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Where idyllic suburbia meets history

Rural peace and quiet in the front gardens, shops with personality as well as a historic villa in the immediate vicinity, reminiscent of the Age of Empire. That’s Hietzing.

Greener living

Some three kilometres in length, the Auhofstraße winds its way through Hietzing. No matter whether it’s the villa and embassy district in the lower section, or the village life of the upper Auhofstraße – above all, residents appreciate the peace and quiet and the abundant greenery.

A little bit of village
The upper Auhofstraße

Children's laughter mingles with the clink of coffee spoons on saucers. The smells of summer and freshly baked pastries waft through the air. BÄCKEREI SCHWARZ is the centre and meeting place on Auhofstraße. There’s always something going on here: people have breakfast, chat and laugh in the shade of trees planted in the bakery’s garden. Frequently, Hietzing residents stop for a short while on their way back from shopping to exchange a few words and the news underneath the yellow umbrellas in front of the bakery. “Sorry, I hope I wasn’t pushing in there” – asks an elderly lady. Frau Martina shakes her head. She’s worked here for twelve years, and she knows all her regular customers by their name, favourite drink and most frequent purchase. “Our customers want personal contact, they set great store by it and that’s why they come to us”, the shop assistant explains as she pops two bread rolls into a typically yellow paper bag. Bäckerei Schwarz is a family-run business, the main branch first opened on Auhofstraße over 100 years ago. Gertraud Maurer took over the business as an 18-year-old from her father, who passed away at an early age. Her children now also work in a managerial capacity at the bakery. In general, the store is always open – the oven only remains cold on the two Christmas bank holidays. “And even then some of the customers complain,” grins Frau Martina. “Because they know: the Schwarz is always there for me.” That’s why business booms best on Sundays – many customers only come in for one or two bread rolls or a litre of milk, and of course for a chat. In this regard Bäckerei Schwarz also offers the basic essentials of food, ice cream, little chocolate umbrellas and even wedding cakes. “Good morning, Frau Maria”, the shop assistant briefly calls out towards the door. In earlier days the bakery was actually in the basement, says Frau Martina, but the space there became far too small seven years ago, so the bakery had to move to new premises. “We’ve never been interested in offering some run-of-the-mill, anonymous service”, is how she explains the recipe for over 100 years of success. The bakery knows the value of its regular customers. And so it also encourages activities in the neighbourhood. There’s a children’s bakery during the summer holidays and people also gather to bake together at the Grätzelfest – the neighbourhood fete.

Rural silence is even more noticeable when you stroll along Auhofstraße from town. Rose bushes in front gardens and wrought-iron balconies and window grilles dominate the street scene, green hedges shield private spaces from curious glances. Birds twitter and chirp. Passing by the comparatively modern KÄTHE LEICHTER-HOF from the 1980s, you soon see the modest Abbey of the Missionary Oblates who also settled in this quiet residential street. At the point where the Auhofstraße meets the Hietzinger Kai, the Hüttler family of watchmakers set up a small business that is all too easy to oversee. The HÜTTLER family has been in the watchmaking trade for 250 years. Gerhard Hüttler has managed the family business in the Thirteenth District since 1963. Herr Hüttler has no need to advertise: customers simply turn up at his and his son’s shop. In particular, they like to bring old and rare watches here for elaborate repairs.

Nature on your doorstep
The Lainzer Tiergarten

The residents of Hietzing have a front garden consisting of an area covering 2,450 hectares; they need only share it with a few wild boar and the odd cyclist or two. From the Auhofstraße you pass through the Nikolaitor, and from there it’s only a few metres to one of Vienna’s largest nature reserves – the Lainzer Tiergarten. A family sits down for a picnic on the grass; a little girl smiles on a swing. Sports enthusiasts are well catered for – running routes and cycling trails are signposted for all to see. Yet leisurely walks through the green areas are never dull: there are all kinds of things to listen to and see. For example, the chirping of crickets, the tracks of some 900 wild boars snuffling for roots and insects among the undergrowth in these parts, or the NIKOLAI CHAPEL, one of the oldest preserved sacral buildings in Vienna. Intriguing historical quirks can also be discovered at this point, including the history of the “poor Schlucker”. For the master builder Philipp Schlucker is supposed to have built the 22-kilometre wall that still surrounds the zoo in the 18th century. Unlike his competitors he asked for only one-sixth of the price. The population anticipated a bankruptcy and christened him the “poor Schlucker” – an epithet which also means “poor sucker” in German. Yet after five years the building was completed to the full satisfaction of the Imperial House. In reward for his efforts, Schlucker even received the title of master forestry architect. The HERMES VILLA, which Emperor Franz Joseph ordered to be built for his spouse Elisabeth, is also worth visiting as well as the lookout tower on the HUBERTUSWARTE. Even so, the Lainzer Tiergarten could not always be visited by the general public. In the times of the monarchy, it served as an imperial hunting ground. It was only opened to the general public in 1919. As a nature reserve, the zoo is also part of the Wienerwald biosphere park – which is why special attention is paid here to the natural beauty of the area. Children can playfully discover their surroundings on the forest and nature trail and the “planetary path” leads walkers through a miniature solar system true to scale. In addition to the wild boar so well known to city dwellers, the extremely varied wildlife here includes thirteen different species of bat. Fallow and roe deer as well as moufflon sheep have also made the park their habitat. All you need to discover and appreciate this diversity is simply plenty of time.
 
More information on graetzlbericht.at

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