Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts from the ‘Spring’ 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: 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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22 for 22: Foto(ein)s for 2022

Above/featured: Vienna skyline from Kleinwasserkraftwerk Wehr I in early morning light. Photo, 7 Jun 2022.

For 2022, the act of looking forward and backward is dominated by a 4-week stay in the city of Vienna. In between the collected images is a reclaimed longing for the Austrian capital to which I was first introduced 20 years ago, but for which there was no camera and, sadly, no recorded pixels.

I’ve already described a set of images setting the urban scenes in Vienna from 2022. Below is an additional set of 22 images selected from a period of 35 days; the time interval represents only 10% of the year, but it appears to be a personally important “watershed moment” as well.


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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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Bo-Kaap, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, South Africa, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, forty-three

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

15 October 2012.

Deep pastel colours on one-storey houses are a signature for Cape Town’s “Bo-Kaap” (“Upper Cape”, in Afrikaans). I follow around the contours of Signal Hill to its southeastern slope; an easy walk into the neighbourhood has me constantly turning my head from one vivid house to the next. Known formerly as the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap was home to the Cape’s Malay and Muslim population from the 18th-century. After their emancipation, freed slaves began settling in this area of town in the 1830s, and it’s believed they painted their houses as independent and joyous expressions of their freedom. The image here is at the intersection of Wale Street and Chiappini Street, reflecting the neighbourhood’s history for openness and diversity.

I made the photo above on 15 Oct 2012 with a Canon EOS450D/Rebel XSi and the following settings: 1/500-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 23mm focal length (37mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-jtL.

Leopoldsberg, 19. Bezirk, Döbling, Wien, Vienna, Austria, Österreich, fotoeins.com

My Vienna: 1 capital city, 4 Danubes


Above/featured: Southeast view from Leopoldsberg in the city’s 19th district. Visible are the waters of the Old Danube, New Danube, Danube, and the Danube Canal. Photo, 1 Jun 2022.

Vienna loves the Danube so much that the city now has four water features with the label “Donau”.

  • Alte Donau (Old Danube)
  • Donau (Danube)
  • Donaukanal (Danube Canal)
  • Neue Donau (New Danube)

All of it is thanks to the regulation of the Danube river after the city of Vienna and the surrounding region had to put up with frequent flooding. Vienna embarked on works of flood-control engineering in two major periods of construction: 1870 to 1875, and 1972 to 1988.

Once a former arm of the river, the Old Danube is now a closed body of water, a crescent-shaped lake that’s been cutoff by the “linearization” of the Danube. A former natural arm of the river, the Danube Canal was regulated for the first time around 1600. Most visitors will encounter the Danube Canal which is best integrated with the city with the appearance of multiple road and rail crossings and the canal’s reach with 7 of the 23 city’s districts. The Danube river proper was completely regulated and straightened during the second engineering period, which also saw construction of the New Danube as a secondary flood channel in parallel with the primary river.


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Hout Bay, Hout Bay Beach, Constantiaberg, Cape Town, South Africa, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, forty-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.

14 October 2012.

At the southern tip of Africa, hopping on the City Sightseeing double-decker bus has proved efficient and convenient. Sure, it’s “touristy”. Sure, the double-decker bus sticks out with its bold colours. But the company’s “blue” route was a straightforward way to go from Cape Town south to Hout Bay.

For an early spring day in mid-October, conditions were cool and breezy, as expected for an area where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans converge. Next to Constantiaberg mountain, marine cloud spills from the top down into the bay. There’s time for a brisk walk along the beach, and there’s time to head inside and eat some fresh fish.

I made the photo above on 14 Oct 2012 with a Canon EOS450D/Rebel XSi and the following settings: 1/500-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 21mm focal length (34mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-kEd.

Dudley Page Reserve, Dover Heights, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, forty-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.

8 October 2012.

In Sydney, Australia, I leave the crowds behind in the Central Business District area (CBD, and go out to the Eastern Suburbs. With train and bus I end up at the Dudley Page Reserve with an unobstructed view of the CBD. Appearing from the left edge to the right edge are: Sydney Tower Eye, the “sails” of the Opera House, and the familiar arch of the city’s Harbour Bridge; the direct line-of-sight distance from the park in Dover Heights is over 6 km.

The image above is also the cover picture for my photobook, “Sydney: A Common Sight”.

I made the image on 8 Oct 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/800-sec, f/5.6, ISO200, 55mm focal length (88mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mAq.

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