Freyung - Vienna's Nicest Square

Though Freyung is described as a square in the guide books it is not in fact square at all. Platz would probably be a better name for its irregular almost triangular space. Either way, for me this is the most charming square in Vienna, with the huge Shotttenstift, ( the benedictine monastery I stayed in ) on one side, the Schottenkeller and Schottengasse on the other and a line of wonderful Baroque palaces opposite.

One of these palaces is Palais Kinsky which you enter through a courtyard from the street. To the left, opposite the restaurant and gallery, theres a door which seems to be always open and which you can wander through without any admission fee or hassle. The staircase you climb up is unbelievably elegant and stylised and then at the top there is a perfect frescoed ceiling. This palace was designed by Lukas Van Hildebrandt and is considerd to be one of his masterpieces.

Returning to the square, the word Freyung means asylum and got it's name from the Benedictine tradition of sheltering fugitives from the law. Traditionally this was a lively market square and the practice of Christmas Markets has now been introduced here. Freyung's market is one of the most atmospheric in Vienna as it is a small space and just allows for a cosy number of stalls, plus gluhwien and hot chestnut and food stands. The stalls sell mostly, baskets, wooden ornaments and toys, glass, ceramics and other crafts. In the evenings a blanket of mulled wine and hot food fumes drifts over everything and with the huge monastery looming behind, there's a definite medieval air.

  • Phone: 532 4200 (Palais Kinsky)
  • Directions: Freyung is next to Herrengasse and the Hofburg on one side and Am-Hof and Stephansplatz on the other. It is very central. U-bahn 2 to Schottentor brings you really close to Freyung as do Trams 1 and 2




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