The Strudlhofsteige (Strudlhof stairs) are located in an innocuous area of Vienna, at the back of several apartment buildings. Opened in 1910, and planned by the architect Theodor Jaeger, they are one of the best examples of the Art Nouveau style.
The stairs are named after the artist Peter Strudel, an Austrian sculptor and painter who founded the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in the 17th century, an art academy that still operates today. Centered around two glistening fountains, the stairs retain their lovely façade by means of refurbishing operations that happen every few years. One fountain has a slightly wacky-looking fish head as a waterspout, while the other has the face of a man as its waterspout.
Beside the fish-head fountain there is a plaque containing a poem from Austrian author Heimito von Doderer. Doderer was a former Nazi party member who converted to Catholicism, after increasing alienation from the party. He began his most famous work, Die Strudelhofsteige, while fighting in France for the Wehrmacht, and it was finished in 1948. With these stairs as its focal plot point, it went on to be one of the greatest post-WWII novels written by an Austrian, garnering him several Nobel Prize nominations.