Small country, big history: Becoming independent in 1955, the alpine country’s history dates back to the Stone Age. While we, the Editors’ team of the EUSTORY History Campus, were strolling through the streets of Vienna, we wondered: How do people perceive Austrian history in a city where every corner tells a story about the past? In the streets of the Austrian capital we asked locals, tourists and expats: “What if…you could relive one moment from Austrian history?”
Did Someone Say Sisi?
Viona, 24, Germany
I’d go back to the times of empress Elizabeth, because I think that we can nowadays not imagine how populous that time was… Probably very interesting and intriguing!
Anonymous, 24 , Germany
I am not from Austria and don’t know much about Austrian history but I am a big fan of Sisi. So most likely I’d like to relive a moment, being Sisi going somewhere.
Andrea, 31, Spain
We would probably travel back in time to the era of Sisi and the Habsburg Monarchy.
A Dynasty to Remember
Yoanna, 19, Bulgaria
As far as I know there was this moment in time when the rich Habsburg family dynasty used to have a lot of palaces such as the Schönbrunn Palace, not only in Vienna, but spread all over Europe. So if I had to choose, I’d find it very interesting to be part of the Habsburgs and find out what it feels like to hold half of Europe in my hands (not only from financial point of view) and what do the familiar relations look like in such a family full of money and power.
Historical Oddities and Music
Sara, 32, and Byron, 30, United Kingdom
Byron: That only shows how little we know about Austria. Yesterday we learnt that Stalin, Hitler, Freud, Tito and a few other world famous figures, all lived in Vienna at the same time in 1913. That means it must have been a really important and favorable time to be in Vienna and it definitely was a mixture of cultures between Czechia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland. Everybody came to Vienna to share ideas and get inspired. Maybe then, but that is a very small moment from Austrian history.
Sara: I would like to re-experience the 18th-century’s period of classical music, with famous Austrian composers like Mozart who also lived in Vienna.
Long Live the Festivals
Sofie, high school student, Austria
To 1946, when the first Bregenz Festival took place. War-torn, Austria was poor and people wanted to emigrate to Switzerland or other neighboring countries. So the main goal of the Bregenz Festival was to bring back culture again. In the beginning, there were some small performances, but over the decades it has become very popular and attracts hundreds of thousands visitors per year.
No Better Time Than Now
Ignus, 30, United Kingdom
I like Austria in the here and now. Vienna is really good now, life seems easy and there’s no reason to travel back in time.
Alexandra, 19, Austria
I would relive the first lockdown. It wasn’t bad, I was able to focus on myself for the first time and I began to read a lot. It was a like a little “escape time”. Then Van der Bellen and Hofer, the two election candidates. We had a lot a lot of fun with this and also made numerous jokes. Then the Ibiza Scandal. I found this especially funny because I’m not a fan of the FPÖ myself.