The Lipizzaners

If you love horses, and you're going to Vienna, then seeing the Lipizzaners is a must. They live in downtown Vienna!! They have their own stables and exhibition hall as an extension of the royal residence buildings right in the heart of the old city. These are no ordinary, or even Kentucky special, horses. These are world famous horses, bred by the Hapsburgs since the 16th century. The name is actually Hungarian, so they are horses from this region, but the school is called the Spanish Riding … [Read more...]

Walking through Vienna

After WWII, there was a lot of reconstruction in Vienna. But the town fathers decided they wanted to rebuild in a classical style. And so, we have an Austrian Parliament building modeled on a building you should recognize---- the Parthenon!!Here's the view from the top of arch looking past Athena.... Interestingly, this building is actually smaller than city hall... which you can see here at the end of the street with the spires....A walk through old Vienna is very pleasant … [Read more...]

The Opera House of Vienna

One of the regular things one is often told is don't miss the opera house tour, when one comes to Vienna. The opera house had to be reconstructed after WWII because the front one third of it was blown up by an Allied bomb. All is well now however, and the tour is indeed worth it. Opera was out of due season when we were there, so we did not take in a performance.First of all this opera house rivals La Scala in Milan in size, number of balconies, and its degree of ornamentation. As you … [Read more...]

Viennese Torte and Retort

Vienna is a town of endless cafes, restaurants, sweet shops, curiosity shops, and culture of all sorts. For example.....Even Mozart is trying to talk you into eating sweets!! And if you don't Mozart gives you his bitter beer face.I'd be fibbing, ala Pinnochio, if I told you these desserts weren't good....Shoot there is even a Mozart cafe on the back side of the opera house which will serve you these things..and a Viennese coffee....This cafe is also right across … [Read more...]

The Churches of Vienna

There was not world enough and time to visit all the significant churches in Vienna, not even all of the ones in the old city. So we had to settle for a few. Let's start with the one our friend and former student Christa Abhar took us to for a delightful Mozart Requiem concert.....The name of this church is Karlskirche, and it was built by Franz Joseph the Emperor, who loved both Greco-Roman architecture and Christian architecture so he decided to mix the two together, hence the weird two … [Read more...]

The Ephesos Museum in Vienna– the Friezes and Temple front

This shot looks down the wing of the museum from the Temple front back towards the bronze statue of the athlete and gives you some sense of the size of the hall, and the length of the friezes. These remains were transported from Ephesus to Vienna between 1878 and 1906. Our guide stressed it was done legally and with permission of the government at that time (Sultan Abdul Hamid in this case). Whether it was ethical is another matter. But in any case, the Austrians have been doing archeological … [Read more...]

The Kunsthistorische Museum– Greco-Roman Holdings

The problem with ginormous museums is it takes several visits to soak it all in. After two or three hours you begin to glaze over and not take in the remarkable things to see. Sometimes you end up dashing around to no good end. In our case, we had to visit the museum several times between sessions at the University of Wien (Vienna) for the SBL International Meeting where I gave a lecture on Jesus the Sage. Wien is the largest university in all of Europe with 92,000 students, and over 8,000 … [Read more...]

Interstellar– Lots of Stars, not so Stellar is a difference between a sci-fi movie, and a science future movie. The former does not need to be concerned about the actual constraints of reality or science as we know it, it can just let its imagination run wild. But a science future movie on the other hand is supposed to have a certain degree of plausibility to it, like something that can barely be seen on the horizon, but is nonetheless within reach in the not so distant future. In … [Read more...]

The Kunsthistorische Museum— The Egyptian Collection

There is a very nice collection of largely Egyptian (and Sumerian) artifacts in the Kunst Museum, including a recreation of the ceiling and feeling of an Egyptian royal tomb, in the room see above.Hieroglyphics are always interesting and here is a stele about an Egyptian priest of the god Ptah.There is in addition a sarcophagus of a priest as well of black onyx, inscribed almost everywhere.Here we have perhaps the oldest manuscript in all of the museum, from the 13th … [Read more...]