I know, it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been very busy with 1001 things. All good though. I hope you are well.
Welcome to Strauss Saturday. Leading up to an important Strauss birthday, I’m taking you to another Strauss venue today: the Dianabadsaal.
Obere Donaustrasse 93-95
The Dianabad opened its doors at the beginning of the 19th century. There were 68 bathrooms with tubs where one could bathe in water from the Donaukanal that had been heated. The building was enlarged in 1830.
Between 1841 and 1843 the first covered swimming pool of Europe was built here. It was 36 meters long and 13 meters wide. There were not only dressing rooms but also a room to relax and a hair dresser’s.
The Viennese didn’t like swimming during the winter. Although the water in the swimming pool was quite warm, the hall wasn’t heated and therefore very cold. So who could blame them? During winter the pool was covered and used as concert hall and dance hall. That was more to the liking of the inhabitants of the city. The newspapers of the time called it “the new Diana-Saal” and it opened in November 1862.
The Diana-Saal was to become an important working venue for the Strauss brothers. Josef composed his Dianapolka (op. 95) for the inaugural ball. Eduard made his debut as conductor here in 1862 and many of their, and their brother Johann’s, works were performed here for the first time.
An der schönen blauen Donau (op. 314 by Johann Strauss Son), the most famous Strauss composition of all times, the unofficial Austrian national hymn was performed here for the first time in February 1867. That’s 150 years ago! More about this birthday in a post later this week.
Later on, the Alcazar, an entertainment venue, was opened on the premises. It was both a concert venue and a restaurant. There was also a sanatorium.
Otto Wagner (architect, 1841 – 1918) drew the plans for a refurbishment in 1879. Ten years later, heating was provided which made it possible to use the swimming pool all year round.
After that, the building changed proprietor and was demolished.
Between 1913 and 1917, in the middle of the First World War, it was replaced with a five floor high building. Apart from two swimming pools, one for men and one for women, there were also steam baths, bath tubs, a hotel, a wellness room, shops, a hair dresser’s, a pedicure’s, a restaurant, a dry cleaner’s and a dog bath with vet.
The Dianabad was nearly completely destroyed in the Second World War and was demolished between 1965 and 1967.
The owner wasn’t interested in replacing it. At the Donaukanal, Obere Donaustrasse 93-95, an office building was erected. There used to be a commemorative plaque here for the first performance of An der schönen blauen Donau, but it was taken down and houses now at the local district museum.
The City of Vienna had the third Dianabad built on the rear side of the plot and used it as municipal swimming pool. That in its turn was demolished 20 years later to make room for a new building, the fourth Dianabad.