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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…

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