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Boulevard of vanity: The Kärntner Ring

Thursday June 30th, 2016

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The name of the Kärntner Ring is not a coincidence; it’s named after the Kärntnerstrasse, which was one of the most important long-distance trade routes in the direction of Carinthia and further to Trieste and Venice. Since time immemorial, it has also been one of the most important streets in the city, where you can go shopping in the various and sometimes posh shops, or enjoy the Viennese traditional coffee houses. It is also one of the starting and ending points of the Kärntner Ring, which runs up to Schwarzenbergplatz.

The “Sirk corner” as a starting point

The corner – which is actually really round – to Kärntnerstrasse was by the way known for a long time as “Sirk corner”, in reference to the restaurant of the same name. Today, however, the Hotel Bristol, which is located there, is not a culinary meeting point for the Viennese chic, but a small leather-goods business from August Sirk, which even according to k.u.k. Decree officially designated its location as “Sirk-Ecke”. Thus, the place quickly became a popular meeting place, especially for the rendezvous of the young Viennese women, who flanked the ring road corso, as the Kärntner Ring was also called in the 1920s.

Thanks to Karl Kraus, the “Sirkecke” became immortal, for his drama “Die letzten Tage der Menschheit”, which begins right here: “Vienna. Ring road corso. Sirk Corner “. He describes the horrors of World War I and criticizes the society of that time, but we let him speak: “One of the cosmic points of this period is, without a doubt, the Sirk corner, Dear long day, nothing more than to promenade and show.“

Beautiful flair in every season

Today, the Kärntner Ring is home to some of Vienna’s most beautiful hotels such as the “Grand Hotel”, the “Hotel Imperial” and “The Ring” as well as magnificent palaces, including the “Palais Wertheim” and the “Palais Königswarter”. Last year, the Kärntner Ring was also one of those sections that had Christmas Illumination for the first time – very much to the delight of the Viennese people as well as the numerous tourists.