Vienna State Opera at the Ringstrasse
© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Gay City Tour 2

Our second tour starts at the famous Vienna State Opera that was built by the architects Eduard van der Nüll (1812– 1868) and August Sicard von Sicardsburg (1813–1868) who were partners in business and in life. Unfortunately, their relationship came to a tragic end and that had to do with the construction of the Opera. When they started their planning, the level of the forthcoming Ringstrasse had not been set, and as the street level was later raised by one meter, the optical effect on the State Opera was unfavorable: It looked (and still looks) as if it had sunk into the ground. Which is also why the ramps on either side do not really qualify as ramps.
As public criticism mounted (supposedly even Emperor Franz Joseph expressed his disapproval), van der Nüll – always on the depressive side – committed suicide on April 3, 1868. Only ten weeks later, on June 11, Sicardsburg died too, apparently of a “broken heart.”

We leave this historic place and stroll along the Ringstrasse over to the Imperial Palace (“Hofburg”), where the impressive equestrian statue in front of the entrance to the National Library depicts the great short Prince Eugene.
Walking through the Volksgarten, we reach the so-called “Theseustempel” built in 1820 by Antonio Canova. The statue of the antique hero Theseus can now be found at the bottom of the staircase in the Museum of Fine Arts.
In front of the temple the bronze sculpture “The Winner” will catch our attention. It was created by Josef Müllner in 1922 and destined to be one of the “gay monuments” of the city.


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