Did you know you can live in Schönbrunn? Or that Sisi was quite the coke head?
Well, we thought you might get a kick out of these 17 random and lesser-known facts about Vienna:
1.) The original Bambi story that was made into that Disney film was written in Vienna by an Austrian writer, Felix Salten.
It’s no accident that many will watch Bambi and think – whoa! that’s heavy stuff for kids! – especially when Bambi’s mum is shot by a hunter. Salten was an Austrian Jew who wrote Bambi in the aftermath of World War I. It’s believed that Café Griensteidl is where some of the writing took place
2.) You can adopt a rose in the Volksgarten, or the Schlosspark Schönbrunn
For the bargain price of 350€, you can own a rose in Vienna’s Volksgarten for 5 years, or 650€ for 10 years. There’s a waiting list, but imagine that moment when you lean in to a tourist taking a selfie in front of it and say – ‘That’s my rose, ain’t she beautiful!’ #proudparent
3.) There is a walking trail that encircles the whole of Vienna.
It’s 120km long and is called, Rundumadum.
4.) The snow globe was invented in Vienna.
Move over Edison and your lightbulb – one of the big time inventions in human history happened in Vienna: the snow globe! We mean, does a lightbulb look as beautiful as a snow globe when you shake it?! These globes of joy entertain people for hours! Well, they did, before smart phones came along and stole their thunder.
There’s a museum telling the whole story in the 17th district (find more info, here).
5.) Vienna’s historical celebrities, Empress Sisi and Freud, were coke heads
Ok, maybe ‘coke heads’ is a bit of an exaggeration, however, they did enjoy a good dose of ye’ old nose candy. It’s said that Sisi never left home without blow and a syringe in her royal purse. But to be fair, during her time, using cocaine to relieve medical conditions was common practice, so it’s not like she was snorting it off of a toilet lid in a Starbuck’s bathroom. Freud, on the other hand, liked to experiment on himself with drugs and see what happens. So, pretty much like most teenagers giving coke a go.
6.) The creation of the croissant (kinda’, pretty much, almost 79%) happened in Vienna
Ok, before all the Frenchies hit the streets in protest, here’s the thing. It’s said that the croissant was inspired by the other half-moon shaped pastry, the Kipferl, which is said to have been invented in Vienna after, or during, the siege of the city by the Ottoman Turks back in the day. And the croissant’s design is based on the Kipferl, which was obviously (and arguably) invented in Vienna. So, there you go. We pretty much came up with the idea here in Vienna. That and soft cheese ( we apologise to all of the lovely French people reading this. We know this must be hard. And yes, we’re just teasing about the soft cheese thing ).
7.) There are more dead people ‘living’ in Vienna than living people. Ummm, wait a second.
In the Zentralfriedhof (Central cemetery of Vienna), there’s almost 3 million dead people buried there. Meanwhile, the population of Vienna is around 1.8 million, so if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, we’re outnumbered and pretty much f****.
8.) There was once a mummified human on display in the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum)
His name was Angelo Soliman, and he was born in what is today Nigeria/ Northern Cameroon. He lived for most of his adult life in Vienna, and was well known as a intellectual and a Freemason. Soliman was, at the request of the director of (what was then) the Imperial Natural History Collection, skinned, stuffed and made into an exhibit within a cabinet of curiosities. They decked out Soliman in ostrich feathers and glass beads and displayed his mummified body alongside stuffed animals until 1806. There’s actually a film based on Soliman’s story that’s recently been released. Trailer below:
9.) For 3 years, the Wurstelprater housed a little village, inhabited by so-called ‘little people,’ called the ‘Lilliput village.’
It had its own post office, wine tavern and other, umm, ‘little people’ conveniences – what the hell?!
10.) Karlsplatz used to be a river.
Well, it still has a river running through it, but it’s underground. Until a portion of the city was built over the Wienfluss in many areas of Vienna’s city center, it was a very important river to the inhabitants of the city who used it for all kinds of things, including bathing and washing clothes. It was also responsible to many outbreaks of cholera in the city.
You can check out the underground section of the river as part of the Third Man Tour, which is based on that famous Carol Reed film about a huge gorilla climbing the spires of Stephansdom with a pretty woman in his clutches, and beating his chest. Wait… we may be mixing our film trivia up.
11.) You can live it up like an Emperor or Empress by staying in Schönbrunn.
For a cool 500-1500 Euros a night, you can rent yourself a grand suite for a night in the Schönbrunn palace. And yes, you can dress up like an Emperor, or an Empress, if you like.
12.) The Donaukanal is home to around 30 endangered fish species
So they say. By ‘they,’ we mean several sites on the internet.
13.) Mark Twain lived almost 2 years in Vienna.
From 1897 – 1899, Twain did an Erasmus exchange program during which he did little study, slept with people of various nationalities from all over Europe, experimented with drugs, found the love of his life (which sadly ended at the end of the exchange semester), spent most of his Erasmus days with copious amounts of alcohol in his blood stream and experienced many crazy nights at the Travel Shack. OK, most of this info is untrue. Actually, the only part that is true is that he spent almost 2 years living in Vienna.
14.) The Karl Marx Hof in the 19th district is the longest social housing complex in the world
Good ol’ Karl would be so proud.
15.) There is a Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna
We’ll let you discover this one yourself. No spoilers.
16.) The Prater once housed a little Venice
© Wien Museum
Yep, that’s right – where the smell of Langos and the screams of rollercoaster-revellers now fills the air, the Prater had a little Venice, complete with water canals, gondolas, bridges and replicas of Venetian buildings.
17.) There’s a plaque in Vienna celebrating Stalin
On a hotel in Vienna’s 12th district, there’s a plaque that will make those who recognise the moustached head on it to do a double take. The plaque is one of the few memorials of the Soviet dictator on the Western side of the old Iron Curtain. It was put up there on Stalin’s birthday in 1949 after the war. Stalin did spend a bit of time in the house doing some writing.
Many have tried to get the plaque removed, however, a Treaty that was made post-war commits Austria to preserve and maintain Soviet monuments.