Culture along the Danube
The music in the Danube region reflects the rich cultural diversity of the region and connects people along the river. Music Day in Hungary on October 1st celebrates this diversity with concerts and events that present the unique music of the Danube. On this occasion, prepare to be transported on an enchanting voyage through Hungary’s musical chronicles, where the threads of melody and rhythm have woven a captivating narrative that traverses history and resonates with the present.
A literary journey along Europe’s queen of rivers. Rich in history and culture, the Danube has always been influenced by literature and music. From the Saga of the Nibelungs to modern thinkers like Karl-Markus Gauss, authors reflect the fascination of this river. In this blog post, explore Danube literature and how it influences perceptions between peoples and political narratives to this day.
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.
Dedicated to the theme of art, culture and architecture is one story of the “Transdanube Travel Stories”, which were created as part of the Interreg EU project of the same name. Each of these stories follows a sustainable travel route along a specific section of the Danube.
A social, cultural and economic environment created by multi-ethnic contacts and inspirations over very long periods of time has fostered innovation and influenced music, art, theater and literature, all the way to architecture – a phenomenon of “cultural fertilization” that can be experienced throughout the Danube region. Come with us on a journey of cultural experiences from Ulm to Serbia, via Romania to Croatia.
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.
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.
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.
With his famous composition „On the beautiful, blue Danube“ Johann Strauss has left a piece of music with the highest popularity, giving the Danube an important focus as a lifeline of Central Europe. Every year on New Year’s Eve, the famous “Danube Waltz” has been ringing for over 150 years, making us dance into a happy new year.
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.
A common phenomenon the world over is for visitors to a foreign city to seek out vantage points. This is often driven by a desire to get an overview of that foreign city and orient themselves.
Many important composers’ studios can be found along the Danube. The most famous composition about the river itself is “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss. The piece has inspired the names of numerous hotels and restaurants along the river and is now world famous.
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.
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.
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.