The History of World Expositions

The Vienna World Exposition 1873

Year: 1873
City: Vienna
Country: Austria
Duration: 1st may - 31st october 1873


Speech by Kaiser Franz Joseph I on 5 November 1873 at the ceremony celebrating the opening of the Reichsrat

"Despite the difficulties with which the World Exposition had to cope, this major operation blossomed into a glittering achievement and attracted prestige and recognition from all sides. Its charitable influence on the intellectual and economic life of the people, the promotion of culture, the stimulation of the innovative spirit and commercial enterprise, as well as on enhancing the esteem of honest toil, is acknowledged with gratitude throughout the world. I am able to say that the honour which was won and the success which was achieved in this friendly competition filled the political heart with pride and hope. The visits from the rulers of neighbouring and distant empires with which I was honoured here at the World Exposition have tightened the bond of friendship with this empire, enhanced the desire for peace, and raised the standing of the position of the monarchy amongst the league of nations."

Source: Richter 1877, p. 29f

Julius Rodenberg

"And then came the crash and at exactly the same time as the dream castle built to satisfy the meanest pleasures scandalously collapsed, the dome of the Vienna World Exposition raised its head gloriously to the sky. Beneath its majestic arch, enclosed by a prescient light, the symbols of a higher culture are collected together and displayed throughout the extensive halls - accompanied by the thousand voices of their machines and tools as in a majestic symphony: numerous products crafted by humankind, together with towering displays of agricultural products showcasing the beauty and pleasure still at home throughout the world in all regions and at all points of the compass. And so it was that we - who had just stepped out of the cold and inhospitable nihilistic regions - suddenly found ourselves in an environment where life regained its dignity and everything emanated warmth and glowed with bright colours; and so one finally embraced the happy certainty that in this rapidly changing world there was still a place for idealism that promised to satisfy all of the needs of a modern people: namely the idealism of work."

Source: Vienna Sommertage. Leipzig 1875.
quote after Roschitz 1989, p. 171 f.

Louis Reybaud

"These conditions provided a direct comparison between countries - although this was not possible for the products because they were not arranged in any order or subject to any classification; a failing which made serious study and insight difficult. Overall it was a pleasant spectacle, and the walk - although it was an extremely long one - between the riches on display remained attractive and interesting throughout because of the enormous variety. The Rotunda was the start and finish of every tour - this was the place where one prepared oneself for the impressions to come or where these impressions became enhanced. Enlivened by the fountain, and decorated by a selection of exhibits, the dome was also the finest example of architecture on the Exposition Site; the dome and the ring gallery demanded one's attention and the centre was dominated by a round tower decorated with rare flowers that one could enter via a few steps. The Rotunda also provided a different type of sensation - it gave access to the dome for those inquisitive visitors who gained pleasure from conquering the heights. Climbing the dome was certainly worth the effort and also completely safe."

Source: Une visite a l`Exposition de Vienne.
In: Revue de deux mondes. II. Bd. 108.

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