Vienna Media News 7/2013 VIDEO: Horse-drawn carriages in Vienna
Horse-drawn carriages are as much a part of the look and feel of Vienna as its popular attractions such as St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Giant Ferris Wheel. A horse-drawn carriage ride opens up a whole new perspective on some of the capital's best-known sights, like the Vienna State Opera, Hofburg and Ringstrasse. The leisurely pace ensures that there is more time to focus on the details - and the nostalgic charm is included in the fare. These time-honored passenger cabs are known locally as Fiaker, a term which entered the German language from French and is widely believed to be derived from the Rue Saint Fiacre, home to the oldest horse-drawn carriage rank in Paris. Fiacres became a common site in central Vienna in about 1670. Between 1860 and 1900 there were more than 1,000 of them serving the capital's population. The drivers were often well-known characters who supplemented their income as singers, among other things.
Today there are around 30 horse-drawn carriage companies in Vienna operating a total of 165 carriages. Pick-up and drop-off points are dotted around the first district, with the most popular located outside St. Stephen's Cathedral, in front of the Albertina, and on Petersplatz and Heldenplatz. Short tours lasting around 20 minutes criss-cross the historic city center, while 40-minute grand tours take in a section of the Ringstrasse boulevard, as well as the old town. Carriages can also be booked in advance for private tours to take passengers from their hotel to the opera, or from the center of town to the nearby Prater park.
Last year fiacre trips were introduced at Vienna Central Cemetery for the first time. The pick-up point at Gate 2 (Tor 2) is in operation daily from 10am to 5pm weather permitting, with trips available from the end of March until the end of October. Tours take in numerous famous graves, or Ehrengräber, including those of Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Adolf Loos, Hans Moser and Falco, and reveal some of the natural beauty that the extensive burial grounds have to offer.
Fiacre company Michelfeit offers a special service for people with restricted mobility: wheelchair users (wheelchairs up to 300kg) and up to two accompanying passengers can now explore Vienna aboard specially modified carriages.
- Horse-drawn carriage rides, Central Cemetery, end of March until end of October, daily (weather permitting) 10:00-17:00, reservations available on tel. (+43 699) 18154022
- Wheelchair-friendly carriages, Michelfeit fiacre company, pick-up point and duration by prior arrangement, tel. (+43 664) 4607333 (Mr Alfred) and tel. (+43 699) 10848662 (Mr Wojtek) Fax (+43 1) 7289410, firstname.lastname@example.org
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