Where the Balkans go bourgeois

Here in the Tenth District, international flair pervades the 900-metre long pedes-trian zone which invites visitors to take a stroll along a road lined with colourful shops, restaurants and a large market.

Äussere Favoritenstrasse

At the start of the 19th century the city of Vienna began sprawling out to the suburbs from its historic centre circumscribed more or less by the borders of today’s First District. The principal axes which extend from the centre out in all directions towards the periphery are known as Ausfallstraßen (arterial roads). They have remained the most important traffic routes even though the city wall was already razed in the 1860s.

From the urban centre you could take the horse-drawn carriage and later the car out into the countryside, or drive from the villages to the big city.
Wikipedia tells us that at various spots, such arterial roads constitute visual axes – or sightlines – to striking examples of the urban fabric (to historic old towns or castles, etc.). In urban outskirts, however, they would in many cases not necessarily appear as especially welcoming entrances to a city that would strike the visitor as being di-lapidated and neglected at best. In earlier times the Favoritenstraße was both. It was an attractive route through the middle-class district of Wieden and at the same time, the poor people’s highway to the working-class district further away in Favoriten. For it was here in Vienna’s Tenth District that the first “guest workers” actually settled. For the most part, they consisted of immigrants from Bohemia, the so-called Ziegelbehm (“Bohemian brickies”), who found poorly paid work in the brick-making factories to the south of the city.

A successful infrastructure measure made the section of the road between Columbusplatz and Reumannplatz significantly more attractive some forty years ago. The pedestrian zone built there in parallel to the construction of the U1 underground line couldn’t be busier. Here, too, the breezes of international flair blow in all directions by virtue of the many immigrants from the Balkans or Turkey who have made the small side streets their home. About ten years ago, the pedestrian zone was extended from Landgutgasse to Südtiroler Platz. Now over 900 metres in length, it features a complete spectrum of shops, bars and a large market. To anyone who has often won-dered why no trees line the street, the answer is simple: the subway line is located just below street level.

Neighbourhood back to overview
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