Hofburg - Imperial Palace

Gay City Tour 2

Nevertheless, we turn around and go back to the Imperial Palace and pass the Inner Courtyard, where the colossal statues “Four great deeds of Heracles” flank the passages of the so-called Reichskanzleitrakt. These muscular sculptures surely impressed the gay younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph, Archduke Ludwig Viktor (1842–1919), who was tenderly called “Luziwuzi” by his friends, and who was commonly known at Court for his malicious tongue and his faible for women’s clothes.

He frequently visited the “Centralbad” (today the Kaiserbründl bathhouse) and caused a big scandal when an officer of the Austrian army slapped him in the face after Luziwuzi had made advances. Due to this incident his brother and emperor exiled him to Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg, where Luziwuzi died mentally deranged in 1919.

We keep on walking gaily forward on Vienna’s most exclusive shopping streets, the Kohlmarkt and the Graben. This route takes us right to the center of the city, to Stephansplatz with the world famous, St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This church is generally seen as Austria’s most important gothic building. Our walk follows Kärntner Strasse for just a few meters (to our left in Weihburggasse, we could take a detour to the above-mentioned infamous Kaiserbründl bathhouse) and finally the tour takes us to Neuer Markt, which is dominated by the so-called Providentia-fountain by the baroque sculptor Georg Raphael Donner (1693– 1741).

Donner, who was commissioned with this project in 1737, surrounded the central figure of Providentia (“providence”) with four personifications of the tributaries to the river Danube in Lower Austria. The river Enns is depicted as an old ferryman, the river March as a mature woman, the river Ybbs as a juvenile fountain-nymph. Only the river Traun is a gorgeous looking young man, who bends with his trident over the rim of the basin, preying on fish. With the fabulous backside of this lad — very inspiring for today’s gay looks — we have finished our city walk.

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