Before Sunrise - Vienna

Austria, Vienna Guide (A): Before Sunrise - Vienna

‘Before Sunrise' shows an American flaneur meeting a French university student whilst going to Vienna. The film captures a night the two of them have together in Vienna, becoming close and developing a mutual attraction before taking leave of each other the following day. The guide takes one to featured cafés, churches and the banks of the Danube. The tour explores prominent points of Vienna whilst providing information about the city and film.
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walk Route

Guide Name: Before Sunrise - Vienna
Guide Location: Austria » Vienna
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 4.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.1 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: The Prater   Zollamtbrücke   Augartenbrücke   Schottentor   Mölkerbastei   Maria am Gestade   Kleines Café   Franz Josef I Statute/Albertina   Spittelberg   Record Shop in Windmühlgasse   Café Sperl  
Author: J. Raimund Pfarrkirchner
Author Bio: By twenty years old Austrian-born J. Raimund Pfarrkirchner had already lived on four continents, in places as diverse as Nepal, Uruguay and the United States. He has recently returned from a social project in the Philippines to Vienna where he is in the process of publishing his first book, A Natural Fortress, on the topic of Hindu and Himalaya culture.
The Prater

1) The Prater

Our first record of the land that now constitutes the Prater comes from 1162 when the then emperor, Friedrich I, gifted the noble de Prato family the land. Subsequently the land was bought and sold many times until Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II obtained the land in 1560 and designated it the private hunting grounds of the family. It was not until two hundred years later the Emperor Josef II decreed the land to be public and allowed for the establishment of businesses in the area that catered to...
Image by Herbert Ortner under Creative Commons License.

2) Zollamtbrücke

The Zollamt bridge and footbridge above it have been spanning the Vienna River, a tributary of the Danube, for more than one hundred years. In 1900 the footbridge was constructed, replacing a wooden bridge built in 1868, and the bridge underneath was designed to support the Wiener Stadtbahn, Viennese city railway, the predecessor to the modern U-bahn, or Underground, system.

Like much of Vienna the renowned palace of Schloß Schönbrunn was occasionally plagued by flooding from the Vienna...
Image by Invisigoth67 under Creative Commons License.

3) Augartenbrücke

The Augarten Bridge connects the ninth and second districts of Vienna by spanning the Danube canal, a canal that runs through the centre of the city making the twentieth district and second district, which contains the Prater, into an island.

During the film the main characters engage a poet at this bridge to write a poem for them using a word of their choice. They choose the word ‘milkshake’ and the poet produces this poem:

‘Daydream delusion/Limousine Eyelash/Oh, baby with your...
Image by Extrawurst under Creative Commons License.

4) Schottentor

In 1192 on his way back from the crusades Richard the Lionheart was captured by Leopold V Duke of

Austria. The Duke accused Richard of arranging the murder of the Duke’s cousin, Conrad of Montferrat, and was still offended that Richard had the removed the flag of Leopold V in Acre. When ransom was paid Leopold V founded Wiener Neustadt and with the remaining money built a city wall round Vienna.

Schottentor was one of the gates on city wall of Vienna. It remained one of the few entry...
Image by My Friend under Creative Commons License.

5) Mölkerbastei

The Mölkerbastei is one of the old bastions of the former fortifications of Vienna. Beethoven spent more than thirty cumulative years living and working in Vienna, and for a total of eight of those years he was located in the Pasqualati-Haus in Mölkerbastei were he composed Symphonies Number. 4, 5, 7, and 8.

As character Céline walks near Beethoven’s former residence resting atop this derelict military installations she exposes her views on feminism, ‘You know, I have this awful...
Image by Andreas Praefcke under Creative Commons License.
Maria am Gestade

6) Maria am Gestade

Built on the location of an alleged wooden church dating from the 800s, the first reference to the modern church Maria am Gestade comes from 1158, making it one of the oldest churches in all of Vienna.

The church is built in wholly Gothic style (unlike other churches in Vienna which are only partly Gothic owing to additions and reconstruction). In its infantile state the church was most often frequented by sailors and fishermen who worked on the Danube. The city of Passau was far more...
Image by Thierry under Creative Commons License.
Kleines Café

7) Kleines Café

American journalist David Brooks coined the term BOBOs, a portmanteau of bourgeois and bohemian, and it is exactly this crowd that the café attracts. The aptly named Kleines Café, meaning ‘small café’, is owned by actor Hanno Pöschlo and in addition to said BOBOs the café draws many actors and others in the film industry.

Café is something of a misnomer however as the location is more often frequented by those wishing to consume something a bit stronger than coffee. The main...
Image by Julius Cruickshank under Creative Commons License.
Franz Josef I Statute/Albertina

8) Franz Josef I Statute/Albertina

At two points during the film does the viewer find Jesse and Céline at the Franz Josef I Statute on the Albertina museum. The Albertina museum was a private collection of drawing sand prints built on one of the few remaining fortifications of the city of Vienna and it passed from the hands of the Habsburgs to the First Republic of Austria in 1919

In the first of two scenes at the site Jesse and Céline discuss the ‘other worldliness’ of their evening together and then the following...

9) Spittelberg

Like much of Vienna located outside the Ring Road Spittelberg was once its own town. The region was used for agriculture and also contained a municipal hospital. Croatians, then subjects of the Austrian crown, were the principal inhabitants of Spittelberg. In 1683 the whole area was destroyed during the Turkish siege of Vienna save the cellars of the houses. It was rebuilt after the Turkish defeat and quickly gained a reputation as the place to go for dodgy inns and taverns and boasted a high...
Record Shop in Windmühlgasse

10) Record Shop in Windmühlgasse

After riding round the Ring Road in one of Vienna's iconic trams the couple disembark and visit a record shop where Céline asks Jesse if he knows ‘Come Here’ by Kath Bloom after they both agree the record shop is ‘pretty neat’. The two enter the listening booth and awkwardly listen to the song:

‘There's a wind that blows in from the north, And it says that loving takes its course. Come here. Come here. No I'm not impossible to touch, I have never wanted you so much....
Image by Guitarpop under Creative Commons License.
Café Sperl

11) Café Sperl

Café Sperl dates from 1880 and has a vibrant history. It is listed as a monument by the government and owing to its impressive architecture and Rococo décor it is not difficult to imagine why. In the beginning of the 20th century it was the usual haunt of many art students who traded drawing and sketches for cups of coffee. Although not publicised for the obvious reason, Adolf Hitler also spent a fair amount of time there during this time in Vienna.

The café was damaged during the Second...
Image by Jim McDougall under Creative Commons License.

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