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Posts tagged ‘Neubau’

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” (圆员諏猿曰諓諗 諃员諈钥员远缘员諉 约缘远請諕曰) 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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Eisfuchs, Eis, ice cream, Neubau, Wien, Vienna, Austria, 脰sterreich, fotoeins.com

My Vienna: Eisfuchs specialty ice-cream in the 7.

Above/featured: Eisfuchs, at Neubaugasse 31 – 1 Jun 2022 (X70).

I’m on a 4-week stint in Vienna in late-spring/early-summer. Days are getting warmer, and I’m search of “Eis”. There are no shortage of ice cream shops in Vienna; trick is finding a really good one.

Out of their many recommendations, my host has pointed out Eis-Fuchs (“ice fox”), a small ice cream shop in the 7th district, known to residents local and across the city, but little recognized outside of Vienna.

That’s my kinda place.

All of their ice cream is made “in house,” and while they’ve got a list of favourites, they have a selection of “seasonal” varieties, which are made in small batches which last from a few days to a week or two. My favourite flavours are “Cheesecake Marille” (apricot cheesecake) and “Tarte au Citron” (lemon tart). The dessert is rich and creamy, and the fruit provides a refreshing tart edge.

With the 2nd visit, I promise the woman behind the counter I’ll visit more regularly. At the next visit, she nods at me in recognition and we chat a little about the ice cream: the variety of flavours and their production. With my final visit, I announce with some regret that my time in Vienna is ending, and I must return to Canada; I leave the shop with a double scoop of deliciousness.


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