Statesman and politician of Austrian Empire, Klemens von Metternich made somewhere his famous remark that "Balkan already begins on some road south from Vienna". Does anybody knows where was that road, according to Metternich?


2 Answers 2


Prince Metternich is reputed to have said, "The Balkans begin at the Rennweg". The Rennweg is a street that led southwest out of the Austrian capital, Vienna. It runs through modern Vienna's third district, Landstraße.

Another variant of the supposed quote is, "Asia begins at the Landstrasse".

  • "Asien beginnt an der Landstraße"
    – J Asia
    Sep 20, 2017 at 13:12

The road in question, the Rennweg, begins at the Landstrasse in the south center of modern Vienna, at the southern edge of what was then Vienna.

When Metternich referred to the "Balkans," he was referring to the non-German speaking part of Austria, variously referred to as the "east" of even as "Asia." This was because it represented the "high water mark" of Ottoman (Turkish) expansion in 1683. After Austria began the "rollback" of Turkish power, to the south and east (in modern Hungary and the former Yugoslavia), it captured formerly Ottoman, ("Asian") lands that were treated in a "stepchild" fashion.

Metternich's great diplomatic achievement was to preserve Austria's position in the 1815 "Concert of Europe" of Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. A companion to this was the formation of the German Confederation, initially under Austrian leadership. Prince Metternich's preference was for Austria to maintain this role, even if she had to divest some non-German parts of the empire (Hungary and territories in the former Yugoslavia) to preserve her "bona fides," while retaining Austria, the modern Czech Republic, Slovakia, and occupied Poland (all of which figured in the German balance of power). Other Austrian leaders disagreed, and thereby let Prussia become the de facto leader of the German Confederation.

  • 1
    Austria with ... Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria??? And France, probably?
    – Gangnus
    Mar 21, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    divest OF what?
    – Gangnus
    Mar 21, 2016 at 16:05
  • @ Gangnus: Changed to OF Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. France was added later. As for "divestment," Hungary could have been "let go," and DID want to be "let go" around 1848. Pieces of the former Yugoslavia also didn't fit. Basically, they were not part of the "Germanic" world (Poland and the Czech Republic were). Earlier on, it was a "hypothetical" but as time passed, the question was actually put to Austria.
    – Tom Au
    Mar 21, 2016 at 21:44
  • 1
    Dear Tom, I only wanted to point at some places that could cause misunderstanding. Austria could not stay WITH Austria. You have corrected the preposition, I understand now this sentence, thank you. I still do not understand the use of the word divest. According to the dicts, it has the same grammar use as deprive OF .... "Of ..." is necessary. As a result, I still do not understand the corresponding sentence, sorry.
    – Gangnus
    Mar 22, 2016 at 7:58
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    According to your explanation in the comment, Metternich should be the best friend of Russia? For Russian in XIX Cent tried to move in the direction of Balkans and had no interests in Germany. But as far as I remember, he was a direct enemy of Russia.
    – Gangnus
    Mar 22, 2016 at 8:10

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