Vienna Calling

In less than a month we’ll be heading to Vienna and Munich (oops, Wien and München) for a couple of weeks. Spanish dancing horses and a few palaces/museums are on our list, but feel free to leave suggestions in the comments about places of particular interest for early modern military history. Intact star fortresses are particularly appreciated (I’ve got a video to record). And no, we won’t be venturing out to Blindheim.

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One response to “Vienna Calling”

  1. Erik Lund says :

    The thing about Vienna is that it’s two cities, both descended from a former imperial capital. One comes out of the cultural production of empire: it’s the tourist town. it’s got dancing stallions and musicians who are just so sick and tired of playing the night music. (Also, museums and palaces. And statues and cathedrals: The Karlskirche and the Radetzky Denkmal are the ones that stick out for me, plus the Schonbrunn, although that was much the company as the edifice.)

    The other city is a masterwork of military/civil engineering. That part doesn’t really declare itself to the world very much, although you can go see a preserved bastion (or two, I think?) here and there in the city. Big digs aren’t texts, and Vienna is a very, very big dig. I probably don’t have to spell it out, but they paved over the old fortifications and built a lot of Useful Things in the space opened up the impromptu urban renewal, and I’m not just referring to the Ringstrasse, although it’s what everyone notices, because it runs through palace-and-museum-and-concert-hall country.

    If you try to walk out to the battlefields of Aspern-Essling and Wagram, you’ll get a good taste of just how colossal the “New Danube” scheme is; although you’ll also fail (rent bikes?) so I wouldn’t recommend it. Riding the subways, some of which are cut into the old works, will give you a sense of the interplay of roads, waterways and fortification lines.

    Going up to the top of the Wienerwald is good for making you want to tell Poles to get over thems– I mean, I hear the view’s quite nice.

    So in terms of concrete advice (get it? “Concrete”?) I’d say, spend some time riding the subways. They’re cool. Although not so much the U4 out to the new Kriegsarchiv, unfortunately.

    Congrats on your promotion, by the way, Jamal.

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