Old Vienna: Art Nouveau and The Naschmarkt

I love food, I love markets, I love going grocery shopping.  The variety of produces that now abound in our supermarkets (as a result of trade) is heaven.  There is everything you could possibly want but nothing beats going to an open air market.  Europe has a culture of these markets and if you love markets, in Vienna you must surely go to the Naschmarkt.  Naschmarkt is one of the most popular market and stretches out roughly 1.5km along the Wienzeile.  It’s a long walk, but you won’t feel a thing being absorbed with all the produces that buildings that surround the area. 

If you are an art nouveau fan like I am, you can combine the trip to the market with a visit to the Secession Building and the Wagner Apartments.  The Secession building was designed in the “Jugendstil style” and has a motto on the facade which translated says “To every Age its Art, to Art its Freedom.” I am drawn to this windowless white building trimmed with gold owls and a globe of entwined laurel. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Inside, there is an amazing Frieze by Gustav Klimt (who painted “The Kiss”) measuring 34 meters long and fills up an entire room.  This is believed to be a comment on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  Beautiful. Not sure what he is trying to say with it, but I like it anyways.

Then just a few minutes walk is the Wagner Apartments.  This overlooks the Naschmarkt and was designed by Otto Wagner in 1899 in the ultimate Jugendstil (art nouveau) style.  The facades of these apartments are not merely square plain colored apartments as is usually the case, instead, they are decorated with gilt oranament and tiles of flower pattersns adorn the walls.  Flowers in pink and green creep up the walls. Even the blaconies are molded.  I love it.  I wonder what the insides look like.  It must be so beautiful.  I suppose it must be like the art nouveau furniture at the museum.  I wish my house could be in art-nouveau.

Architecture aside, the Naschmarkt itself is a an enjoyable experience. I could spend hours walking around looking at the stalls of fresh produce, fruits, vegetables…anything you fancy.  The stalls at the beginning of the road are orderly and in their own little stalls but as you walk further down, it becomes a myraid of producers selling wine, cheese, meats and fresh breads.  The hundreds of cheese on sale there grab my attention.  I love cheese.  Fresh mozarella with grape vine tomato sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of balsimic vinegar topped with some fresh basil sounds divine.  That would be my lunch.  You can buy all the ingredients you need for a fancy meal here.

There are flowers for sale and shops of oriental spices.  I even spot Thai spices on sale there as well as middle eastern food.  Even if you don’t cook, you can go there to eat.  There are stalls selling sandwiches, oysters and fish and chips.  If you want something more exotic, there are also Kebabs.  I love it and its only a couple of euros. I think it was around 3-4 euros when I was there a few years ago.

On the weekends, the end of Naschmarkt turns into a flea market selling all sorts of antiques and other goods.  It’s a great place to stroll around for antique lovers.  It ranges from old clocks, radios, silverware, photos and household goods to second hand clothes.   There is something for everyone there.   I miss these flea markets.  I want to go look at antiques.  Now I am getting nostalgic so I’d better stop here…

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