We visited an open air museum just outside of Graz. The reassembled farmhouses from all over Austria gave us an excellent insight into the lives of the majority of people. There were, for instance, three main regions as far as cooking – one side of Austria cooked on hearths, the other side in ovens (where the farmwomen didn’t have to tend the food once it was baking away), and the middle region had both. But there were no chimneys. The smoke just went into the houses and eventually out of smoke holes. The farmhouses were originals, so the smoke-stained ceilings and dark, almost windowless rooms were not a fictionalized representation. Still, there were many clever adaptations, using streams and springs to bring running water to the stables or the courtyards, for instance.
At the same time, places like this were being built:
In these buildings not only were there chimneys, there were ceramic stoves loaded from behind in passages so that the rooms needn’t get dirty. There were windows and mirrors. There were gilded surfaces reflecting light. What a contrast!
Somehow I’d managed to get through all my history studies without understanding the power of the Hapsburgs. Vienna has made it clear. The design of the city, the private collections of art, the buildings, the treasuries, the large-scale public architecture, the collections of reliquaries and treas..ures of the ancients…Vienna doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Power and influence seem to leap out at one all over the city