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Precious Vintage Photography: Vienna Then and Now

 It’s always so fascinating to compare how certain places looked like in the past versus how they look now, to observe the development of a city through time. Sometimes, we can witness a beautiful city growing out of barren wasteland, but at other times, the charm of a certain historical location can become overshadowed by a myriad of skyscrapers, bridges and fast lanes. But ultimately, we crave this often aching exercise of nostalgia to see the past for what it is and appreciate its glory. As Sophocles put it, “We long to have again the vanished past, in spite of all its pain.” In this spirit of nostalgia, the following 10 mixed-time photos of Vienna were created at Zeitenspruenge Wien to illustrate how the beautiful Austrian capital changed over the years. Bonus: there’s also a fun vintage video at the end of the article. 

1. Belvedere Palace in 1945 and 2015

The magnificent Belvedere Palace, once the capital building of the Austrian Empire, is one of the major historical sights in Vienna. Unfortunately, part of this beautiful palace was destroyed during World War II.
Vienna vintage photos Belvedere Palace 1945 vs. 2015

2. Gürtel Street in 1874 and 2015

On the right, you can see many new buildings and a busy street. Now it is one of the busiest streets of Vienna, in the 19th century there was a cemetery.

Vienna vintage photos Gürtel Street 1874 vs. 2015

3. Stephansplatz in 1914 and 2018

Stephansplatz is the very heart of Vienna, both geographically and historically, with the incredible 12-century Medieval cathedral called Stephansdom (seen on the right) being the crown jewel of this historical part of the city. No wonder this is the most popular area among tourists.

Vienna vintage photos Stephansplatz 1914 vs. 2018

4. Heldenplatz in 1880s and 2015

Ringstrasse is a circular street built around the historical area of the city in place of a previously-existing wall. Many of the most beautiful buildings were erected around this street since, as you can see below.

Vienna vintage photos Heldenplatz 1880s vs. 2015

5. Graben in 1966 and 2018

Yet another tourist hotspot, Graben used to be an ordinary street, but it's a pedestrian area nowadays.
Vienna vintage photos Graben in 1966 and 2018

6. Mariahilfer Street in 1986 and 2015

Mariahilfer Street is the most famous shopping street in Vienna, with both tourists and locals alike walking up and down this street in search of the best buys. To enable a better shopping experience, the street was turned into a pedestrian area, with the previously existing tram being replaced by a subway.

Vienna vintage photos Mariahilfer Street in 1986 and 2015

7. Urania Building in 1930 and 2019

Urania is one of the many Art Nouveau style Viennese buildings, as the Austrian capital was also the city where the famous style was most popular. Today, the building is a public educational institute and observatory.

Vienna vintage photos Urania Building in 1930 and 2019

8. Along The Danube in 1980 and 2019

The Danube River used to cause annual floods in Vienna, so a second riverbed was built along the main river, which is exactly what you can see in the images below.

Vienna vintage photos Along The Danube in 1980 and 2019

9. Neuer Markt in 1910 and 2018

Some street views hardly change throughout the years, and these photos are a great example of that, well, with the exception of all the advertisements seen in the early 20th-century photo.
Vienna vintage photos Neuer Markt 1910 vs. 2018

10. Mariahilfer Street in 1900 and 2016

Yet another view of Mariahilfer Street, the famous shopping street in Vienna. It's funny how we can tell the age of the photo more by the people than by the actual buildings.

Vienna vintage photos Mariahilfer Strasse in 1900 and 2016
(also cover image credits) bildarchivZeitenspruenge Wien
Bonus! A Video Featuring Vienna in the late 1920s and early 1930s
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