Ringstraße (popularly called "Ring"), Vienna´s sumptuous city boulevard enclosing the first district (on three sides, joined by the quay of the Danube Canal in the north-east). Built along the former defences of the city (bastions and glacis) following a decree issued by Emperor Franz Joseph I on December 20, 1857. Three projects by L. C. F. Förster, A. Sicard von Sicardsburg, E. van der Nüll and F. Stache won an international competition held in 1858. The Ringstraße, which is unique with regard to its conception, is 6.5 kilometres long, 57 metres wide, is flanked by 2 avenues, and was opened on May 1, 1865. The monumental buildings along the Ringstraße, completed between 1869 and 1888, were built according to plans by Sicard von Sicardsburg and E. van der Nüll (State Opera), G. Semper and C. Hasenauer (Museum of Natural History and Kunsthistorisches Museum, Burgtheater and Neue Burg), H. Ferstel (Votivkirche, New University building, Museum of Applied Art and Akademie für angewandte Kunst (Academy of Applied Art)), T. Hansen (Stock Exchange, Parliament, Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), and the former Heinrichhof). These buildings were largely financed by the money obtained from selling the lots on which the fortifications and glacis had been laid out. Public gardens in between the buildings are the Burggarten, the Volksgarten, the park in front of the Town Hall and the Stadtpark. The historicist style of the buildings has become known as the Ringstraße style. Compared to the buildings of the Gründerzeit in other large cities, the private houses along the Ringstraße are of restrained elegance, to such an extent that they were not regarded as palaces for the moneyed aristocracy and were therefore not designated as "palais" as were other buildings of similar scale; today, these buildings mostly house offices and shops. The Ringstraße is also famous for its luxury hotels; the previously famous Ringstraße cafés are gradually disappearing. The section of the Ringstraße between the Town Hall and Parliament serves for parades, demonstrations and rallies (May Day). As the Ringstraße is closed to heavy freight traffic, a second street lined with houses was built parallel to the boulevard at the outer edge of the former glacis (popularly still called: "Lastenstraße" ("freight road")).
Literature: R. Wagner-Rieger (ed.), Die Wiener Ringstraße - Bild einer Epoche, 11 vols., 1969-1979; K. Eggert, Die Ringstraße, 1971; G. Kapner, Die Denkmäler der Wiener Ringstraße, 1969; N. Nemetschke and G. Kugler, Lexikon der Wiener Kunst und Kultur, 1990.
References to other albums: