The first time I saw directions to a ‘Rathaus‘ I was in Heidelberg (2002), and based on the name, thought that the place was some sort of tribute to the Pied Piper. Okay, I knew it was the wrong town – since the Piper’s story is set in Hamlin not Heidelberg, but there was the German connection and the story is world famous and so, I just figured it was some sort of ref/verence to national folklore. Why else would town officials about rats in the house? Unless they had bats in the belfry?

Needless to say, I figured wrong. Rathaus (pronounced as if it has 2 a’s Raathouse) is just the German word for City Hall, and as I’ve since found out, there is one in every city and town in most German-speaking countries. Other than knowing that Rathaus existed in Heidelberg, however, I have few memories of it. Most of my memories of that town are clustered around its famous Schloss. But Vienna’s Rathaus is special and will not be fading into obscurity anytime soon at least from my memories.

Here is a shot of the building presiding over the Fanzone during the Eurocup festivities.

I have to thank Pierre-Olivier for first introducing me to the joys of the summer jazz fest at the Rathaus. This two-month event featured broadcasts or taped musical events every night from mid-July to mid-September, that were screened on a giant screen in the same area as the photo above. All day up until midnight there is an active food court happening around this fest, the site of many a dinner and snack for me over the past several weeks. My special favorites at this court were the various fruity alcohol concoctions (himbeer-, erdbeer-, waldbeer- and pfirsige-bowles to name just a few) and the perennial favorite – sangria at the Spanish kiosk. The musical events I attended here included a Beethoven/Tchaikovsky concert in honour of Karajan, a Leonard Bernstein revisitation, jazz of a guy called Django Rhinhardt or something and Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. The musical broadcasts began at twilight, which, for these interludes, was especially apropos given the neo-gothic architecture of the Rathaus with its spires and turrets and whatnot. Here’s another picture (lifted from the internet) of the venue in the witching hours:

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