Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts from the ‘Summer’ category

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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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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My Vienna: Habsburg favourite Tafelspitz, at Plachutta Hietzing

What appears to be a plate of slow simmered beef is anything but “simple”.

Tafelspitz is a dish with a lot going on,” said Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner to the New York Times in 2002. “It’s hot, cold, spicy, creamy, crunchy and soft.”

Eaten daily by Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916), the dish is well-known among Vienna favourites. Among members of the Jewish community of the time, the Tafelspitz was a beloved symbol of assimilation in late 19th-century/early 20th-century Vienna.

Reading about the description for Tafelspitz brings about a sharp childhood memory of a soup made by Mum. Tender chunks of chuck roast, accompanied by carrots, potatoes, celery, shards of ginger root, and often with apple to provide extra sweet; cooked slow and simmering in a huge pot on the stovetop for hours. The resulting soup was a meal on its own, or served as a final course at dinner.

Plachutta is well-known among the Viennese for making some of the best Tafelspitz in the city. A big Plachutta is located centrally in the inner city, but I head west to the city’s 13th district for their original Stammhaus location in Hietzing. It’s fitting somehow that the Hietzing location is close to the Habsburg summer palace at Schönbrunn.

The images show a wonderful spread with the Tafelspitz dish with my choice of the Tafelspitz or rump steak cut. I started with the long slow simmered soup broth, ladled out into a bowl with big chunks of egg frittata. And provided within a bowl of soup are the specific details of family: nourishing, caring, satisfying.

After a section of slow-cooked bone is presented, I spread the soft gelatinous marrow onto slices of toasted dark bread, topped with salt and pepper. Next, slices of moist tender slow-cooked beef are laid onto a plate, along with crunchy fried potatoes, creamed spinach, apple-horseradish sauce, and chive sauce.

Certainly, I paid a little more for the meal, but the Plachutta Tafelspitz was a great dining experience, providing a new memory of Viennese cuisine, combined with a family memory of Cantonese-style home-cooked food.


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My Fuji X70 recipes: Fujichrome Slide & Kodak Platinum 200

Above/featured: 1st Narrows, from John Lawson Pier.

My Fujifilm X70 mirrorless fixed-lens prime camera has been a big plus for photography at domestic and international locations. The built-into-camera film-simulations (e.g., Provia, Velvia) work beautifully in standard settings, but as I’ve never had a film camera, the advent of “camera recipes” to produce additional film-like settings stimulated interest in different colour or pictorial representations.

So far, I’ve tested these Fujifilm film-simulation (“film-sim”) recipes:

•   Ektachrome 100SW (saturated warm), simulating images with the Kodak colour transparency or slide films produced 1996–2002;
•   Kodachrome 64, simulating images with the Kodak colour film produced between the mid-1970s and 2009;
•   Kodacolor, “producing classic Kodak analog aesthetic closest to early-1980s Kodacolor VR200 colour film that’s been overexposed.”


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My Vienna: an outsider’s view, from 1 to 23

Above/featured: Aspern lake at the Aspern Seestadt housing development in the 22nd district. At right in the background to the north are the Danube Tower and northern hills. Photo, 7 Jun 2022.

From early-2002 to mid-2003, I lived and worked in Heidelberg, and I travelled to Vienna at least six times across all seasons for collaboration work between MPIA and the University of Vienna. Unfortunately, I didn’t own a camera, and I have zero images from that time. “Oiiida.”

After a 15-year pause, I returned to Vienna for one week in May 2018 for the 100-year anniversary of Vienna Modernism. I brought 2 cameras, and I made a few photographs here and there. I’ve always needed more, and four years later in May 2022, I stayed in Vienna for four weeks.

The historic bread- and pastry-making company, Anker, once had a motto known among the Viennese:

Worauf freut sich der Wiener, wenn er vom Urlaub kommt? Auf Hochquellwasser und Ankerbrot.
To what do the Viennese look forward after returning from vacation? Spring water and Ankerbrot.

For all of us who’re visitors to Vienna, I put forward the modified question:

Worauf freut sich ein(e) Besucher(in), wenn man nach Wien kommt?
To what does a visitor look forward in Vienna?

There are many answers for many people. There’s art, coffee, Jugendstil, music, wine; these are only five in a lengthy list. Vienna is more than a desirable visitor location; the city reclaimed the top spot in the The Economist’s EIU Global Liveability Index for 2022.

I got to explore at least one point of interest in each of the city’s 23 Bezirke or districts. Not only did I spend a lot of time in the inner city or 1st district, but I also made my fair share in the 6th, 9th, 18th, and 19th districts. Below I provide from each of the city’s 23 districts a couple of personal highlights which may be of interest to both resident and visitor. There are more interesting locations, about which I’ll describe separately in future posts.


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My Vienna: Beethovenhaus Heuriger Mayer am Pfarrplatz

Above/featured: “Beethovenhaus” Heuriger Mayer am Pfarrplatz. Pfarrplatz square, Heiligenstadt, in Vienna Döbling (19.)

It’s a nation-wide holiday on the 26th of May (2022): Ascension of Christ (Christi Himmelfahrt). On a bright and warm late-spring day, people are out and about, and very few shops are open.

I’m halfway through my month-long stay in Vienna, and today, I’m in the city’s 19th district, Döbling, where in his time Beethoven spent many summers resting, composing, and contemplating life with total hearing loss. I’ve spent the morning wandering through the Heiligenstadt neighbourhood, including a visit to one of his summer residences that’s now a museum dedicated to Beethoven. Not far down the street is another Beethoven summer house that’s now a wine tavern or “Heuriger”. A hanging bunch of pine branches at the front door means this tavern is open for service, with food and their own wine on offer.

The Austrian capital city is home to the world’s largest “urban vineyard” and is the world’s only capital city producing wine within its city limits. There are some 600 wine producers; 400 individual vineyards; over 7 million square metres (75 million square feet) of cultivation space producing both white and red wines in a 80/20 split, respectively; and an average annual yield of 2 million litres or over 2.5 million bottles of wine. Most of the wine is sold for immediate consumption at wine shops and grocery stores, and at the city’s many wine taverns.

Inside the front entrance is an open courtyard decorated by braids of green vine leaves. 1pm on a holiday is going to be busy, and most tables in shade in the outdoor patio are occupied. I don’t intend to linger; so, I take an open spot under sun. A waiter comes by and asks if there’s something I’d like to drink. I request an “Achtel” (“eighth”, 125mL) of Mayer’s own 2021 Grüner Veltliner, and ask whether’s a buffet today. The food counters are around the corner, he replies, handing me a slip of paper with my assigned-table number. I can pay for the food upon ordering at the counter, or I can pay when I’m done. Inside, there’s the unmistakable glow and refrigerated chill of the food counters. There are salads of the German/Austrian kind (no much of the green leafy kind, though); pickles and Sauerkraut; fatty, meaty, cheesy spreads for bread; the “usual suspects” including pan-fried potatoes, roast-pork and -chicken, sausage, blood sausage; cold cuts and cheeses; and naturally, a dessert display.

I’m not gonna eat too much or fill up on carbs on this very warm afternoon. Keeping it simple, I’ve a tomato and onion salad, to go with a pork Bratwurst, a meat patty (Faschierte Laibchen/Frikadellen), and a big juicy slice of caraway-roasted pork (Kummelbraten). Staff behind the counter ask if I want “Saft” (gravy/juices) with the meat choices. “Ja, bitte!

The tomato and onion mix is a little sweet and sour. This along with the smooth yet sharpness of the wine provide a lighter taste balance to the “heavier” meat portions. The Bratwurst and meat patty are very good, but the Kummelbraten. Oh, the Kummelbraten. The outside is crunchy-chewy (knackig), and the pork is juicy (saftig) and delicious (gewürzt). It’s a style of old-fashioned cooking my parents would have recognized and enjoyed.

The tavern provides a cozy setting. People are shuttling between their tables and the food counters, and there’s a happy murmur to the conversations around me. The young and old fill up tables in both front- and back-garden seating areas. In my view, it’s a pricey meal for one person; yet, I was tempted by the Cremeschnitte on display. However, I also think sharing a variety of food and splitting a bottle of their white vine among a group of people would be a fun spread for an afternoon or evening.


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