The Wiener Musikverein is a concert hall in the Innere Stadt borough of Vienna. It is the home of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. The 'Great Hall' (Großer Saal), due to its highly regarded acoustics, is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, along with Berlin's Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Boston's Symphony Hall. With the exception of Boston Symphony Hall, none of these halls were built in the modern era with the application of architectural acoustics, and all share a long, tall, and narrow shoebox shape.
The plans were designed by Danish architect Theophil Hansen in the Neoclassical style of an ancient Greek temple, including a concert hall and a smaller chamber music hall. The building was inaugurated on 6 January 1870. A major donor was Nikolaus Dumba, industrialist and liberal politician of Greek descent, whose name the Austrian government gave to one of the streets surrounding the Musikverein.
The Great Hall's lively acoustics are primarily based on Hansen's intuition, as he could not rely on any studies on architectural acoustics. The room's rectangular shape and proportions, its boxes and sculptures allow early and numerous sound reflections.
Today Musikverein is the most used venue for the annual Vienna New Year's Concert.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.