Hospitality with tradition
In 1735 Franz Anton Rohr von Rohrau bought the house at the bastion, right next to the Villacher Tor town gate and established an inn for the first time.
The good location and good wines encouraged the people of Klagenfurt to stop for a break there from the very beginning. After a walk on Sundays they ended the evening in the gardens or the bar of the “Rohrerbastei”. The successful innkeeper even became the mayor of Klagenfurt in 1760, 1762 and 1766. Evidence of the popularity of his inn was the inventory in 1776, the year he died: 4,500 litres of Styrian and Welsch wine were in stock.
The inn at the bastion continued to be in existence. On 7th November 1814 Jakob Ulbing bought house no. 317 Fürstengasse and named it “zum Sandwirth”.
The first advertisement for the Sandwirth appeared in the gazette of the Klagenfurter Zeitung newspaper on the inauguration day of the railway line:
“Saturday, 2nd May 1868 inauguration of the 'zum Sandwirth’ garden and parlour, with a grand soirée, conducted by the regimental band Freiherr von John. Start: 7 o’clock in the evening – entry fee: 15 kr. The signatory will make every effort to meet the desires of the highly esteemed visitors with superb meals and drinks. At the same time the signatory takes the liberty of obediently calling attention to the different kinds of wine he offers: Austrian table wine, per litre 50 kr., Austrian bottled wine, per bottle from 40 kr., excellent Türkenberger, per litre 56 kr., Mahrwein and Schilcher, per litre 48 kr.
We request a large reception – Yours sincerely,
THE BELLE ÉPOQUE
On 1st December 1899 the young innkeeper couple, Josef and Franziska Jamek, took over the Sandwirth property at the price of 100,000 guilders. The dance hall for 120 people which was already popular was pulled down to provide room for about thousand guests. In 1907 the banquet hall was inaugurated after a construction period of two years. From that time on, military band concerts, banquets of Klagenfurt’s garrison, singing festivals and festivals with traditional costumes, club meetings and almost all society balls were held in the Sandwirth halls. The herring feast on Ash Wednesday became a tradition during the Jameks’ management.
However, the success story also had negative aspects. In 1913 the ceiling of the large hall collapsed as a result of a structural fault. This was blessing in disguise: on the day before, a Bosniac band had played in the garden and Mr Jamek had refused to open the large hall for the 100 listening guests. Also after the outbreak of World War I people were dancing and celebrating at the Sandwirth. The ladies and gentlemen, festively dressed, stepped from the cabs, carriages and automobiles and enjoyed a festive dinner, accompanied by concert music at the beginning before the big dance floor was opened. The Sandwirth halls remained open until the big bomb attack on 16th January 1944. Only the British occupying forces as well as other adverse circumstances forced rededication. The hotel remained in the possession of the Jamek family for more than 100 years.
In the new millennium, Robert Kanduth took over the SANDWIRTH and reconstructed it into a business hotel in 2002.