Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts from the ‘Arts’ category

My Vienna: Beethoven, the 6th, & Heiligenstadt

Above/featured: Memorial statue in Vienna’s Heiligenstadt Park; more details below.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven spent a total of 35 years in Vienna, from 1792 with his arrival from Bonn until his death in 1827. Every summer, he would leave Vienna to stay in a country- or farm-house in Heiligenstadt which at the time was rural; a stagecoach trip from the inner city required several hours. Today, urban development and expansion have reached and overtaken the once verdant fields right up to the flanks of the city’s northern heights.

By 1802, Beethoven’s hearing loss was almost complete. With his doctor’s recommendation, Beethoven had hoped time away from the noisy city would help recover some of his healing, but after the summer had passed, his initial fears had come true: his hearing would not return. In desperation, Beethoven wrote to his brother a letter, known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament“. He never sent the letter to his brother; the letter would only be discovered 25 years later with Beethoven’s personal effects, shortly after his death in 1827.

I’m tracing out some of Beethoven’s footsteps in Heiligenstadt wrapped inside the present-day city’s 19th district of Döbling. All locations can be visited comfortably on foot in a single day. The following description is part of a larger overview of my search for Beethoven in the Austrian capital city.


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My Vienna: Art Nouveau highlights in the capital

Above/featured: A captive audience surrounds the Gustav Klimt painting “The Kiss” in Vienna’s Upper Belvedere. Photo, 19 May 2018 (X70).

If you’re paying attention, traces of the turn-of-the-century Viennese Art Nouveau (Wiener Jugendstil) art and design movement are visible throughout the Austrian capital city.

A painting.
A sculpture.
A building.
A clock.
A church.
A building mural.
A staircase, with railings and light fixtures.
The front facade of an apartment block.
The entrance pavilion to the municipal railway.
A decorative structure marking the exit/end of a river’s diverted route underneath the city.

I provide ten visual examples below, all of which are accessible with public transport.


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My Vienna: Shoah Wall of Names Memorial

Above/featured: Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names memorial site).

I drag my fingers gently down each stone block, across the fine indentations and the print of countless names.
I give quiet voice to names of people I see.

In Vienna’s 9th district is a small green space, Ostarrichi Park, in front of the Österreichische Nationalbank (Austrian National Bank). The park is home to the Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names Memorial), dedicated to over 64-thousand Austrian Jews murdered during the Nazi regime. Public inauguration of the memorial occurred on 9 November 2021 on the 83rd anniversary of the Pogromnacht. The establishment and realization of the memorial has been a lifelong project for Vienna-born Kurt Yakov Tutter, who with his family fled to Belgium in 1930. He made a new home in Toronto, Canada, where in 2000 he began working to create a memorial to murdered Austrian Jews. The historical significance of the memorial means the City of Vienna and the Austria National Fund are jointly responsible for maintenance of the memorial.

The names of over 64-thousand children, women, and men are engraved onto 160 slabs of granite; the slabs are arranged in an oval ring. Within the open and uncovered space, visitors to the memorial can walk briskly past each vertical block, but the air is thick with names.

Selma ABZUG, geboren/born 1886
Ernst ADLER, geb./b. 1904
David ALBRECHT, geb./b. 1871
Grete ALTMANN, geb./b. 1928
.
.
.

Therese WEISZ, geb./b. 1867
Eva WELLISCH, geb./b. 1933
Alfred WERTHEIM, geb./b. 1920
Edmund WESTFRIED, geb./b. 1890

… We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experience, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It happened; therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.

— Primo Levi: Italian chemist, Holocaust survivor, and author.

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My Vienna: Aspang Station Deportation Memorial

“Well into the 1970s, the area around present-day Leon Zelman Park was the site of the Aspang Railway Station, which was built in 1880–1881 as a terminal for the regional Vienna-Aspang-Pitten rail line. Despite its relatively central location in the city’s 3rd district, the station served only regional rail traffic and was not very busy. These were likely reasons why after the “Anschluss” the Nazis chose this station for deportation transports.

Two transport trains departed in October 1939 with 1584 Jewish men deported to Nisko in the Lublin District of the General Governorate of occupied Poland as a failed attempt to create the Lublin reservation for expelled European Jews. Much larger deportations resumed from February 1941 to October 1942. 45451 Austrian-Jewish men and women were deported on a total of 45 transport trains to ghettos and extermination sites in (what are now) Czechia, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia.

In Vienna, the cynically-named Nazi ‘Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung’ (Central Agency for Jewish Emigration) organized deportation efforts including forced captivity and assembly or collection points. Four internment stations were established in the city’s 2nd district where prisoners were abused and stripped of their possessions. For every transport, about one thousand people were driven to Aspang Station in uncovered trucks, in plain and open sight of the city’s population.

Of the 47035 Jewish men and women deported from Aspang Railway Station, only 1073 (2%) survived, according to the research by Austrian historian Jonny Moser, himself a survivor of the Holocaust/Shoah. In total, more than 65-thousand Austrian Jews fell victim; most of them began their road to their deaths at Aspang Station.”

•   Paraphrased from Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien (Art in public spaces Vienna).

After the war and Allied-occupation period, little was done to improve the station and its tracks. The station was closed in 1971 and the station building was demolished by 1977. The turn of the millennium provided momentum to both city and the national rail company for redevelopment of the area, including apartment blocks, green space, and a memorial. Today, the former railway station is Leon Zelman Park, named after Dr. Leon Zelman who established in 1980 the Jewish Welcome Service Vienna and led the organization until his passing in 2007. The inauguration of the deportation memorial occurred on 7 September 2017 with full opening to the public on the following day.


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My Vienna: 22 urban frames for 2022

Above/featured: “The first Sunday.” Karlsplatz, 1st district – 15 May 2022.

Earlier in the year, I spent four weeks in Vienna, soaking in late-spring and early-summer weather in Austria’s capital city. I highlighted 3 images and scenes which in addition to time spent left personal impressions. Below, I highlight in a “last chance effort” an additional 22 visual examples of the urbanity in Wien, folding in splashes of colour, lines of focus, and accessibility to good timing.

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Königsufer, Augustusbrücke, Dresdner Altstadt, Sächsisches Ständehaus, Residenzschloss, Kathedrale Sanctissimae Trinitatis, Elbe river, Dresden, Saxony, Sachsen, Deutschland, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, fifty-two

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

21 December 2012.

Coming to a close is my time in Berlin, as well as my year on the road. It’s (northern) winter solstice, and I’ve decided to make a quick day trip south to Dresden. Because of limited daylight compounded by overcast skies, it’s no surprise my time here is too short, and I make a note to come back (which I make good 3 years later). Meanwhile, with fading light on Königsufer on the bank of the Elbe river, I get a brilliant view of Dresden’s Old Town, highlighted at centre by the Sächsisches Ständehaus, Residenzschloss (palace), and Kathedrale Sanctissimae Trinitatis (cathedral); Augustusbrücke bridge is at right.

I made the image on 21 Dec 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/10-sec, f/4, ISO800, and 18mm focal length (29mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-nfJ.

Marienbrücke, Inn river, Inn, Passau, Niederbayern, Bayern, Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, fifty-one

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

13 December 2012.

From Munich, I’m on a day trip to Passau, known regionally as the Dreiflüssestadt (three rivers city). Passau is where the Inn river and Ilz river both merge with the Danube, before the latter flows into Austria and beyond. Mid-afternoon light and a recent dusting of snow casts a glow onto the buildings in the city’s Old Town. That’s some brilliant colour in this east view from the Marienbrücke bridge over the Inn.

I made the image on 13 Dec 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/500-sec, f/8, ISO200, 18mm focal length (29mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mKc.

My Vienna: Imperial Court Pavilion Hietzing (O. Wagner)

Above/featured: Facing east, a U4 train departs Hietzing station to terminus Heiligenstadt.

Along Vienna’s U4 metro line, a dark-domed white cube-like structure seems to float over the tracks between Schönbrunn and Hietzing stations. Most may not realize the building’s relevance to the history of the city’s first railway, the city’s rapid urban evolution into the 20th-century, and the railway architect’s eventual “break away” transition from historicism to modernism.

Vienna was going to look very different after 1890. The city undertook its second and greatest expansion, absorbing 6 outer districts and ballooning the total population to almost 1.4 million (almost doubled in 10 years). The city’s administration recognized the challenge of efficiently transporting people between its new outer suburbs and the inner city. In 1894, Vienna appointed architect Otto Wagner with the complete design and construction of the new Wiener Stadtbahn metropolitan railway. The railway saw the creation of four new lines: the Danube canal line (Donaukanallinie), the “Belt” line (Gürtellinie), the suburb line (Vorortlinie), and the Vienna river valley line (Wientallinie). Today, the city’s U-Bahn U4 and U6 lines and the S-Bahn S45 line operate electrified over much of the original routing.

The Vienna valley line brought track and construction in front of Schönbrunn, the imperial summer palace for the ruling Habsburgs. The rail line’s new Schönbrunn station was located at the northeast corner of the palace grounds. But at the grounds’ northwest corner, Wagner created two stations: one for the public, and one for the Habsburgs. Built for the inauguration of the city railway on 1 June 1898, the imperial pavilion was set aside for the emperor, family, and staff. Emperor Franz Josef I only used the pavilion twice, as he was reluctant (hostile) to accept rapid changes brought by modernity.

Wagner created a domed-building whose interior was furnished with floral and vegetal elements in the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style, a painting with a bird’s eye view of the city over Schönbrunn, a private suite for the emperor; and whose exterior included the uniform green and white colours seen throughout the entire rail network, glass and wrought-iron elements, and a separate portal providing a covered entrance for the imperials. Out of the many station buildings Wagner designed for the entire system, the imperial pavilion at Hietzing is most associated with the “historical” architectural style. The building is now a part of the city’s Wien Museum after successful post-war efforts to save and restore the structure.

The informal name is the “Hofpavillon Hietzing” (Imperial Court Pavilion Hietzing), but the building’s formal name is “Pavillon des kaiserlichen und königlichen Allerhöchsten Hofes” (Pavilion of the Imperial and Royal Highest Court). In the images below are divided sections: “exterior”, “interior”, and “sketches”.

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My Vienna: Armenian Mekhitarist Community (since 1810)

From outside, the buildings don’t look particularly special. But they tell a tale of extraordinary migration: beginning in Armenia and ending here in Vienna’s 7th district, by way of present-day Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

At the corner of Neustiftgasse and Mechitaristengasse is a set of buildings for the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation.

If I’m in the city for a month, my curiosity demands to learn more. Through e-mail and by phone, I inquire with the monastery’s contact person about a visit, and I’m instructed to join a group of Americans for a guided tour.


Armenian Mekhitarists

The Mekhitarists are an order of Benedictine monks of the Armenian Catholic Church founded by Mekhitar Petrosean from Sebaste (now Sivas). Since 1810, the Mekhitarists established (a second) headquarters in Vienna, whose modern presence includes monastery, church, museum, and a library containing the world’s third largest collection of Armenian manuscripts.

Understanding the sustaining power of the printed word to a fragile culture, Mekhitar and the order’s monks created a complete dictionary of the Armenian language. The first volume of the “Dictionary of Classical Armenian Language” (ԲԱՌԳԻՐՔ ՀԱՅԿԱԶԵԱՆ ԼԵԶՈՒԻ) was published after his death in 1749, and the second volume appeared in 1769. In 1837, the New Dictionary of Classical Armenian Language was published, whose contents have now been digitized.

With my love of books since childhood, I’m regularly on the look for (sources of) old manuscripts, which is obvious in the images below.

By tour’s end, I have a few quiet minutes for a couple of questions.

Q1. How many Armenians are there in Austria?
A1. With a total population of almost 9 million, Austria is home to about 8000 Armenians, of which about 5000 live in Vienna.

Q2. Who was Deodat/Diodato?
A2. Diodato was an Armenian merchant whose birth name was Owanes Astouatzatur. He is credited with opening Vienna’s first licensed coffee house in 1685. Today, that location happens to be occupied by another café with a memorial plaque inside.


Mekhitarist Timeline

•   1701: Mekhitar of Sebaste (1676–1749) establishes congregation in Constantinople (now Istanbul).
•   1706: Move to Greece’s Methon; new monastery established.
•   1717: Move to San Lazzaro, one of Venice’s islands.
•   1773: 2nd group breaks away from Venice, establishing monastery in Trieste in the Habsburg empire.
•   1775: Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa’s “Privilege” guarantees Armenian colony with permanent status.
•   1805: Napoleon seizes Trieste as French territory; Trieste’s Mekhitarists flee to Vienna.
•   1810: Habsburg Emperor Franz I grants Triestine Mekhitarists permission to settle in Vienna.
•   1811: Mekhitarists establish presence in Vienna’s St. Ulrich.
•   1811–1873, 1889–1898: Book printing press by the Mekhitarists in Vienna.
•   1837: after 1835 fire, new construction designed by Josef Kornhäusel begins in Neubau.
•   1874: Site expansion includes new church, also by Kornhäusel.
•   2000: The Venice and Vienna chapters reunite into single Mekhitarist order.


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Hinternentblösser, Münster, Minster, Cathedral, Freiburger Dom, Freiburg im Breisgau, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, forty-eight

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

27 November 2012.

Commonly found along the rooftop of cathedrals are stone gargoyles which are sculptural water spouts funnelling water down from the roof and away from the sides of the building. In southwestern Germany’s Freiburg im Breisgau, the south side of the cathedral (Minster, Münster) includes a rather “cheeky” gargoyle, the “Hinternentblösser” (butt-flasher). At minimum scandalous and most definitely a very pointed comment, it’s frankly amazing to see this butt-tastic sculpture remain as cathedral ornamentation.

I made the image on 27 Nov 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/20-sec, f/5.6, ISO200, and 55mm focal length (88mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mIl.

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