Rust, Burgenland, Austria

By Jonathan Spira on 1 October 2010
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Just a short drive from Vienna, Rust is famous as the city of storks  (die Stadt der Störche) and fine wines. It is often called “die schönste Stadt des Burgenlandes” (the most beautiful city in the Burgenland province).

Rust is in a region of the Burgenland that is influenced by many cultures (such as that of neighboring Hungary, for example), blessed with unique flora and fauna, and enhanced by century old traditions.

The historic city center, with numerous picturesque Bürgerhäuser  (patrician houses) featuring Renaissance, Baroque, and historic façades dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, is not only safeguarded by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict but, since 2001, can also be found on the list of Unesco World Heritage sites. Typical features of Rust’s architecture are the arcades and tiled roofs

The most famous inhabitants of Rust are its white storks. As spring arrives, storks leave their winter homes in Africa and rebuild their nests on the city’s rooftops.  It’s quite common, especially in the spring, to see the storks, having just laid their eggs, calmly sitting in their nests while their mates stand guard, frequently on one leg.

The storks are so highly regarded in Rust that many homes have built special platforms for their nests so that the storks need not use the presumably uncomfortable chimney.

Rust is a wine town.  Vineyards cover Rust’s rolling hills. Wait a few minutes on the Hauptstraße (main street) and a tractor pulling a trailer full of grapes will probably pass by.

Rust, a free city with a population of ca. 1,800, bought this right from Emperor Leopold I. in 1681.  The title “königliche Freistadt“ (Royal Free City) cost the city 60,000 guilders and 500 buckets (30,000 liters) of Ruster Ausbruch, a sweet dessert wine typically made with grapes affected by noble rot.  Ruster Ausbruch has an amber color and a very intense bouquet.   It is the true gold of Rust.
Click here to continue to Page 2 – Rust’s Vinoculture.

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