Access to the city

© Maria Welzig

 

The gates outside Vienna are considered fortress gates. They are as narrow and tight as to only grant passage to no more than one coach. By the same token, only one person is able to pass through the fortress gates' side door at a time. So, beware of some hard punches in the ribs! Of people falling on top of each other or stepping on each other's toes at all times. And as if all that weren't enough, you still have to cross a bridge, where an endless wind awaits. Dust will be constantly blown in your eyes and you will have no other choice but to cover your face with a cloth. In a nutshell, the exit and the way back are such an unpleasant and draining experience outweighing by far all possible joys! Rather, it feels like being trapped in this city by force.

Translated from Johann Pezzl, Skizze von Wien. Ein Kultur und Sittenbild aus der josefinischen Zeit, 1786-1790

 

© Austrian National Library, Picture Archive
Access to the city across the moat leading to the fortress gate in front of the Palace (prior to 1818)

 

Well into the second half of the 19th century massive bastions would cut off Vienna’s city from its suburbs. The only way to enter the city centre from the West was through fortress gates situated directly in front of the Hofburg. To do so, one would have to cross three fortress gates and a narrow bridge leading across the moat. Furthermore, it was necessary to pass a tight, curved passageway that was located underground before one could safely reach the inner castle court (Innerer Burghof).