Art Nouveau subway Stop at Karlsplatz

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Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) booth on Karlsplatz Square

Karlsplatz is a square in central Vienna, just off the Zweierlinie - the road that parallels the circular Ringstraße. The Karlsplatz connects some of Vienna′s most iconic places: The Staatsoper (National Opera), the Karlskirche, the Secession and the Künstlerhaus, the Technical University and the Academy of Fine Arts, the famous concert halls of the Wiener Musikverein.

Strangely enough, Karlsplatz is also a synonym for drug traffic, homeless people and crime. Going from the surface to the level of the subway stop, the social problems of the Karlsplatz area become obvious. Visits don′t have to stop here: The Wienfluss creek runs under ground along Karlsplatz. It has featured as a sewer in "The Third Man" and guided tours take tourists into the guts of Karlsplatz.

If you join one of these tours, you will hear that the underground canals are serving homeless and druggies as a shelter for more than a century. Back to the surface: The thing you see in the picture is one of the Art Nouveau or Jugenstil pavilions that the urban planner and architect Otto Wagner designed. He was put in charge with working out a mean of mass transportation, which became first the Stadtbahn city train and which was later incorporated into the modern subway system. The pavilion is now a bit neglected: Refurbished and used as a bistro, but on an island surrounded by extreme traffic. Tensions around opposites that are typical for the Karlsplatz.