A Travellerspoint blog

Der Liebe Augustin and a dressed skeleton

Bratislava and Vienna

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I arrived by bus from Bratislava at lunchtime - a smooth journey of an hour and ten minutes, including a stop at Vienna Airport. One notable thing about the journey was that not far from Bratislava and the border with Austria we passed by what must be one of the biggest wind farms in Europe. After taking the tram to Wombat's The City Hostel Lounge, dumping my stuff and putting on the bedding, I took the metro into the city centre.

The first place I went to was to Griechenbeisl, the oldest restaurant in Vienna - not to eat, but to say hello to Der Liebe Augustin in the covered walkway to one side. Who is that, you might ask... well, he's a life-size figure/puppet of a folk-figure of Vienna, who is said to be based on a real-life, popular bagpiper, minstrel and balladeer from the 17th century (the traditional song, 'O, du lieber Augustin', is attributed to him). The effigy at Griechenbeisl lies in a pit with a grate over the top which you can look through. He sits in a chair with his bagpipes and a small table, covered in hundreds of small coins and some banknotes which people have dropped through the grate. My photo of him didn't come out right, unfortunately.


From there I went on to the church of St Ruprecht via a street stall for some Asian noodles with vegetables for a late-ish lunch (I had a sudden craving!) St Ruprecht's is said to be the oldest church in Vienna, though apparently this is disputed.


It's also known for having a glass-fronted sarcophagus of St Vitalis of Salzburg with a skeleton dressed in Baroque clothes inside. I was particularly keen to see it and asked a helpful member of church staff to tell me about it. He said that it's not uncommon for Baroque churches in cities formerly under Habsburg influence to have dressed skeletons on display, put there in the 17th century as a result of the type of Catholicism practised then. The skeleton at St Ruprecht's is of a claimed early Christian martyr taken from the Roman catacombs.


There was a candle stand next to the sarcophagus, so I lit two candles. I also admired the modern stained glass windows and the carved wooden figures which looked a lot like some Early Modern examples I saw in the City Museum in Bratislava.


On my way back to the metro station by the Stephansdom I passed the Anker Clock. This is a highly elaborate, historic clock with figures on the face which move around to music when each hour strikes. I wasn't there at the right time to see the 'show', but maybe tomorrow!


Posted by 3Traveller 17:38 Archived in Austria Tagged churches bratislava vienna austria buses traditions slovakia explorations

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All very interesting, particularly the skeleton!

by Emma

Thanks Emma!

by 3Traveller

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