Vienna – what’s not to love about it? The splendid Austrian capital with its baroque buildings and unique elegance has been waiting for you. An inspiring place not only for us travelers, but also for plenty of creative geniuses who gave us remarkable pieces of art to make our days more pleasant.
And how can you not fall in love with this city, as its cultural heritage is mostly based on music? Great composers have lived and created their masterpieces here. Nowadays, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera keeps the city’s tradition alive by hosting several classical music concerts, more than any other city in the world.
One of the greatest composers whose life and art is strongly linked to Vienna is Ludwig van Beethoven. I bet there’s not much information needed, as we all have been repeatedly amazed by his incredible musical works.
Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll introduce you to 9 wonderful places where he lived, presented his mighty work, or just hung around. At the end of this tour, rest assured you’ll want to enjoy more of both the magic of the city and the magic of Beethoven’s music.
We’re starting our walk at the famous Stephansplatz, which we can easily get to on the U1 and U3 subway lines.
As we’re looking around, we can see the Stadtkonvikt building, a boarding school where Franz Schubert began his musical studies as a choir singer at 11 years old. The place is also hosting the Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften – ÖAW), a prominent research institution in Austria, where more than 1,100 employees work on diverse research areas. The members of this academy are researchers from Austria and abroad that make up a community of high professional competence. The special festive hall can be visited daily from 8 AM to 5 PM – be sure not to miss it.
A lot of exceptional musical events occurred here – one of them is the very last performance given by Josef Haydn. This was the place where the composer was also celebrated on his 76th anniversary with a special performance of his delightful creations.
“But where’s Beethoven in this entire story?,” you may ask. Well, did you know that he was Haydn’s student? Indeed – at Haydn’s anniversary, Beethoven (who was 38 years old at that time) attended, showing respect and consideration to his former teacher. Five years later, Beethoven returned here, but this time to celebrate the triumphant success of his Symphony No. 7.
Too bad he was already deaf by that time and unable to hear the enthusiastic applause.
Following our musical trail, we walk on Bäckerstrasse, to Stubenring. From this point, we can either continue walking or take tram 2 to Karlsplatz.
If we choose walking, we cross Stadtpark, admiring several statues of renowned musicians: Anton Bruckner, Franz Lehár, Robert Stolz, Franz Schubert and, of course, the Waltz King Johann Strauss. When Beethoven died, little Schani (the Viennese name for Johann) was barely 3 years old.
From the central Stadtpark, we walk across Lothringerstrasse Street and finally arrive at Beethovenpark (Beethoven Park), which was opened back in 1901. Beethoven’s statue is carefully guarding from the heart of the park and facing the Konzerthaus building (Concert House).
The statue was discovered in 1880. The one who made this discovery was another fellow musician, Franz Liszt (1811-1886), who donated all the proceeds of his last concert (16 March 1877) on the occasion of celebrating 50 years since Beethoven’s death, in order to complete the monument.
According to an anecdote, Beethoven was very pleased with Franz Liszt, congratulating and kissing his forehead after a piano recital — a special honor from the master, which motivated Liszt to continuously support Beethoven’s compositions.