Museum Judenplatz#11 in Best Things To Do in Vienna
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Judenplatz earned its name back in the 13th century when it was first designated as the Jewish Ghetto. For centuries, this neighborhood remained the epicenter of Jewish life in Vienna, an identity that still lives among the exhibits found at the Museum Judenplatz. This small yet effective branch of the Vienna Jewish Museum (located a little south of Judenplatz) details the role Viennese Jews played in the development of city life, leading up to when they became the targets of violence during World War II.
Located below the museum, the Mittelalterliche Synagogue (Medieval Synagogue) gives a more authentic look at the history of Jewish life in Vienna. Constructed in the mid-13th century, this synagogue was once one of the largest in the world. It was systematically torn down starting in the 14th century as the surrounding neighborhood fell victim to pogroms. Finish your tour of the area with a visit to the nearby Holocaust Memorial. Many say a visit here is a moving and humbling experience.
The Museum Judenplatz is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is about 10 euros (around $11.50) for adults and 5 euros (about $6) for students up to age 27; kids up to 18 are granted free entry. Free guided tours are available. For more information, visit the Museum Judenplatz section of the Vienna Jewish Museum website.
More Best Things To Do in Vienna
#1 St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
Towering above the streets of the Innere Stadt, this massive cathedral is the true centerpiece of Vienna. St. Stephen's has stood in this very spot since the early 12th century, but little remains of the original aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentuerme (Towers of the Heathens). The Gothic structure standing today was built in the early 1300s and has survived the Turkish siege of 1683. It was here that mourners came to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart in 1791. In 1805, Napoleon used St. Stephen's doors to post his farewell edict. And it weathered attacks from both German and Russian armies during World War II. Today, this stunning cathedral remains an active house of worship, a national icon and a top tourist attraction.
After you've toured the main section, head underground to the catacombs where many victims of the Great Plague of Vienna were laid to rest. Move on to the gruft, or vault, where numerous urns contain the remains of members of the Hapsburg royal family. Before you leave, you should climb the 343 steps to the top of the South Tower or use the elevator to reach the lookout terrace at the North Tower – you'll be treated to a spectacular view. Visitors call this one of those "must-visit" attractions in Europe, praising the gorgeous church and its surroundings.
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