Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stephansdom, Vienna and Eisenstadt

Lots of cafes line the streets of the city

The main nave of the church looking
towards the high alter
After another excellent buffet breakfast we had a short walking tour of the city, mainly St. Stephen's Cathedral. Based upon 2 ruined churches, the first one built in 1147, the current Romanesque & Gothic one was largely completed in the 14th C. During WWII the German city commandant ordered it's destruction as they were abandoning the city. Happily a Captain Klinkicht disregarded the order!
We had a short time to have lunch at a quiet outdoor cafe near the river before again boarding the buses for an afternoon visit to Eisenstadt and the Bergkirche. It's all about Hayden and the Esterhazy family there. Hayden spent more than 30 years working for this family, mostly here. Shortly after his death in 1809 his head was stolen by phrenologists and only reunited with his body in 1954 - stranger than fiction! We visited his tomb and then walked over to the Palace for a brief tour. On the way our guide took us through the former Jewish area - the last self governed Jewish settlement in Europe. Jews came here with the Romans and after the expulsion from Vienna in 1670-71, they found refuge here under the Esterhazy family. This area became the center of Jewish learning and scholarship until the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938. We passed the Jewish Museum - the first one in Austria after 1945. I would rather have visited this then the palace we toured next - nice as it was.
Then it was back to the hotel where we had time to swim and sun bath before dinner in the hotel that night. Many attended a concert in the city but Scott and I opted to enjoy a quiet evening. We walked down to the river and around the area, getting quite lost for awhile, but having fun.
This is the front entrance with the famous
"Giant's Door" named for the thighbone of a
Mastodon that hung over it for decades!

Tomb of Emperor Frederick III

These lizards and toads bitting each other represent the fight
between good and evil. At the top a stone puppy guards the
preacher against evil.

This is the pulpit, a masterwork of late Gothic
Sculpture - that's it's railing on the right here.

We saw many Middle Eastern origin citizens or visitors throughout
Austria, many in full burkas.

The charming little town of Eisenstadt, seat of the Esterhazy

Hayden lived here for 30 years and was buried
in the small church of Bergkirche.

This organ was played by both Hayden and Beethoven and was
used to premier a number of famous pieces.
His tomb where he now totally lies

We were sorry not to have time for this museum!

The entrance to the Esterhazy Palace area, beautiful restaurant
over on the right - no time, sigh!

The front of the Palace

The town looked so inviting but again, no time. Organized tours
have their place but if it wasn't for the concert aspect, we'd be
on our own as usual.

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