A ramble through the Zieglergasse

In the Zieglergasse you can find everything your heart desires – from small workshops and culinary institutions to museums and galleries.

The Zieglergasse – from Mariahilfer Strasse to Lerchenfelderstrasse Brickyards in the Viennese suburb

A number of small brickyards existed in the Viennese suburb long before the introduction of steam powered brickworks revolutionised house-building in the 19th century. The Zieglergasse in the Seventh District is even named after this sector of industry.

If you set out on a long walk through the Zieglergasse and start from Mariahilfer Straße at the U3 station, the best way to begin is to buy some provisions for the way from the Gradwohl wholemeal bakery. It offers delicious organic salted pretzels or wonderfully sweet cinnamon rolls which can be enjoyed along the approximately one kilometre long route. On the way past old houses repeated looks into the backyards are often rewarding. As in many parts of the district, you’ll be surprised by the unexpectedly large trees and many idyllic spots which can be found at the back of the buildings.

We cross the Apollogasse which no longer contains any traces of the Apollo Hall that opened here in 1808. The Apollosaal, to give it its actual name, was an amusement centre for 8,000 visitors that only operated for around thirty years before eventually being turned into a candle factory. Apollo did full justice to his reputation hear, not only as a God of the arts, but also as a God of atonement: in any case, he brought no luck to the unfortunate owner of the Apollo Hall, who soon went bankrupt.

The silversmiths Jarosinski & Vaugoin

The silversmiths Jarosinski & Vaugoin are located in a beautiful Biedermeier building on the right side between Lindengasse and Seidengasse, diagonally opposite the new all-day primary school. The sixth generation of the smithy which first opened its doors in 1847 is headed by Jean-Paul Vaugoin.

The shop windows and the old, well maintained entrance portal with the lettering “Silberwaren Fabrik” (“silver goods factory”) arouse your curiosity and do not disappoint when you enter the shop: display cases filled with cutlery, napkin rings, baptism gifts, vases and silver vessels make you feel that you’ve discovered a great treasure. Everything shines – there’s silver wherever you look.

“There used to be several craft businesses in the area,” says Jean-Paul Vougoin. The names of the surrounding streets, like Seidengasse or Bandgasse, testify to this. At the time, the craftsmen toiled away in the shops or workshops on the ground floor of the Biedermeier buildings and lived on the upper floors.

Specialisation in the production of silver cutlery with over 200 different cutlery sets has made Jarosinski & Vaugoin with its eight employees a unique company throughout the world in this sector. Run both as a retailer and as a wholesaler, the company sells its silverware products at home and abroad. Two-thirds of the goods are manufactured in the workshop behind the salesroom. A workshop to make the heart of any expert experienced in the art of gold and silversmithing beat faster. Only rarely will you find such a perfect, authentic and aesthetic work area. For a moment the journalist and photographer are awestruck by the old, greasy workbenches made of pear wood, the whirring of the suspended drills, the smell of metal, tar and polishing paste, as well as the sight of shiny silver objects. While underplates are stacked up on one workbench, Japanese chopsticks made of silver and wenge, one of the world’s most exquisite woods, lie on another.

Jean-Paul Vaugoin appreciates the astonished delight of his visitors and recommends that they look into the silversmiths’ museum next door, which can be visited by appointment.

We now cross the Seidengasse which owes its name to the many silk manufacturers who were once based here in the past. An old Viennese song dedicated to the profession explains the benefits of life from the perspective of the son of a silk manufacturer. Part of the song goes like this: “When talk turns to work, we start to get annoyed, because our father was the man of the house and a silk manufacturer, our father was the man of the house and a silk manufacturer.”

The City of Krems in the City of Vienna and other gastronomic highlights

Those who walk far have to eat well. The lower Zieglergasse offers outstanding cuisine for all tastes in this regard. Located at Zieglergasse 37, “Zur Stadt Krems” (“At the City of Krems”) is a restaurant which has hosted guests for over 150 years. Its first owner came from precisely the eponymous city in Lower Austria and immortalised his birthplace on the map of the city of Vienna. What has lasted so long must always have convinced its guests right up to today. Also here is a courtyard that serves as a beer garden in the summer. Worth noting is that Zur Stadt Krems houses Vienna's oldest ninepins alley which is still in service. There, trying to knock down all the ninepins at once is an immense help when it comes to burning off the calories piled on from a wonderful breaded fried chicken.

A few steps further on, at number 52, you come to “St. Ellas”. Its website has immortalised a quote by Woody Allen: “Man shall not live by bread alone. After a while he needs a drink.” Bring it on! Help is at hand in St. Ellas. The idea behind the restaurant differs fundamentally from the “Stadt Krems” inn. Here, an empathetic DJ behind the turntable accompanies the food and drink with the sounds of rhythm & blues, soul & funk. On the gastronomic side, the establishment conjures up the best of bistro, bar and grill, and promises “uncomplicated, delicious dishes for gourmets”.

Next door you come to the “big brother” of St. Ellas, the “Gaumenspiel” (“Palate Game”). In awarding it two toques, Gault Millau praised the beautiful garden in summer and the cosy fireside atmosphere in winter as well as the quality of food and drink. “You'd like to live just around the corner from here,” is the almost euphoric impression which walkers through Zieglergasse can only confirm.

There has probably always been good food and drink in this area. After all, the Kandlgasse which we have just crossed owes its name to a plaque on the building bearing the inscription “Zur goldenen Kanne” (“At the Golden Pot”).

Classicism, daguerreotypes and cameras

The parish church of St. Laurenz in the parish of Schottenfeld stands on the corner of Zieglergasse and Westbahnstraße. Starting in 1783, it was built by architect Andreas Zach in the classical Baroque style on the orders of Joseph II. A station on the U6 metro line at the point where Burggasse joins the Gürtel near the Vienna Stadthalle was named after Urban Loritz, who worked as a pastor in Schottenfeld during the second half of the 19th century.

It is worth leaving Zieglergasse at this intersection and walking a few steps away from the city centre to Westbahnstraße 40. The “WestLicht” photo gallery has been located there since 2001. Thanks to an initiative of lovers and collectors of camera enthusiasts and collectors, the shrine to photography which has emerged at this point is like no other Vienna has ever seen. Photography until then was a stepchild among the arts, there was no venue for staging exhibitions, archiving and research.

Today, the WestLicht photo museum brings together some 40,000 exhibits created using all kinds of photographic techniques, ranging from plate photography and glass slides to many different print processes. Such examples illustrate the technical requirements of historic cameras and viewing devices, etc., right through to more advanced technologies. They are complemented by displays illustrating different approaches to photography from an artistic, historical and cultural perspective.

A series of partial collections and ensembles of works from important photo studios and artists have been bequeathed to the gallery ever since it was first opened. In 2011, gallery supremo Peter Coeln managed to acquire the “Polaroid Collection”, as spectacular as it is historically significant, which threatened to disappear due to the bankruptcy of a Swiss Museum. 4,400 works by 800 photographers and other artists – from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol – were saved and presented to the public.

The Galerie WestLicht also has a significant collection of daguerreotypes. They consist of works from the early days of photography as of 1839. The elaborate procedure was later replaced with new, less expensive technologies. Again and again, these historic treasures are presented to the public in exhibitions. Those interested can sign up for a guided tour. The gallery, which is located in a former glass factory, was rebuilt by the “Eichinger oder Knechtl” team of architects in their characteristically refined, unobtrusive style.

Back in Zieglergasse, we cross the busy Burggasse along which the officers of the Emperor reached their workplace at the Hofburg in a straight line in earlier times. Today, the 48A bus leads to Vienna’s Museumsquartier and the surrounding Museumsmeile. We then cross the Bernardgasse, named after one of the manufacturers of which there were probably very many at the “Schottenfeld”, and subsequently cut across Badhausgasse, named after the Marienbad, a bath house which closed almost one hundred years ago.

Our route ends at the Lerchenfelderstraße, the border between the Seventh and Eighth district, with the newly acquired experience that a lavish range of restaurants, cafés, culture and residential comfort prevails along just one kilometre of the Zieglergasse.
More information on graetzlbericht.at

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