If there is an antiques district in Vienna, it is probably the area around the Dorotheum auction house, one of the world’s largest and a magnet for lovers of attractive antiques. And since in Austria many traditions tend to be upheld, it is therefore no accident that so many antique shops are located in the city’s 1st district, only a couple of minutes away from the famous Wiener Stephansdom.
In fact, the side streets around Graben (Stallburggasse, Spiegelgasse, Dorotheergasse, Bräunerstrasse, and Plankengasse), known as the Kärntner Viertel, are brimming with upspcale antique shops selling all kind of beautiful items ranging from Gothic painted furniture and church statuettes, to Renaissance chests, Baroque armories, fine carpets, magnificent timepieces, porcelain, paintings, and antique jewelry. Most of these shops are museum-quality stores with, of course, museum-quality prices.
Tyical Austrian and Central European collector pieces that can be found in most antique shops in Vienna’s 1st District, include furniture and decor from the Biedermeier period (1800 – 1850) and the late 19th century Jugendstil (Art Nouveau, 1900 – 1910). Both periods gave rise to refreshingly modern designs that fit well into today’s household. This applies even more so to the crafts of the Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstätte, with artists like Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, as well as major Viennese companies such as Max Welz or Hagenauer, and the bentwood producers Thonet and Kohn.
Other merchandises sold in the antique shops dotting the Kärntner Viertel, include Gmundner ceramics, Wiener Werkstätte vases and art pieces, Czech and Polish crystal and pottery, Augarten and Meissen porcelain, Riess enamelware, painted rustic wardrobes and other “farmer” furniture, Steiff teddy bears, porcelain dolls, glass of the manufacture Loetz in Klostermuhle, Herend porcelain animal figurines, military memorabilia including a lot of Franz Josef and K&K items; and of course, many old books in German.
A trip to Vienna’s Antique District, is a journey in its own. In fact, it is rather easy to be taken away and lose track of time while strolling the streets of the the Kärntner Viertel. Therefore, shoppers and antique enthusiasts on a tight schedule should probably prioritize a handful of venues, like the following, to make the most of their trip in Vienna’s antique district: Dorotheum (Dorotheergasse 17), Wissenschaftliches Kabinett (Spiegelgasse 23), Gallery Kunsthandel Kolhammer (Plankengasse 7), Patrick Kovacs Kunsthandel (Lobkowitzplatz 1), Lilly’s Contemporary Art Exclusive Antiques (Plankengasse 5), and Kunsthandel Stephan Andréewitch (Stallburggasse 2).