The history of Europe – and Austria is no exception – is the story of reigns and rulers. Fashion, art and culture, the masterpieces that we so admire today, all were largely determined by the moods and wishes of those who held power in their hands. Who was in power in medieval Europe? Well, power was in fact a complex bundle of relationships between secular rulers and spiritual leaders. Archbishops and emperors, aristocratic families and monastic orders all sought power, and they made history on the way.
Even today Vienna bears evidence of the might of spiritual and secular rulers: the old City Hall building, the Ruprechtskirche, the oldest church in town, the site where once stood the medieval stockade, the Jewish quarter and of course the Ankeruhr or Anke Clock, which hundreds of people come to see every day. We can admire the superbly preserved Coburg Palace, once the property of a mighty noble family related by marriage to half of Europe. And recognise the achievements of Dr Karl Lueger, probably the Austrian capital’s most active mayor.
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