Vienna, like many other contemporary cities, is often perceived through its 'sights' (germ. "Sehenswürdigkeiten" 'sites worth seeing'). Rankings of notable objects, buildings, and places are compiled in both printed and online formats, routes are designed for their efficient viewing, and certain 'must-sees' are established. Similar subjective classifications of specific locations of Vienna as worth visiting can already be found in the Early Modern period, particularly in the form of early travel guides which recommended "Merkwürdigkeiten" (eng. 'sites worth remembering') of the city to both foreign visitors and local residents. Examplary texts include "Almanach von Wien zum Dienste der Fremden, oder historischer Begriff der anmerkungswürdigsten Gegenstände dieser Hauptstadt" (1774), written by Jean Thedor Gontier de Faifve, "Neueste Beschreibung aller Merkwürdigkeiten Wiens: Ein Handbuch f. Fremde u. Inländer" (1779), published by Joseph von Kurzböck, "Beschreibung der auffallendsten Merkwürdigkeiten der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Wien" (1793), authored by Franz de Paula Gaheis, and "Vier Wochen in Wien: Ein Taschenbuch für Fremde, die mit dem geringsten Aufwand von Zeit und Geld Wien und seine vorzüglichsten Merkwürdigkeiten kennen lernen wollen" (1827), printed under the pseudonym Fidelis.
The City of Vienna funded research project "Vienna’s memorable sites – deep mapping early modern travel guides" explores such historical perceptions of Vienna by combining 18th and early 19th century travel guides with digital text analysis and GIS-based methods. By doing so, it aims to render subjective impressions of Viennese places both visible and quantifiable based on empirical textual evidence and create a multidimensional and multimodal 'deep map' of the early modern city. This should, in turn, allow for novel insights into Vienna’s history – since, as Bloom and Sacramento (2017: 6) note: "To get an understanding of an actual place, one must inhabit its multiple overlapping contradictory stories simultaneously."
In alignment with this notion, the project represents another puzzle piece to an overarching “Vienna Time Machine” in the context of the EU initiative “Time Machine” and is closely connected to past projects at the ACDH-CH, such as “Vienna Time Machine – Corresponding digital data treasures and knowledge resources” and “Visiting Vienna – digital approaches to the (semi-)automatic analysis of the arrival lists found in the Wien[n]erisches Diarium".