Ornaments on a house in central Vienna
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I took the picture above in the area of Judenplatz in central Vienna in summer 2007. The ornament appears to be a decoration on a Baroque burgher house and I have no idea what it refers to. I just liked it for looking somewhat odd. A few words on small decorations on houses in Vienna: There are some that are better known than the one depicted above. For example, the Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) mosaic on the Engelapotheke at Am Hof Square. Many houses still have gilded cannonballs near the entrance, souvenirs from the Turkish sieges of 1529 and 1683.
In Schönlaterngasse (the one from a previous picture), you find a fresco depicting a scene from a popular local legend and a stone in some organic shape - supposedly a petrified basilisk. In response to the Second Turkish Siege of 1683, many Oriental designs have made it into decorations; note for example the cut-off heads of Turkish soldiers neatly arranged at the fence of Palais Schwarzenberg. Coats of Arms are a very common feature above the gates of houses once (or still) belonging to noblemen or high-ranking clergy.
For some of these, take a walk between - for example - Minoritenplatz and the Freyung area. In the 20th century, the first district gained several very simple, square mosaics depicting 1980ies-style computer game figures, like the little spider-thingys from Pacman. They are usually put up on old and shabby houses, mostly on corners on the first floor. I have no idea what they mean, but if anybody does, I would be grateful for a message.