Impressions of travelling through Austria in Summer 2021.
The architectural style of Art Nouveau or Jugendstil had its heyday around 1900 and faded away until WW I. It was the last bloom of the bourgeois styles of Europe in the last decades before the war. Decorative elements played an important role and there were a lot of floral and figurative elements in the layout of the facades and the interiors. Later architecture became much more pragmatic and frugal.
Ljubljana, albeit a relatively small town, became one of the centers of Art Nouveau in Europe and you will find a lot of interesting examples built by famous Austro-Hungarian architects in the city. The buildings are well cared for and seem like they have been built just yesterday.
Bled is a somewhat remote lake in the Slovenian Alps. It is well known within the country and in neighboring Austria, yet not so much in other parts of the world. The lake itself is quite small, but the views and the surroundings are spectacular. There is a small island with a church in the middle of the lake making for a great panorama. Also there is a castle on a steep hill making the view even more memorable. The town itself is lovely as well, with a nice promenade and many caffes to enjoy a famous cream cake from Bled while enjoying the views.
The Baroque architectural style became predominant during the 17th and 18th centuries in some parts of Europe. Essentially, it was a countermovement to the simplicity and inwardness of the new reformed movements in the north of the continent. The catholic church and ruling dynasties went the other way and showed their wealth and grandiosity by building monumental structures with rich and detailed facades housing countless precious artworks. As part of a Catholic nation, the Austro-Hungarian empire, Ljubljana underwent similar changes in this period. Many of the Baroque buildings from this era can still be seen today.
Bad Ischl in Upper Austria used to be the favorite retreat for the ruling family of the Austrian Empire. The Habsburg family liked it so much that they bought property here and many other wealthy families followed suit. Hence, in the end of the 19th century many beautiful and spacious villas were built in different styles, such as classicist, art deco and traditional. Furthermore, there is a plethora of interesting churches and administrative buildings in Bad Ischl worth visiting.
According to myths Ljubljana was founded by Jason, the hero of Greek mythology who stole the golden fleece from King Aeëtes and then fled aboard the Argo with his comrades, the Argonauts, across the Black Sea and up the Danube and the Sava until they reached the Ljubljanica. There they dismantled their ship to carry it overland to the Adriatic coast, where they rebuilt the vessel and set sail back to Greece. On their way to the coast, they stopped at a large lake in the marshes near the source of the Ljubljanica, where a dragon was said to dwell, whereupon Jason fought, defeated and killed the monster.