Accessibility: Metro U1 and U3 station Stephansplatz
Shop opening hours: Normally Monday - Friday: 10:00 to 20:00 o'clock, Saturday: 10:00 to 18:00 o'clock. Some shops open already at 8:00 or 9:00 o'clock and start to close from 18:00 o'clock.
Tip: Visit the uncommon H&M store located in splendid rooms of a former court menswear store. The corner house is located at Graben no. 8 and is worth seeing.
The Graben Vienna (C3) is an exclusive and pulsating shopping street in the heart of the inner city with a plague column. The origin of this street dates back to the old Romans and it is surrounded by popular alleys, streets and places which stand for the typical flair, elegant tradition and gourmet pleasures: Stephansplatz, Kohlmarkt, Naglergasse, Tuchlauben and Petersplatz.
Most of the buildings in this pedestrian area origin from the 17th and 18th century and you can find here finest traditional shops. Some of these shops have a long tradition and were already popular in the times when Austria was ruled by emperors. These are for example the porcelain factory Augarten, the court jeweler Heldwein and also the court perfumery Nägele & Strubell. In the rooms of the former court menswear store Braun you can find today a shop of H&M. The historical noble interior remained in the shop. There are also plenty of coffee houses and restaurants between all those shops. Especially in the surrounding alleys you can discover a lot of them. In the alley Dorotheergasse is the coffee house Hawelka which is open since 1939 and a well known place where you can meet some times popular artists in a really old fashioned atmosphere. If you are a gourmet you should visit the shop of Julius Meinl at the end of the Graben (corner Naglergasse). The gourmet supermarket offers exquisite Austrian and international groceries. There you can enjoy shopping and you are able to find a lot of different eatable souvenirs from Vienna. Julius Meinl got famous because of the excellent coffee, which you can drink in the included coffee house with the nice view on the splendid boulevard. There is also a well sorted wine cellar with a wine bar in the basement.
Already at the time of the Austrian monarchy the Graben Vienna was known as an exclusive shopping street due to the near location to the Hofburg. Since the 1970ies it is used as a pedestrian zone. At a walk you have a much better view at the different wonderful buildings like the palace Equitable, the landmarked Grabenhof and also at the fountains Josefs- and Leopoldsbrunnen.
For one of the fountains there are already recordings from the year 1455. At that time the water from the Hofburg garden was led to the Graben. The use of the fountain was for the reason of fire fighting, because house fires were not seldom due to the usually construction material of wood.
The first plague column was built in the year 1679 at the peak of the pest and was made of wood. Only after the plague and the Turkish siege the long planned and often rescheduled new construction of the plague column out of marble was finished in the year 1694.
Later on the buildings were more massive and magnificent like the palace Equitable at the corner to the Kärntner Strasse which was built from architect Streit for a New Yorker insurance company. The facade of the palace is generous decorated, staircase is designed of marble and on the roof you can see an American eagle. The legend of the -stick in the iron- is pictured in a bronze relief at the entrance door. You can also have a look on this stick which is shown in a niche at the corner to the Kärntner Strasse. This wood which is covered over and over by nails was the first time recorded in the year 1533.
The Graben Vienna is a good tip for a stroll at all seasons of the year. In the summer you can rest in one of the plenty available outdoor areas of the cafes and have a look at the hustle and bustle in this boulevard. In the advent season an extravagantly Christmas illumination underlines the exclusive flair of this Viennese shopping street.