Kärtner Strasse, Vienna

Donner Fountain, Kartner StrasseDonner Fountain, Kartner Strasse
Vienna's most elegant shopping street leads from Stephansplatz to the Staatsoper on the Ring and ends at Karlsplatz. Since 1974 it has been a pedestrian precinct as far as Walfischgasse, with lime trees, pavement cafes, traditional and fashionable shops, elegant boutiques and busy shopping arcades. It is named after the southern state of Kärnten (Carinthia) and seen from the Stephansdom it runs in a southerly direction. Beneath the junction of Kärtner Strasse and the Ring lies the Opernpassage, Vienna's first underground pedestrian area opened in 1955 with shops and snack bars. In contrast with the nearby side streets Kärtner Strasse, documented as early as 1257 under the name "Strata Carinthianorum" and widened in the 70s, has very few historic buildings, most of them are 18th C., including Nos. 4, 6 and 17 with interesting facades. Only the Maltese church still has a few features dating back to 1265. Inside there are numerous coats of arms of Knights of Malta as well as the 1806 stucco monument with Turkish figures on either hand to the memory of Jean de la Valette, the Grand Master who defended Malta against the Turks in 1565. The oldest building is the Palais Esterházy (No. 41) from 1698 which houses the extravagant fashion house Adlmüller where Viennese high society purchase their clothes. Closeby are fashion shops with clothes by such famous designers as Jil Sander, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Burberrys, Daks and Fiorucci with prices to match. Traditional folk costumes, evening dresses, young fashion and sportswear are all represented. No. 26 the J.& L. Lobmeyr china and glass house has a glass museum on the upper floor which is open during business hours. The Viennese Tourist Board has its offices at No. 38. A relaxing break from shopping can be taken in the elegant surroundings of the cafe of the legendary Hotel Sacher on the corner of Philharmonikerstrasse where a slice of the famous "Sachertorte" can be sampled.


Annagasse, which turns off right from Kärntnerstrasse in Vienna, is a narrow thoroughfare which is a reminder of what Vienna looked like in the 18th C. The lane existed as early as the 14th C., when it was called "Pippingerstrasse", and there was a chapel already on the site now occupied by the Annakirche. There are some fine old houses here: the 17th C. Esterhazy Palace, (No. 2), Kremsmünsterhof (No. 4), Herzogenburgerhof (No. 6), Hotel Maibergerhof (No. 7), Deybel- or Täublerhof (No. 8) which was a school for artists and engravers before the Academy of Fine Arts der Bildenden was opened, "Zum Blauen Karpfen" hotel, rebuilt by Ehmann in 1814 (No. 14) with noteworthy reliefs by Josef Klieber and the renowned hotel "Zum Römischen Kaiser" (No. 16).

Church of St Anne

The Church of St Anne in Annagasse was built in the 15th C. in the Gothic style. It was founded by Elisabeth Wartenauer, the wife of a burgher of Vienna. In the 17th C. the original church was rebuilt, and in 1715 it was refurbished in the Baroque style. It belonged successively to the Poor Clares and to the Jesuits, before being handed over in 1897 to the Oblates of St Francis of Assisi. The church has a ceiling painting and a picture above the High Altar, both by Daniel Gran. The wood-carving of Anne, above the first altar on the left, is ascribed to the Nuremberg Master, Veit Stoss, the original can be seen in the Dom and Diözesan Museum. Devotion to St Anne has deep roots in Vienna. The church has in its keeping as a precious relic the hand of the Saint in a rich Baroque setting which is exhibited every year on July 26 for her followers.
Address: Annagasse 3b, Austria

Neuer Markt

From 1220 onwards the "New Viennese Market place" served as a corn and vegetable market, as the site for jousting, as an arena for mountebanks such as Hans Wurst, and as a place where the Court and nobility could come to skate. Today it is a large parking lot and a feeder for the Kärnterstrasse pedestrian zone. The oldest remaining houses date from the 18th C. No. 14 is a Baroque bourgeois house, No. 25 was formerly the residence of the piano virtuoso Mayseder, and No. 27 is known as the "Herrnhuter House". From 1795 to 1796 Joseph Haydn lived where No. 2 now stands, and it was there that he wrote the Austrian national anthem. The Kapuzinerkirche dominates the west side of the square.

Donner Fountain

In 1737-39 Georg Raphael Donner was commissioned by the city to construct the Providentia Fountain, which is better known in Vienna as the Donner Fountain (Donner-Brunnen). The city fathers desired that the central figure of Providentia should reflect the concept of the caring and wise government of the city. Donner decorated its plinth with four graceful naked cherubs. The figures on the edge of the fountain's basin symbolize the Rivers Enns (an old man), Traun (a youth), Ybbs and March (both in female form). Empress Maria Theresa objected to so much nakedness and had the figures removed, and it was 1801, during the reign of Francis II, before they were replaced. In 1873 the lead figures were so decayed that they had to be replaced by bronze replicas. Donner's originals are now on show in the Baroque Museum at the Belvedere Palaces.

Capuchin Church

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