We thoroughly enjoyed the Vienna Blood period detective drama, based on the books by Frank Tallis. Not only is this brilliant TV series set in Vienna, but they filmed a lot of Season 1’s three episodes here, too.
Since we live locally, we did some investigative work of our own and tracked down as many Vienna Blood film locations as we could (with help from friends and family). We’ll do the same for Season 2 locations as soon as possible; we’ve already spotted the film crews out and about in town.
- See also: Vienna in song & film
So, where was Vienna Blood filmed?
(Warning: may contain minor spoilers)
Let us begin with some of the locations that repeat across the episodes. Before we do, just a note that we simply matched what we saw on the screen to our local knowledge of Vienna. So most of the places we recognized obviously feature in outdoor scenes.
Here goes…(no guarantees on accuracy for everything!)
The police station
Took a while to find this, but the building used for exterior shots of the police station where Inspector Reinhardt works is the former library of Vienna University. Constructed in the late 18th century, it now houses the Vienna University Archive, an austere institution that itself dates back to the middle ages.
We nipped into the entrance foyer, but the interior shots must have been filmed elsewhere.
The Liebermann’s home
When Max Liebermann returns or leaves home, he uses the entrance you can see on the right of the photo above, with a wall and gate behind. The house sits on Landstraße Hauptstraße.
When the camera switches perspective to show Max leaving the premises through the large wrought iron gate (in Episode 2, for example), the portal and windows of a church appear in the background. This is the 1906 Herz Jesu church on the other side of the Landstraße Hauptstraße road.
At least some of the exterior shots of the hospital where Max works show the Otto Wagner Hospital. The location is remarkably authentic, since they built this institution as a psychiatric hospital in the first decade of the 20th century. In the raised views, the golden dome of the Kirche am Steinhof church appears in the background.
The Natural History Museum
Amelia Lydgate works in Vienna’s Naturhistorisches Museum. We see various shots of the museum’s front (if you look closely at the long-distance TV shots of the entrance steps, you can see the bronze elephant statue that was put up in 2004).
Various interior scenes must have been filmed in the museum, too. The stuffed mammal displays that Max views in Episode 2, for example, are pretty much what they still look like today.
The Ferris Wheel
Built at the end of the 19th century, the famous Riesenrad features as an obvious landmark in the opening credits to Vienna Blood. This grand old Ferris wheel also serves as a key location in the denouement to Episode 1, when Max and the inspector confront their adversary.
That ending scene also includes the carousel and square directly next to the Riesenrad (see photo above).
The cityscape in the opening credits to each TV epsiode and various long shots over Vienna feature the iconic patterned roof and towers of St Stephen’s Cathedral. This gothic cathedral dominates the city centre.
Now, moving on to specific scenes from individual episodes in Season 1:
Episode 1 locations
The opening scenes
The first sequence in Vienna Blood takes us through period streets and squares.
The initial scene was filmed on Griechengasse. Just round the corner is the very nice Griechenbeisl restaurant, where we celebrated my wife’s 40th birthday.
The same street appears later in the episode, when Max and the Inspector drive to the cemetery in a carriage.
The second set of shots in the opening sequence show Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz, a small square around the church of St. Ulrich. The stone steps on the right that lead up to the church entrance feature statues of four saints. The background building is Café Morgenstern, where interior bar scenes might have been filmed (?).
Vienna Blood introduces us to the character of Clara as she and Max admire the Beethovenfries painted by Gustav Klimt. You can see the 1902 original over at the Secession building.
The rooftop chase
Max and the inspector chase Otto Braun across the rooftops of Vienna. The first rooftop belongs to Palais Pallavicini (pictured above), a gorgeous 18th-century townhouse next to the Hofburg palace (and, incidentally, Harry Lime’s apartment in The Third Man).
The Palais faces the National Library, which appears in the background of the shot.
A little later in the pursuit and you can see the Votivkirche church behind the actors. They built this mid-19th century church in thanks for Emperor Franz Joseph surviving an assassination attempt.
Max and Inspector Reinhardt eventually catch up with the miscreant where the underground part of the River Wien emerges into the Stadtpark city park (I think). That’s not the last time you’ll see the Stadtpark in Vienna Blood…
Various street scenes
The wonderful street scenes in Vienna Blood proved hardest for us to track down. But we found a couple more from Episode 1.
The above photo shows part of the Mölker Steig at the edge of Vienna’s old town. Max and the Inspector are filmed at the top of the steps at the back of the photo as they walk toward the inn looking for Otto Braun.
That walk along Mölker Steig eventually takes the two of them around the above corner. They travel around this corner in the opposite direction earlier in the episode when enjoying their first carriage ride together.
A turn off from Mölker Steig takes you up past one of Beethoven’s old residences above the Mölker Bastei, one of the few remaining bits of the old city fortifications. We see Inspector Reinhardt walk up here as he goes to visit Karl Überhorst.
The above photo shows Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz, again. Sergeant Haussmann walks along here while tailing Otto Braun.
The location for the cemetery scene is Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof cemetery, identifiable by the large St. Charles Borromeo church in the background. The huge complex provides a final home for some of the world’s most famous musicians and composers, including Beethoven, Strauss, and Schubert.
The coffee house
Max discusses the case with Inspector Reinhardt in a coffee house. Max also meets Clara there. We’re pretty sure these scenes were filmed in the Bräunerhof, once the favoured haunt of the famous Austrian writer, Thomas Bernhard.
A final walk in the park
Max and Clara walk through a park at the end of the episode. You see a quick shot of the golden Strauss memorial, which is in the Stadtpark, but most of the scene is actually shot in the Burggarten, built next to the Hofburg palace after Napoleon’s troops freed up some space on their way out of the city.
Episode 2 locations
The Alte Schmiede
Above is the view down Schönlaterngasse that starts Episode 2 and appears again later in the episode. This is the street the prostitute runs down before turning into the brothel.
The brothel entrance is the doorway on the right. The Alte Schmiede (“Old Smithy”) building with the big key hanging outside is very obvious in the episode. (It’s a cultural centre in the real world.)
The Mozart statue
They filmed the poor chap who discovers the dead snake early in the episode in front of the Mozart statue (also in the Burggarten). A bit of trivia for you: although the statue existed at the time of Vienna Blood, it only moved to its current spot after the Second World War.
The various scenes of dragoons (mounted or otherwise) take place around the Arsenal buildings, home to the Museum of Military History. The Arsenal was built in the second half of the 19th century as a barracks and munitions depot, so the location is, once again, rather apt.
The opera house
Mozart’s Magic Flute plays a big role in the episode. Although Vienna has three historic and prestigious opera houses, the building that Max and the Inspector enter is actually the Volkstheater (a theatre), completed in 1889.
OK, not a lot of locations to report on here, since most of the action in the final episode of Season 1 of Vienna Blood takes place outside of Vienna.
Schloss Grafenegg in Lower Austria plays the part of the school where various misdeeds go on. It takes around an hour by car to reach the castle from Vienna.
One exception is the coffee house where Max and the Inspector play billiards. Café Sperl dates back to 1880 and is one of my favourite cafés.
Our research continues, so watch this space for more Vienna Blood locations as we find them. We’re looking forward to Season 2, which started filming in mid-2020.
P.S. The name, Vienna Blood, echoes that of a famous waltz and operetta by Johann Strauss II. The original German-language title for Strauss’s work is Wiener Blut, which actually translates literally to Viennese Blood.
At the time of writing, they’re filming the next three episodes in Vienna. By pure chance I came across the production crew on Jodok-Fink-Platz in the 8th district. This is a lovely square dominated by the Piaristenkirche church:
The actual day’s filming was due elsewhere and the square simply provided a convenient spot to park the trailers etc.. Unfortunately, I had to leave so couldn’t get more photos:
Watch this space for season 2 locations once the episodes appear here in Vienna or we can get our hands on the DVD (Austrian TV showed the first series much later than the BBC, for example, so we got the DVD before the local broadcast).