Vienna Art Nouveau: Otto Wagner and the City Trains - 3-Hour walk with a Historian
Learn about German Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau, on this 3-hour walking tour through the metro of Vienna.
When Vienna's parliament hired Otto Wagner to design their new metro in the late 19th century, they wanted a modern construction to match the majestic buildings of the Ringstrasse and accommodate the capital's ever-expanding population. Wagner set out to make an easy-to-use system which could be quickly adapted to the city's different areas and highlight Vienna's cosmopolitanism.
So he chose the international avant-garde style of Art Nouveau, creating designs for fences, doors, and stone carvings which were displayed across the Vienna's metro and surroundings.
Your tour will explore two of the remaining iconographic stations while exploring Viennese Art Nouveau more in depth. You'll start at Karlsplatz with a visit to the small Wagner Museum. Afterwards you'll move on to Stadtpark station, the best preserved of the original metro stations still in use, where you'll be able to admire its characteristic elements. Your tour will also emphasize the nearby artificial riverbed created for the Vienna river to help re-channel the waterway and match the landscape.
Next you'll visit the Kettenbrücke station. Along the way you'll be able to visit the famous Sezession art building, the best example of Viennese Jugendstil that there is, and two beautiful apartment houses designed by Otto Wagner. Your guide will also delve into the philosophy of the style and help you understand the symbols and materials used in the designs.
Then you'll take the metro to your last destination, the Imperial station. Originally built for the Emperor's use only, it demonstrated to the metro's critics that Vienna's emperor supported the line. From here to Schönbrunn castle you can find more elements of the generally bourgeois style of Art Nouveau hidden within imperial grandiosity.