Vienna Sights

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The Graben Review

One of Vienna's major crossroads, the Graben's unusual width gives it the presence and weight of a city square. Its shape is due to the Romans, who chose this spot for the city's southwestern moat (Graben literally means "moat" or "ditch"). The Graben's centerpiece is the effulgently Baroque Pestsäule, or Plague Column. Erected by Emperor Leopold I between 1687 and 1693 as thanks to God for delivering the city from a particularly virulent plague, today the representation looks more like a host of cherubs doing their best to cope with the icing of a wedding cake wilting under a hot sun. Protestants may be disappointed to learn that the foul figure of the Pest also stands for the heretic plunging away from the "true faith" into the depths of hell.

Updated: 07-01-2013

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