© WienTourismus / Hertha Hurnaus

Gay City Tour 1

We start our first gay city walk through Vienna in the Park of Belvedere Palace, the summer residence of one of the first and most important gays in Austrian history: Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736).

The short grown and, to be honest, not very attractive Prince came to Vienna at age 20 to contribute to the rescue of the city which was, at the time, besieged by the Ottoman army and found himself in a victorious position in the decisive battle against the Turks (1683). Before that, the French King Louis XIV had refused him to join his troops, and so the short Savoyan resorted to shocking the court of Versailles by putting on women’s clothes together with his friend, the Duke of Turenne.

After a much more warm-hearted welcome at the Imperial Court in Vienna, the art-loving Prince served under three emperors — Leopold I, Joseph I und Karl VI — and won triumphantly in battles against the Turks, who ruled all over Southeastern Europe. One of his major victories was the liberation of Belgrade from Turkish rule. The architecture of Belvedere Palace, by the way, refers to these victories by imitating the form of Turkish army tents in the green roofs of the building.

From the garden of the Belvedere with its impressive view of downtown Vienna we walk via Schwarzenbergplatz and the Russian War Memorial to Karlsplatz where the biggest Baroque church in Vienna (Karlskirche) makes reference to the next gay historical figure: Emperor Karl VI (1685–1740) himself.

He is not only the founder of this church, which is dedicated to St. Charles Borrome, but also the father of the famous Austrian monarch Maria Theresia and he was rumored to have an intimate relationship with Count Michael Johann III Althan, who was one of the very few persons accepted in the intimate circles of the egocentric and reserved Emperor. When Althan died in 1722, the mourning monarch wrote that his pal had loved him very tenderly in true friendship for 19 years. forward

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