Vienna's Ringstrasse

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2007-02-12 09:25

Some two-hundred years after the Ottomans abandoned their unsuccessful Siege of Vienna (and incidentally leaving behind a sackful of coffee, which started the west's fortunate love affair with caffeine) Western Europe's eastern outpost against the Moslem hordes tore down its protecting wall, and developed an integrating 'ring road' called the Ringstraße. This was not intended to be a 'working' thoroughfare, it was intended primarily for show -- and what a show.

The Ringstraße style is often what is thought of when people talk about European style cities: it is the very model of elegance and urbanity. It was a delightful dividend both of Austria-Hungary's new power -- making the encircling defensive wall obsolete -- and of the new 'Spring' of Romanticism in art that made even the most banal of buildings many times more delightful than their contemporary equivalents.

The Ringstraße itself integrated the city (see picture at left), protecting the delightfully high density city inside, and beyond it the city, well, it sprawled out into the countryside like all good cities should.

LINKS: Making the Genius Quicker: Part Two of 'A Complete Hiftory of Man According to Hif Divers Delightf' - Peter Cresswell, SOLO
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