Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wien ist anders!

I don't think I could have enough time to relate everything I've heard and seen.

Classes have started. German is ok. Right at my level I think. It helps that my room mate has had a year more than I.

Art History is my favorite. Professor Kröll is great. He took us to the Vienna Museum today. In a couple short hours, we took a tour of the history of Vienna. From its roots as a Roman outpost, to the collaspe of an Empire in the early 1900's. This really is an amazing place. I've learned so much. We went over the Turkish invasions of 1529 and 1683. The Vinenese were able to defeat the Turks both times. One of the things I found interesting today was the building of St. Stephan's Catheral. We gathered around a model of the city during the 1500's and got down to eye level. By far, the tallest and most visible landmark in the city was the catherdal; a building constructed for to the worship of God. Now visible in many city scapes are sky scrapers; buildings dedicated to the worship of money and power.

We also talked about the symbolism behind the stained glass windows. Most medival buildings didn't have windows with glass. So the light that would stream through the stained glass windows was other worldly for the church's patrons. Heavenly; it seemed. Also from the outside, the windows look drab and gray. From the inside, they glow! One needs to be inside the church to understand it's full glory, to have a full worship experience.

I was also struck by the genius of Maria Theresa. Not only did she bear 16 children, but she ruled an empire successfully for 40 years while the rest of the world was fighthing off revolutions! She established mandatory public school in Austria. And also she came up with the foreign concept of taxing the nobility, while at the same time, rewarding them from the state treasury for civil service. And that's how she kept revolutionaries at bay, while her daughter, Marie Antoinette, in France was beheaded for the stark differences between the nobility and the masses....

So just some wichtige Infos for the next time you're on Jepordy! haha.

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