Historic Vienna Promenade: A Walk in the City Center
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Special Medical Restriction
As you walk along the Graben admiring the elegant architecture on both sides of Vienna's most famous street, it's hard to imagine that this wasn't always the exclusive part of Vienna.
Once upon a time, the Graben was a working man's neighborhood, dotted with wooden houses, markets, and warehouses for trade goods such as clothing, carpets, and grain. Not only was the area overcrowded, it was also where a stream used for sewage disposal originated.
And the stench wasn't the worst part. The warehouses would hold goods for months at a time, and were heavily infested with rats, which were heavily infested with fleas, which were heavily infected with Yersinia pestis bacteria. The result was plague so severe that it was called the "Viennese death" as it spread through Europe.
Finally, during Vienna's Great Plague of 1679, a religious order called the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity created special treatment hospitals for children and adults. Though their measures were simple, it was a vast improvement over the treatments of the time. And the tide was turned.
The Holy Trinity Plague Column you'll see in the Graben was commissioned by Emperor Leopold I as a "mercy column" in hopes of speeding the outbreak's end. It ran its course by the early 1680s. But the column wasn't finished until 1693.
Lipizanner stallions have something of a royal bloodline. The breed began during the Moorish occupation of Spain, when Arabic and Iberian horses were cross-bred. Austrian nobility began training them in a fancy style of parade-ground performance in the 16th century. Today, every horse trained in Vienna's famous Spanish Riding School can be traced to eight stallions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Maybe that's why the ones you'll see live in stables that were built for a crown prince.
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