Heldenplatz in Vienna, or Heroes Square, is not only a square of historical and political importance, but often also plays host to current events. The square belongs to the Hofburg area and is connected to Ballhausplatz. Further monuments are the Outer Castle Gate, which commemorates the soldiers of the Napolean Wars, and the Monument of the Executive. The latter was revealed in 2002 and honours the executive authorities (police and gendarmes) of Austria who have died in the line of duty.
During the Turkish siege of 1683, one of the primary battle lines ran along the bastions and city wall in front of the Hofburg. Napoleon successfully blasted one part of the wall. The square that arose as a result was initially called Promenadenplatz and later, Neuer Paradeplatz and Äußerer Burgplatz. Its final name, “Heldenplatz”, finally derived from the two later equestrian statues that still stand there today. One is of Archduke Charles (1860) and the other is of Prince Eugene (1965) – both were great generals during the Habsburg dynasty. Heldenplatz finally got its name in 1878. It symbolises events such as the victory over Napoleon and the defence against the Ottomans.
Important historical milestones at Heldenplatz
- On 15.03.1938, Adolf Hitler announced the annexation of Austria to the German Reich from the balcony of the New Castle. He was cheered by the people gathered at Heldenplatz.
- On 08.05.2013, the Austrian Armed Forces held a vigil for the victims of National Socialism here for the first time.
- In 2013, the Austrian Mauthausen Committee organised the premiere of the “Fest der Freude” (Festival of Joy) at the square. Since then, this concert by the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra has taken place every year and is free of charge.
Austrian Armed Forces: Swearing-in ceremony and performance show
On the 25th and 26th October (Austria’s National Holiday) the Austrian Armed Forces hold their traditional performance show – on this square and others in Vienna. On the 26th October, the swearing-in ceremony also takes place under the Federal President.
Due to renovations to the parliamentary buildings, temporary pavilions have been made available from 2017 to 2020. This will accommodate the Austrian National and Federal Council until the renovations have been completed.
How to reach the square
Address: Heldenplatz, 1010 Vienna
Public transport: Underground lines U3 (station: Herrengasse or Volkstheater), U2 (station: Volkstheater); tram lines 1, 2, 46, 49, D (station: Dr. Karl Renner Ring); bus lines 1A (station: Michaelerplatz), 2A (station: Heldenplatz), 48A (station: Dr. Karl Renner Ring).