The Danube is the backdrop to many adventurous biographies: daredevil commanders have left their mark, as have intrepid missionaries, tricky smugglers and inquisitive explorers. Most of these vitae, however, seem pale in comparison to the life of the Bavarian Princess Gisela, which was downright cinematic. Admittedly, a kitschy, romantic fairy-tale film adaptation would not be feasible, but a rousing historical drama would. Around the year 1000, life was not always easy, even for a princess…
The treasury of the Benedictine Abbey of Melk holds a very special treasure that is presented to the public only every holy time. We are talking about the so-called Melk Cross, a gilded reliquary from the middle of the 14th century, set with precious stones, whose magnificent decoration is only surpassed by its contents: A splinter from the True Cross of Christ.
Such a pious saying may have stood at the beginning of a boat trip along the Noric section of the youngest Austrian World Heritage Site, the Danube Limes, almost 1800 years ago. From the provincial border to Rhaetia in Passau, to Zeiselmauer at the provincial border to Pannonia, we accompany a Roman merchant with his spicy thoughts on his almost 275 kilometer long journey on the Danube – Danubius.
In the 19th century, it was fashionable for ladies of the world to spend a few weeks abroad every year for spa treatment. But why exactly did people go to the spa, and what did courtly women expect from it? And what do spas have to do with Habsburg passions? Much more than these might suggest at first glance …
Two Hungarian treasures, will be in the spotlight in 2023: on the one hand, the most famous poet and freedom fighter of Hungary, Sándor Petőfi, who was born 200 years ago on 01.01.1823, and on the other hand, the Hungarian city of Veszprém and its region, which, along with two other cities, Elefsina (Greece) and Timisoara (Romania), was named the European Capital of Culture 2023.
On the distant horizon I see
A white sail gliding;
I want to go with you! …
Empress Elisabeth’s love of travel is almost legendary. In numerous poems she wrote off her inner restlessness, which led her – by ship or by train – to remote paradises as well as to numerous nearby imperial and royal places of longing.
The House of Habsburg and Catholicism have always been inextricably intertwined. This connection manifests itself not least in Vienna’s famous Capuchin Crypt, where several members of the former ruling dynasty face eternity in magnificent sarcophagi. In this article, we will take you on a journey down far lesser-known paths of Habsburg religious mania, and show you the places where Maria Theresa and her daughters left their spiritual traces.
Today, it is often enough to press a button to get products from all over the world to your doorstep. In the past, however, it was different, the Danube was a trans-shipment center for all kinds of goods – come with us on a journey through time and discover how the salt came into the cooking pots of the people.
The great Maria Theresa is one of the few Habsburgs who, along with Empress Elisabeth, is known beyond the German-speaking borders. She stands for political assertiveness, baroque joie de vivre and palace culture, but also for her immense wealth of children and the associated strokes of fate as well as odd life paths of the individual sons and daughters.
As part of the INTERREG EU project “Transdanube Travel Stories”, a new thematic itinerary entitled “Europe on the Danube” has been created. It is one of six interconnected new narratives, with each route travelling a specific section of the Danube. “Europe on the Danube” focuses on the middle course of the river, with sites steeped in history, surprising connections and exciting attractions in eastern Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and northern Croatia, as well as glimpses of the European Capitals of Culture Novi Sad in Serbia and Timişoara in Romania.
On July 30, 2021 the time had come: The Roman Limes along the Danube in Bavaria, Austria and Slovakia received the long-awaited and longed-for seal of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At UNESCO this is officially called: “Transnational site Danube Limes inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List”. The Limes as a former border of the Roman Empire stretched from northern England across Europe and the Middle East to North Africa.
In spring 500 years ago – in 1521 – the Imperial Diet of Worms took place: Emperor Charles V had convened it, a gigantic “event” one would say today, during which the city was actually in high spirits. Both the approximately 10,000 guests and the locals partied day and night during the event, ignoring the fasting period and most of the otherwise well-liked “good customs”.
The so-called “Pasetti Map” as a reproduction is enthroned among books, stucco and marble, thus emphasising in picturesque surroundings its importance of once: on a length of 44 metres, the reproduction of the navigation map from the Danube monarchy shows us what the Danube once was – when it was not yet regulated.
When the Bavarian princess Elisabeth from the Wittelsbach family boarded the Danube ship “Stadt Regensburg” in Straubing on 21 August 1854, it was not to start a pleasure cruise. No, the 16-year-old was on a bridal trip, or rather, she was on her way to the “wedding of the century” in Vienna.
On June 1st, the new exhibition at Schallaburg Castle in Lower Austria opened its doors: “DANUBE – People, Treasures & Cultures” is its theme and its itinerary is a little unusual for us visitors.
The Upper German-Raetian Limes is one of the most impressive and largest archaeological monuments in Europe with a length of 550 km, 900 guard posts and 120 larger and smaller fort sites.
Forty years ago in a Viennese elementary school: every child knew what legends were back then. A legend is a short story from the usually very, very distant past, telling a wonderful, frightening, completely gruesome or even magical regional event – and there is always a tiny true core in it somewhere. Which one, you have to find out for yourself.
The Romans once did not mince their words (why should they?) and said straight out what was the matter: “No one comes in here whom we do not want”. What they were talking about was that great Roman empire into which they only allowed those people who were acceptable, or who were, became or were made “Roman citizens”.
Charge an entrance fee to the Wachau, the UNESCO World Heritage Site between Melk and Krems? An entrance fee to be allowed to travel through the river valley, see the wine terraces, stop at the Heurigen and take a boat trip, visit the castles and abbeys?
Along the Road of Emperors and Kings there were legionary camps, forts, watchtowers, settlements and even a few big cities in Roman times. What was life like for the Romans in our latitudes between Regensburg and Budapest? So much different than today?
Our present times have already influenced life behind the abbey walls. It is not unusual for abbeys to present themselves on the internet, to run a blog, to participate in social media and to open their doors to every man, but also almost always to “every woman”.
A tour of castles from Artstetten to Eckartsau via Orth with Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the last Emperor Karl. If the heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not fallen victim to an assassination attempt in Sarajevo in June 1914, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy might have taken a different direction.
On the occasion of our castle tour, we would like to introduce you to the third largest castle complex in Europe, the Veste Oberhaus, which is celebrating its 800th anniversary this year. For 800 years now, the Veste Oberhaus has been enthroned high above the city of Passau and offers a magnificent view of the Danube.
Castles, crusaders and power struggles – plenty of material for exciting stories. The Middle Ages have also left their mark on the Danube in Austria. Even today there are many medieval towns and villages along the Danube.
The world empire of the Roman emperors is still present on the entire route of the holiday road. For more than 450 years, the Danube (Danubius) formed the northern border of the Roman Empire as the “Nasser” Limes.
The Master of Ceremonies at the gate of the Capuchin Monastery explains three times. Tweakly while together, why where you read only together. “A small, mortal man”, opens a Capuchin brother of the gate of the monastery and the coffin is laid to rest in the Imperial tomb.
The Romans laid the foundations for our modern society – and Upper Austria is no different. Some 1,800 years ago, the Romans could be found in the region, complete with their fascinating design and administrative skills.
This year’s Upper Austrian State Exhibition is all about the Romans. From 27 April to 4 November 2018, the state exhibition is offering a multi-layered insight into the life of the Romans 1,800 years ago, taking visitors on a quest back to the time of the “Imperium Romanum”.
Nestled in the Danube-Auen National Park east of Vienna lies Eckartsau, the imperial hunting lodge whose history is linked to the House of Habsburg. Inspired by the rich game stocks in the hunting grounds around Eckartsau, Francis Stephan of Lorraine, husband of Maria Theresa, acquired the entire area in the 18th century.
The Holy Roman Empire was considered unique in the world because of its size. The Romans could hardly be stopped in their conquests: Neither climatic nor geographical adversity could hold them back.
Walk in the footsteps of the Habsburg monarchy of yesteryear, visit the magnificent baroque palaces of Schönbrunn and Belvedere, gaze upon the centre of the once vast Austrian Empire in Hofburg palace, and stroll along the magnificent Ring Road.
Inspiring scenes of aristocratic life line the Danube, including from Vienna: The large monasteries feature imperial wings and historic castles are full of surprises.
Many of the emperors, kings and noblemen on the Route of Emperors and Kings along the Danube not only knew how to rule, but also how to live a life of indulgence. As landholders, bons vivants and patrons, they created works and values that still fascinate us to this day and serve as inspiring testimonies to the perfected art of living.
Churches, castles and monasteries: Many of the historic buildings on the Route of Emperors and Kings are truly unique. Dedicated 155 years ago as the ‘Hall of Fame of the Germans’, the Walhalla at Donaustauf holds a special position among them.
Glamorous parties and much-admired courtships and honeymoons Over the centuries, many noble and high-ranking couples have said ‘I do’ along the Route of Emperors and Kings – often out of calculations surrounding political power, but often enough also out of genuine love.