Here are the 12 top attractions in Vienna where you can be reminded of the power of Greek Mythology.
1. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom – Austrian Parliament
Athena is located in a prime position right in front of the Austrian Parliament building.
She is part of an impressive fountain built from 1893 to 1902.
Nike, the Goddess of Victory is standing on top of Athena’s right hand.
2. Atlas – Hofburg Palace
Atlas is seen holding a celestial sphere over the eastern entrance to the Austrian national library. In the past it was a roof element on the Hofburg Palace at Josefsplatz in 1010 Vienna.
In Greek mythology, Atlas met Perseus as he was traveling with the head of Medusa in his pouch. When a quarrel between the two broke out, Perseus pulled Medusa’s head out of the bag and held it against Atlas, who instantly turned to stone. The Atlas Mountains in Morocco arose as a result of their meeting.
3. Hermes – Hermesvilla
Hermesvilla is a palace in the Lainzer Tiergarten in Vienna, a former hunting area for the Habsburg nobility. Emperor Franz Joseph I gifted the villa to his wife Empress Elisabeth, who was better known by the nickname “Sisi”.
A white marble statue of Hermes wearing his winged helmet is outside in the garden. This is where the villa’s name comes from. Today, the Vienna Museum uses the Hermesvilla for special exhibitions on cultural history.
4. Neptune – Schönbrunn Palace Park
Schönbrunn Palace was the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers.
I wonder if they thought they were above the Greek Gods?
Neptune is the centrepiece of the fountain above.
5. Hercules – Hofburg Palace
The Hofburg is the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers.
Today, it serves as the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria.
Statues depicting the 12 labours of Hercules are located at various entrance points around the Hofburg.
6. Power at Sea – Hofburg
7. Sphinx – Belvedere Gardens
8. Souls on the Banks of the Acheron – Österreishische Galerie Belvedere
Hermes, messenger of the Greek Gods, can move between the realm of the Gods and Mortals on earth.
Here we see the desperate souls begging Hermes to take them back to earth in the mortal realm. Only a few of the children and old men are resigned to their fate.
9. The Theseus Temple
The Theseus temple was originally intended as a special site for only one single contemporary work of art, that being Antonio Canova’s monumental group Theseus slays the centaur.
The temple was built in the 1820s.
10. Theseus – Kunsthistorisches Museum
In 1890, the Theseus group was moved to the large staircase inside a new building, the Art History Museum, where it can still be seen today.
Theseus slays the Centaur
Theseus slaying the Minotaur
11. The Hall of the Muses – Albertina museum
This grand hall has life-sized sculptures of Apollo and the nine Muses who preside over the arts and sciences.
The sculptures were commissioned in 1822-1825.
The crystal chandelier in the middle of the room dates back to the time of Duke Albert of Saxony-Teschen. It was first positioned in the middle of the room in 1822, where it remained until 1918. During the last years of WWI, it was removed for its protection and only returned back to its original position in 1972.
12. Pallas Athene – Museum Wien (Art History Museum)
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