Vienna Christmas Markets, Part Four: Schloss Wilhelminenberg

Don’t let yourself be fooled by dictionaries, which usually translate German “Schloss” as “castle”. Most English speakers, on hearing that word, think of a medieval building with a moat, a drawbridge, and battlements. The German word for that is “Burg”; Schlösser are nothing like that. They are large mansions, usually built in the 17th or 18th century by some count or prince. One of them is Schloss Wilhelminenberg, although the current building only dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Like many of its kind, the castle has a rich history which came to an unfortunate climax during the second half of the 20th century, when it was used as a home for girls. In recent years, claims of abuse came up which are currently under investigation.

Anyway, the building, situated in a large park on one of the hills in the west of the city, is now a hotel. I found news of the Christmas market on a website I use a lot (only in German, I’m afraid). There, they advertised the market as a quiet affair in a beautiful location, so I went exploring.

The entire market is indeed not so much familiar as downright tiny, only 10 booths or so, and it would indeed have been quiet, if it hadn’t been for a number of children who were desperately and vociferously trying to get their parents’ attention. The game of Bavarian curling going on on the tiny ice rink didn’t help, either.

As to the view, I’m sure it would have been magnificent in daylight and less foggy weather. As it was, you could at least see a few city lights shimmer through.

The merchandise on offer didn’t catch my eye much. It was about the usual stuff you can get anywhere, only less of it. I don’t think I’m going to bother coming out here again any time soon.

Size: some 10 booths
Prices: low, hot beverages start at €2.70
Kitsch: high
Special offer: view of the city

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