Not so long ago, Vienna was a rather gray and unwelcoming city. Apart from the inner city and a few leafy outskirts, there was little that pleased the eye. This has changed radically in the last few decades. Even former no-go zones such as the Gasometer or the Danube Canal are now lively urban areas that people appreciate to linger. Susanne Pleisnitzer has scoured the ORF archive for older recordings of corners of Vienna and shows how much the city has changed at these places. It's hard to imagine today how traffic worked before the subway was built, when cars were still roaring along Kärntnerstrasse and Stephansplatz.
A production of Clever Contents GmbH on behalf of ORF III
Genre | documentation
Design | Suzanne Pleisnitzer
Production Manager I Saskia Netousek
Length | 2 episodes x 45 minutes
Year of production | 2022
First broadcast | September 20 and September 27, 2022 on ORF III
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Vienna, the world-famous imperial city, where the houses, streets and alleys tell stories.
Stories from the monarchy, stories from the people and the nobility, from victories and defeats - and from events that still have an impact today.
Stories from different directions come together in many squares in Vienna.
For example at Josefsplatz - almost an inner courtyard of the Hofburg - which has been repeatedly changed over the centuries by the most prominent Habsburgs.
Or at the huge Karlsplatz, today's center, which not so long ago was still a natural landscape.
The outgoing monarchy and the early days of the city meet at Michaelerplatz.
Power and religion meet at the Freyung - and an age-old misunderstanding: Because here in the Schottenviertel there were never Scots.
Fashions and sensitivities, prosperity and poverty, fortunes and heydays: anyone who knows the stories about Vienna's squares will see them with completely new eyes.
On foot through Vienna's old town - the streets, lanes and squares tell of a time when the residential city was still surrounded by city walls and gates.
And they tell of Vienna's heyday, when these gates and walls fell under Emperor Franz Jospeh and the city became a magnificent metropolis.
Such as at the fateful Albertinaplatz, where the Kaiser narrowly escaped being murdered. The bastion gives an idea of what it felt like to stroll along the old city walls.
The history of the Neuer Markt takes us back to the Middle Ages - the square that is still the final resting place of the most famous Habsburg emperors and their closest relatives.
Here lie people who have helped to write Europe's history.
A true discovery is the inconspicuous Dr. Ignaz Seipel Platz, which used to be the heart of the old university district. An important university that was once the second largest in Central Europe!
Schwarzenbergplatz has made more recent history: it was here that the basis was negotiated that defines today's Austria: the state treaty that liberated the republic from the occupying powers of the Second World War.
Viennese squares and their stories:
With the careful preservation of monuments and the care of architectural gems, it is ensured that Austria's heritage will inspire future generations.
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