VIENNA — Jewish Quarter and Around

This quarter is centred around Judenplatz which is a pretty square lined with impressive Baroque and 19th century buildings. It was the heart of the Jewish ghetto from the 13th to the 15th centuries. It is now home to a Holocaust memorial designed to look like a stack of books in a library which represent the untold stories of Holocaust victims. The base of the monument is engraved with the names of the places in which Austrian Jews were put to death during the Nazi era. Other places of interest in this area are Ruprechtsplatz and the nearby Ruprechtskirche which is the oldest church in Vienna possibly dating back to 740 and Morzinplatz with its Monument to the Victims of Fascism. This monument stands on the former site of the Gestapo headquarters.

The sights found here are:
Museum Judenplatz
Uhren Museum
Neidhart-Fresken
Archiv des Österreichischen Widerstands
Roman Ruins
Stadttempel

Museum Judenplatz
Museum Judenplatz is a new annex of Vienna’s Jewish Museum. The focus of this museum is the role Viennese Jews have played in the city of Vienna. The main section of the museum holds an exhibition on the religious, cultural, and social life of the Viennese Jews in the Middle Ages until their expulsion and death in 1420 and 1421. It contains the remains of the synagogue that was built in 1420 and was destroyed in 1421. One room in the museum is devoted to Shoah (Holocaust) documentation. The names of the 65,000 Austrian Jews exterminated by the Nazis can be found in a database provided by the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.jmw.at/en/museum/museum-judenplatz.html

Uhren Museum
This museum dating from 1917 is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Vienna &mdash Harfenhaus near the Judenplatz. The museum contains over 20,000 timepieces both ancient and modern and attracts clock collectors from everywhere. Some of the highlights of the museum include an 18th century astronomical clock and the huge iron turret clock of St Stephan’s Cathedral. Make sure you see the collection of Viennese Biedermeier and Belle Èpoque pieces as they are just exquisite.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.wienmuseum.at/en/locations/location-detail/uhrenmuseum-1.html

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that if you are in the museum on the hour you will be deafened by the striking of a huge number of clocks so avoid this time to visit if you don’t like noise.

Neidhart-Fresken
These are murals that were found in an apartment when it was being renovated in 1979. They are works of great rarity and value and are the oldest secular mural paintings in Vienna. The murals date from 1398 and tell the story of the minstrel, Neidhart von Reuental and life in the Middle Ages. They are magnificent despite the fact the paint has faded over time.
For information about the museum visit the website at:
http://www.wienmuseum.at/en/locations/location-detail/neidhart-fresken-1.html

Archiv des Österreichischen Widerstands
This centre was founded in 1963 by ex-resistance fighters and anti-facist historians. It is housed in the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall). It contains documents on resistance, persecution and exile that can be used for research. There are also special collections with photos and posters and other items.
For information about the centre visit the website at: http://www.doew.at/frames.php?/english/content.html

romanRuins

Roman Ruins
This interesting site is located beneath Hoher Markt Square which is one of the oldest squares in Vienna. The ancient ruins date back from the 1st to the 5th century. You can still see the remains of a roman aqueduct here.

Traveller's Tip

Make sure you are at Hoher Markt Square around noon so that you can see the Anker Clock with its figures representing people like Marcus Aurelius (the Roman Emperor who died in Vienna), Josef Haydn and Maria Theresa walking across the clock to the accompaniment of organ music.

Stadttempel
This synagogue was built in 1826 and designed by Josef Kornhäusel. It is one of the few synagogues to survive Kristallnacht and although there was some damage in 1938 it has been restored. The highlight of the synagogue would have to be the beautiful oval dome which is decorated in blue and scattered with stars. Entrance to the Stadtempel is included in a ticket to the Jüdisches Museum and Museum Judenplatz.

Traveller's Tip

You can only look in the synagogue as part of a guided tour which lasts an hour. You will need your passport for identification.