Edits

Travel

Leopoldstadt— Vienna

Preface

A Jewish enclave a century ago, Vienna’s Karmeliterviertel – part of the larger Leopoldstadt – was down and out for much of the postwar period. But thanks to creative energy and smart city planning, the area is booming.

Jewish, city planning

For much of its history, Vienna’s second district, Leopoldstadt, was on the wrong side of the Danube Canal, so to speak. Across the water from the elegant city centre, the Karmeliterviertel (Carmelite quarter) – situated around a market place and named after a Carmelite monastery that no longer stands – was packed with coffeehouses and vaudeville theatres. Until the Second World War it was also largely Jewish. After the war, however, the area became poor and seedy. “Historically, the first district was opera, the second was the waltz,” says…

Architecture

Much of the district’s preserved architecture dates back a century or more, with Gründerzeit buildings of six or seven storeys exhibiting ornate stucco and other period detailing, interrupted by lower, older and less ornamental Biedermeier structures. Interspersed are nondescript estate buildings erected since the Second World War. A few new high-rises of around 20 storeys dot the streets nearest the canal and several hotels are currently under construction. Praterstrasse, especially, was once lined with high-ceilinged coffeehouses or theatres with vast basement restaurants. Many of these venues are hidden behind the walls of supermarkets or high-street stores. Some, however, have been restored, like Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom (see Services).

The process

Procedures are essentially the same for residents and non-residents, with the exception that non-EU citizens are required to secure permission from local authorities to purchase property. In general, 10 per cent of the purchase price is a standard deposit.

Residents

Heiri Häfliger, 42, artist and designer

“This neighbourhood is almost rural. At the same time, things are changing. Nowadays you need a reservation to eat at Skopik + Lohn.”

Judith Fegerl,34, artist

“When I moved here 10 years ago no one wanted to be here but now it seems like you run into everybody.”

Lisa Höfling, 38, occupational therapist, with her family

“I’ve lived here for 15 years and my husband helped design this building. The view from the roof terrace is like a backdrop to the neighbourhood that we’ve watched develop. I hope it doesn’t get too perfect; the cultures mix well together.”

Gregor Eichinger

54, architect “I moved here seven years ago and now creative businesses and young people have come in.”

Bella Angora, 43, performance artist

“Vienna is much more international now and the art scene has more interesting stuff going on. For me, the second district is the best choice because it shows this development.”

Monocle 24

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