The Holy Roman Ring Road

Emperor Franz Joseph officially opened the Ringstrasse on May 1st, 1865. Adrian Mourby looks at its 150 years as a Viennese landmark.

The opening of the Ringstrasse, illustration published in Leipzig, 1865.Vienna came late to the idea of demolishing its city walls. By the middle of the 19th century most European capitals had recognised that modern artillery had made them redundant. Moreover, the impediment to civic enlargement presented by city walls negated any benefits to security. In Paris, Napoleon III had already shown that the creation of broad boulevards around a city centre increased security because it made the erection of barricades difficult.

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