The "Austrian Riviera"
Vienna discovers the seaside

On several occasions during the last few years, the Wien Museum has dedicated exhibitions to "Viennese" places outside the city, including Lake Neusiedl, the "sea of the Viennese" and the once-fashionable lido on the Danube at Kritzendorf. Now the journey continues – along the Southern Railway line to the Adriatic where the "Austrian Riviera" was developed for tourism in the 19th century. The region's first boom period lasted no longer than some 25 years, from 1890 to 1914. Its centres were Opatija (then Abbazia), Trieste and Grado, but also more southern coastal cities such as Split (Spalato) and Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Different types of tourism were developed for different destinations: While the initial focus was almost exclusively on medical cures at health resorts, later years brought family holidaymakers and travellers keen on exploring regional culture and history.

The exhibition is designed as a round trip, with regions coming into view as they rise to prominence in the development of tourism along the Adriatic. The 450 items on show include hitherto unpublished photographs from Istria and Dalmatia around 1900 and objects from the holdings of the Wien Museum which are on display for the first time. Tableware and furnishings from hotels, contemporary tourist advertising and works of art by Egon Schiele, Rudolf von Alt and Albin Egger-Lienz, among others, illustrate the exhibition themes. Moreover, many objects were provided on loan by museums in the region (Trieste, Rijeka, Split, Opatija and others).

Searching for the traces of the past has become something of a trend in recent years, both in Austria and in Croatia. Knowledge has been reclaimed and is being passed on again, and the cultural history of the region is being explored with renewed vigour.

The exhibition is grounded on the results of recent research, and a wide array of topics is addressed in both the exhibition and the catalogue, ranging from the significance of military policy in the upper Adriatic, the impact of transport development, the crucial role of medical experts in promoting health resorts such as Opatija/Abbazia, the evolution of new aesthetics and the ethnographic exploration of one the poorest regions of the Habsburg Empire by Vienna-based scholars.
Bertold Löffler, Preliminary sketch for postcard of the 1913 Adriatic Exhibition, Ink, chalk, watercolour, © Wien Museum
The "Austrian Riviera"
Vienna discovers the seaside
14. November 2013 to 30. March 2014


"Ewige Sehnsucht nach der Adria"
Salzburger Nachrichten

"Das Timing könnte nicht besser sein: Der Winter schleicht sich langsam ein, das Wien Museum träumt vom Süden, konkret: von der "Österreichischen Riviera".

"Man könnte glatt ein bisschen wehmütig werden, wenn man den Ausdruck "österreichische Riviera" hört."

"Die auch kulturgeschichtlich penibel erarbeitete Ausstellung (so etwa bei Paul Kupelwiesers Insel Brioni) erzählt (...) in spannender wie unterhaltsamer Weise - und lässt den alten Charme der Sehnsuchtsorte wieder erwachen."
Kronen Zeitung

"Das Wien Museum lässt das Meer rauschen. Eine bunte Ausstellung erzählt von der Entdeckung der Adria als "Österreichische Riviera."
Kärntner Tageszeitung

Supporting Sponsors

Wiener Stadtwerke

Exhibition Sponsors

Hotel Miramar
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Wiener Zeitung