At some point, any story about the throbbing aorta of the Palais Quarter, the Herrengasse, contains the regret that roads cannot speak. For the history they would speak of reaches back to Roman times and continues right through to the present day. Initially located outside the former city, the Roman Vindobona, it moved within the walls of Vienna in the 13th century. Thanks to its Roman substructure it towered above the surrounding area, which is probably why it was called “Hochstraße” (High Road) for such a long time. Some five hundred years ago, the estates (“Herren”) erected their government building at this place due to its proximity to the Imperial Court. As a result, it received its new name, which has survived right up to the present day, even though today’s Lower Austrian parliament together with its ladies and gentlemen has long since moved to St. Pölten. In any case, this is our starting point for an exploration of the Palais Quarter. And it’s worth setting time aside for this, be-cause the wonderful architecture of the many palais can only be truly appreciated by taking a closer look. Pedestrians in a hurry will not be able to discover the aesthetics of the façades, the spaciousness of the courtyards and the details of the impressive stairways, ballrooms and hidden chapels. This is best done at a leisurely pace and requires good footwear. Then you can also discover such delights as Café Central, one of the pièces de résistance of the Herrengasse, where a sculpture of Peter Altenberg, an Austrian writer who resided and wrote there, sits right at the entrance. His affection for modern architecture was less than lukewarm. “The badger’s sett, the beehive, the anthill are all comfortable homes. Modern apartments are not” is one of his more famous aphorisms, but it cannot be said to apply to the Palais Quarter, simply because residential life here is so good. In addition to the magnificent buildings of former princes and counts, this is also the site of Vienna’s first high-rise building which we’ll be presenting to you. Also definitely worth visiting are Café Griensteidl and Café Central, an array of shops and restaurants, and of course there are lots of interesting people. We met some of them to find out about the little secrets and delights of the neighbourhood.