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Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, the pioneer of hand washing

After the Covid-19 pandemic, you must now know the importance of washing your hands regularly to limit cases of infections. But did you know that the first doctor to discover that it is essential to wash your hands  –  especially in the medical field  –  actually did nothing but provoke the wrath of his colleagues,… Continue reading Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, the pioneer of hand washing

Follow the steps of 19th-century VIPs in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary

During the 19th century Karlovy Vary and other Czech spa towns drew visitors from all over Europe. Franz Kafka, Mark Twain, Karl Marx, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Emperor Franz Joseph, they all visited Bohemia’s “Spa Triangle”. Today, while you have to reserve actual spa treatments well in advance, you can walk in the footsteps… Continue reading Follow the steps of 19th-century VIPs in Karlovy Vary

The lessons we can learn from the Habsburg Empire

Vienna, Austria: View of Upper Belvedere in Christmas decorations at Christmas Eve

Pieter M. Judson holds the Chair in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century History at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy). He is the author of “The Habsburg Empire: A New History”, published in 2016 and so far translated in 12 languages. We asked him what perception Europeans have of this “extinguished country” and what lessons… Continue reading The lessons we can learn from the Habsburg Empire

The hidden traces of Habsburg Belgrade

View of Belgrade at sunset

The Habsburg Empire tried to conquer Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire several times: in 1688, in 1717, and then again in 1789. 1717 was the only time the Habsburgs retained long-term control over Belgrade, and between 1717 and 1739, Belgrade became the capital of the semi-autonomous Kingdom of Serbia within the Habsburg Empire. Although brief,… Continue reading The hidden traces of Habsburg Belgrade

Opatija: a tale of sea, spas and railways

This article originally appeared in Italian on Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Traseuropa. You can find the article here: The birth of tourism in Opatija. In Istria, during the Habsburg period, it was the spas and wellness treatments at local resorts that sprouted tourism. Among the most important localities in the area is Opatija, which soon became… Continue reading Opatija: a tale of sea, spas and railways

The Nakasendo Project [Part 2]

Imagine walking along a road that crosses rural Japan and takes you through 69 post towns, where merchants, samurais, monks and travelers once used to stop by. All around you, artifacts, buildings and landscapes recount the story of Japan and how its unique identity was gradually formed. You wander through the country and dive at… Continue reading The Nakasendo Project [Part 2]

The Nakasendo Project [Part 1]

Imagine walking along a road that crosses rural Japan and takes you through 69 post towns, where merchants, samurais, monks and travelers once used to stop by. All around you, artifacts, buildings and landscapes recount the story of Japan and how its unique identity was gradually formed. You wander through the country and dive at… Continue reading The Nakasendo Project [Part 1]

Habsburg Rijeka: from Corpus Separatum to Port of Diversity

Rijeka is one of the most emblematic cities of the former Habsburg Empire. The Kvarner’s capital has a complex identity and intricate history that never cease to intrigue (and confuse) those who visit it. Ivan Jeličić is a professor of contemporary history at the University of Rijeka and one of the researchers who worked on… Continue reading Habsburg Rijeka: from Corpus Separatum to Port of Diversity

Of Love, Lighthouses, and Layered Cakes: Rijeka’s Sweet Surprises

Walking through the streets of Rijeka, one can easily notice the many architectural accomplishments that have transformed this coastal city into a Central European one during the 19th century. For example, with the construction of the Modello Palace and the theatre, both opened in 1885, the architecture studio Fellner & Helmer gave Rijeka the whiff of Vienna, while the Governor’s… Continue reading Of Love, Lighthouses, and Layered Cakes: Rijeka’s Sweet Surprises

The Slovenian palm on the Nile

Let us imagine that we are taking a journey back in time, traveling to 20th century Egypt. Wandering the streets of Cairo and Alexandria back then meant bumping into numerous European officials, businessmen, and sophisticated ladies, all dressed in fine clothes and flanked by servants. Having passed the bazaars, noisy and overflowing with the aroma… Continue reading The Slovenian palm on the Nile