Vienna Shopping: Kohlmarkt Market, Graben,
Kärntner Road & New Market - Part I

Whilst the Mariahilferstraße serves the crowds as a shopping territory, there are three lanes in the first district that preserve a dash of exclusivity with loads of boutiques and traditional shops: The Kohlmarkt connects the Hofburg with the Graben Road - which is rather a square - and the Kärntner Straße between the National Opera and the Graben.

The Kohlmarkt Road with a view on the Hofburg Palace

Graben means ditch and this road got its name from the ditch that ran here to secure the Roman camp of Vindobona in antiquity. Today, it is tourists that run here up and down and up again to marvel at this stronghold of luxury trade in Vienna. Until a few years ago, "Julius Meinl" used to be a up-market groceries store. Then its Austrian (thus native) branch was sold and the name "Julius Meinl" used in Eastern Europe only.

The mother of all Meinls is the luxury delicatessen at the crossing point of Graben and Kohlmarkt. Further up the Kohlmarkt (which, by the way, means "cabbage market"), you can find a number of pretty houses and admire their facades - note the "Artaria Haus", an Art Nouveau house at No 9. Artaria was and still is a publisher of music and annotations - the ground floor, however, now serves as a bookshop.

Vienna′s Most Exclusive Shopping Areas

To the opposite and a bit further up, you can find the legendary confectioner Demel. Established in 1786, the café and bakery is among the most traditional (and exclusive) in all of Vienna. It still proudly advertises the fact that it was a "K.K. Zuckerbäcker" - a Royal and Imperial Confectioner and supplier of the court. Even further up the Kohlmarkt you will ultimately get to the Michaelerplatz with the Hofburg, the Michaelerkirche and the Loos Haus marking its ends.

The Looshaus House at the beginning of the Kohlmarkt

The Graben, on the other side, is easily as crowded, yet more spacious. After the ditch of the Roman camp had been filled in the 13th century, the space was quickly used by all sorts of houses. Most of them were torn down in the early 19th century, when the square was widened. This explains the impressive array of large Ringstraße-style buildings by the Graben.

Originally, most buildings were Baroque like the one called Palais Bartolotti-Partenfeld on the corner to Dorotheergasse. Beyond this building, only the Pestsäule ("Column of the Plague") recalls these days long gone - and of course the impressive Peterskirche Church nearby. The Pestsäule was built by Jesuits in 1679.

Continue with "Kohlmarkt, Graben & Others - Part II"

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Further Reading

Wikipedia on the Kohlmarkt

Official Website of the Kohlmarkt Shops

Essay on Shopping in Vienna