The Viennese Ringstraße
2015 is a year of anniversaries. This year we celebrate 60 years since the signing of the independence treaty, 650 years of the University of Vienna, 200 years since the Congress of Vienna, as well as 150 years of Vienna’s Ringstrasse.
A good time to reflect on becoming a danubian metropolis
In 1814/15 Vienna was home to no more than 250,000 inhabitants. This roughly comprises the present population of Graz. A look at the historical maps shows us the extent of the city, consisting only of today’s first district. Within a few decades, medieval Vienna would undergo fundamental changes. The population of Vienna doubled so rapidly that mid-19th century, nearly half a million people inhabited the city. Resulting from this rampant growth, social unrest and the subsequent March Revolution forced authorities to reform zoning and residency laws. Thus marked the birth of those districts surrounding the Vienna Belt (Gürtel).
In addition to the development of suburbs outside the fortification wall, a road that would shape the Viennese cityscape forever was built. 150 years ago, Franz Joseph I opened a boulevard considered one of the finest in the world: the Vienna Ringstrasse. After 50 years of construction, the Ring was opened on May 1, 1865. The destruction of the outdated fortification walls provided space and opportunity to modernize the old city. Vacant land was replaced by magnificent buildings like the State Opera, Parliament and the new university, which now adorn Vienna’s center. Having shut down the year before, the old Viennese porcelain manufactory did not survive until the ring road opening. All the more reason to toast to the mighty boulevard.
The Augarten Porcelain Manufactory honors the 150th anniversary with a commemorative plate, on which the opening of the ring road by the Emperor Franz Josef I and Empress Elisabeth is presented in a contemporary drawing. Hemmed in precious gold, the plate is a small souvenir and a salute to this historic moment.