Friday, September 20, 2013

Incantato Welcomes You to the City of Haydn: Eisenstadt

Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland, the smallest of Austria's nine provinces. It is the former residence of the Esterhazy princes and home to their residence, the Esterhazy Palace, which is the city's major attraction. Officially labeled as the City of Haydn, the famous Austrian composer Joseph Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterhazy family and lived and worked as Prince Esterhazy's Kapellmeister (music director) in Eisenstadt for over 40 years. Many of his works were composed and premiered in Eisenstadt and Esterhazy Palace. When Haydn was promoted conductor in 1766, he bought a house in Eisenstadt and lived there with his wife until 1778. The house can still be viewed today, along with some original artifacts from Haydn's time. Today, the composer's white marble tomb can be seen in the Bergkirche, Haydn Church, also in Eisenstadt. 

Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt is a stunning baroque palace and presents a fascinating view of the life of splendor once lived at the court of the Princes Esterhazy. Built in the 13th century, the palace was continually rebuilt and extended over the years. It came into the hands of the Esterhazy family in 1649 was the main residence for the family for 300 years. It was initially restored and remodeled in Baroque between 1663 and 1672. This reconstruction resulted in a largely new building and gave the palace the appearance still seen today in the courtyard and main facade. The Haydnsaal was originally a large multi-purpose festival and banquet room. Today, it and the palace are still a hub for cultural events, festivals and concerts regularly organized here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Incantato Favorite: Klagenfurt, Austria

Situated on the eastern shore of the Woerther See, Austria's warmest lake, Klagenfurt is the capital of Austria's southern-most lake of Carinthia. It was founded in the 12th century as an important trade center and transport hub. In 1544 almost the entire city was destroyed by a fire. Reconstruction was understaken mainly by Italian architects, which is one of the reasons Klagenfurt is reminiscent of an Italian town and style. In the 16th century, the city was the center of the Counter-Reformation. During this time, Klagenfurt was extended and partially rebuilt, although most of its historic buildings date back to earlier eras. 
There are many sights to see in Carinthia's capital, such as:
Dom St. Peter und St. Paul
The Cathedral was originally built as a Protestant Church in 1578, however, it was taken over by the Jesuits in 1604 and elevated to the rank of cathedral in 1787, after it had been completely rebuilt in 1727. Its ornate high altar dates back to 1752. 
Altes Rathaus
One of the most attractive sights Klagenfurt has to offer is the 17th century former town hall with its galleried courtyard. It was the first seat of the Klagenfurt town authorities and today  is used as a popular music venue.
Dragon Fountain
Located at the New Square, there is a fountain with a mythical dragon sculpture that was created in 1593. Over time, it has become not only a town symbol, but has also made its way into the Klagenfurt coat of arms. 
Stadtpfarrkirche St. Egid
This Baroque Chruch was built on the site of an earlier church that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. Its spire rises up 299 feet!
This museum houses a collection of early sacred art objects, among other religious artifacts. Its most famous exhibition piece is a 12th century stained-glass panel of Mary Magdalene, which is believed to be the oldest of its kind in Austria. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

WRA Austria and Italy Tour Route

The WRA travelers will being their journey in Vienna (A), then continue on to Eisenstadt (B), where they will visit Esterhazy Palace. They then go to Goettweig (C), and continue their journey along the Danube until they arrive in Salzburg (D). Afterward, the group travels south to Carinthia and its capital city of Klagenfurt (E). Finally, they leave Austria and journey into Italy, where they stop in Pauda (F), before ending in Venice (G).