To the Golden Dragon - a restaurant with history


There are a lot of restaurants in Vienna, but only a few can look back at such traditions, like the Gösser Bierklinik. More than 300 years ago the restaurant has been first opened and is therefore one of the oldest in Vienna. But the history of the house dates back even much further, all of two thousand years, one could say.

At that time a Roman fortress was situated in the area, where we today find Vienna's centre. It served as fortification against the agressive German tribes on the other, the northern bank of the Danube. The fortress was called Vindobona, but it went down together with the Roman Empire and had to leave the ground to the Germans eventually. The ruined rests of the fortress can still be found under the city of today, though.

If there are works in the underground there is always something that appears. And the Romans had - from our point of view - a blessed habit, to put a stamp on their bricks. They stamped them with the number of the legion, that had manufactured the bricks.

Because of that we know, that the tenth and fourteenth legion were acting as guards in Vienna. It is interesting, by the way, that the Romans here did not write XIV for the number 14, but XIIII. In this house apparently such bricks were found and later put into the wall.

But we continue with another historic event. Indeed we have to pass about a thousand years, because in the area of Vienna there were no German settlers before the Hungarians were defeated in the Battle of the Lechfeld in 955.

The Babenbergs were then the dynasty ruling Austria, for more than 200 years, when the Hapsburgs took over. In the 12th century Duke Henry II Jasomirgott moved the residence from Klosterneuburg to Vienna. As every Austrian child has to learn in school, he was called Jasomirgott (Ifonlygod), because he finished all his speeches with the sentence "If only God helps me".

1406 is the next interesting year, because there is a document from that year, confirming that there stood a house on this spot at that time. The house, as we know it today, was built later though, in 1566. And at the same time it had gotten its name. In our days the house-sign, the Golden Dragon, is safely put behind glas.

More than another hundred years later yet, in 1683, the Turks stood at the ports of Vienna and besieged the city. Herr Johann Steindel distinguished himself in those hard times and got the house out of gratitude. Herr Steindel was also a city councellor (maybe that was the real reason, why he got the house?) and at the same time the director of the hospital. Now he opened a restaurant in his new property. It is possible that the name "Bierklinik" refers to his work in the hospital. Later, as the streets were named and the houses got numbers instead of house-signs, the whole street was named after this manysided man.

And - bound by traditions, as people are in this place, they have written the names of all of the owners or tenants of the house onto the wall. Catching is also a watercolour-painting from the looks of the Steindelgasse in 1911. Of course there was the Bierklinik already to be seen, but at that time it was called Pilsner Urquell Bierklinik.
In 1924 the Gösser-concern bought the place and leases the restaurant since then. But even Gösser has rather impressive ancestors ... And that the people like the taste of the beer can be seen in the following poem, which hangs on one of the restaurant's walls:


Bernhard Kauntz, Wolvertem, 2010
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11.1.2010 by webmaster@werbeka.com