Emperor Franz Joseph assumes the throne after the abdication of Emperor Ferdinand. At that time, Austria was the third largest state in Europe, but the multicultural state was a great challenge for Emperor Franz Joseph.
December 25, 1857
Emperor Franz Joseph decides for the construction of the “Ringstrasse” in order to replace the old city walls and to embellish his beautiful residential city. He quotes, that the construction of the Ring Boulevard is a "Beautification of his residence and the capital of his empire". It is the greatest urban event until then, with three distinctive goals:
Firstly, the emperor pursued political goals. His aim was to make Vienna a world capital in order to demonstrate the power and strength of the Habsburg empire in Europe.
Secondly, he aimed at logistic goals to connect Vienna with its suburbs and ease the trade between different cities.
Thirdly, he of course followed goals for social improvement. His aim was to change the previous rigid social structure, in order to level out the strong power of the imperial house in contrast to the low power and influence of the wider, poor mass. Through technical and economic developments in the field of technology, transport, craftsmanship and monetary affairs, the bourgeoisie soon emerged as a new self-conscious stand, which also received political power. The project “Ringstrasse” involved large parts of the bourgeoisie as for example brick suppliers or architects and helped them to gain power and social status. Thus, the “Ringstrasse” was also an important symbol of the economic upturn in the imperial capital of the former empire.
The planning of the ring boulevard was completed. Eight hundred buildings should be erected on the four-kilometer-long route.
The construction of the Ring Boulevard took place. Many of today’s most important points of interest such as the State Opera, the Town Hall, the Parliament, the university buildings, Vienna’s two biggest museums, the Fine Arts Museum and the Natural History Museum, the “Burgtheater” and numerous Palaces were constructed. The only famous museum not erected alongside the ring boulevard was the Secession building. In contrast to the other buildings, the Secession was not built in the style of Historicism, but in the style of Art Nouveau. As the emperor did not like this architecture, the building had to be built outside the Ring Boulevard.
May 1, 1865
Celebrated opening of the “Ringstrasse” by Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The “Schubertring”, the part of the Ring Boulevard on which the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna is situated today, was at that time the finest section for housing. On the one hand, due to its proximity to the city park, which lead to a very high quality of life, on the other hand, because of the proximity to the “Schwarzenbergplatz”, where Archduke Ludwig-Viktor resided, it became even more acceptable at court. During these times it was popular to stroll on the “Ringstrasse” between 11 am and 2 pm on Sundays and watch the Viennese social life play itself out. Even today it is widely popular to regenerate in one of the many Viennese parks or to take a Sunday walk along the Ring Boulevard to see and be seen.