17.01.

How the first Viennese cafes were opened

How the first Viennese cafes were opened

On this day in 1685, the Armenian merchant Johannes Diodato was granted the privilege to sell coffee in Vienna, leading to the first legally sanctioned serving of coffee in that city. Over the following centuries, Vienna’s coffee shops gained so much popularity and social significance that in 2011 the Viennese coffee shop culture was declared part of the Intangible World Heritage Site (UNESCO). Johannes Diodato is also cited in the sources by the name of Johannes Theodat, and was a merchant whose family immigrated to Vienna from the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey, the coffee drinking culture was developed earlier than in Europe, and Diodato made a significant difference in trade between Vienna and the Ottoman Empire. He even managed to obtain from Emperor Leopold I. even a monopoly on the sale of coffee in Vienna for a period of 20 years. The coffee drinking culture, then, was imported into Vienna at the end of the 17th century and became very popular over the next century, to the extent that it became a trademark of Vienna.

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