become a museum and day-center for disabled people - Gustav Klimt′s workshop will also be re-constructed.

Some Minor Attractions of Hietzing

Other attractions of Hietzing include my former workplace: The ORF Zentrum is a rather ugly building on the top of Mount Küniglberg and the headquarter of the Austrian Public Broadcast (a former employer of mine). Going down the Küniglberg, you will pass the very large Maria-Theresien-Kaserne, an army base, and the "Invalidenhauskirche", a historicist church. It belongs to the military, but is provided for a local parish. It is nice to have a look at if you walk by, but nothing to shout about.

The same thing applies to a number of other attractions in Hiezting: The Erzbischöfliches Schloss Ober Sankt Veit, a palace / villa, the church Ober Sankt Veit, the Gothicised parish church of Hietzing (right next to the entrance to zoo and greenhouse - here you also find the district′s museum) and the many privately owned villas.

Lainzer Tiergarten & Hermesvilla

Much more significant is the Lainzer Tiergarten: Despite of the misleading name ("Tiergarten" means "zoo"), this is actually a large nature reserve and the main reason why Hietzing is the "greenest" district in all of Vienna (72 percent parks, forests and other green areas). Here in the Lainzer Tiergarten, former hunting grounds of the Habsburg family, you can visit the Hermesvilla.

This historicist villa was built by Emperor Franz Joseph I for his beloved (and much cheated upon) wife Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi"). In the Hermesvilla, the couple spent a few days or even weeks every spring from 1887 to 1898, when Elisabeth was assassinated by an Italian anarchist. The villa survived two World Wars with no damages - until the Soviet army arrived.

Once it had left, the building was ruined, but reconstructed in the 1960ies. Today, it is used by the Wien Museum for temporary exhibitions. I really dislike historicism in architecture, fine arts and life in general - in Hietzing, however, the sheer density of historicist buildings (and people) creates some uniformity at least in the old parts of the district. I do appreciate that and find the "Habsburg Theme Park" in fact quite entertaining - Hietzing is a Disneyland for Austrian monarchists.

Continue with "Vienna, 13th District, Hietzing - Part I"

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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 (Margarethen)- 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)

Further Reading

The Districts of Vienna: An Introduction

Official Website of Vienna

Wikipedia on Vienna's 13th District - Hietzing

City of Vienna: Districts of Vienna - Hietzing