Black Elephant Inn in Scheibbs

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Inn sign of the Black Elephant inn in Scheibbs, Austria

Austria is not a natural home for elephants, leaving aside prehistoric ages. Nevertheless, you often find their depictions on old facades. For example, this inn in Scheibbs has been known as “Zum Schwarzen Elefanten” (Black Elephant Inn) since 1541.

Elephant Signs in Austria

The restaurant “Zum Schwarzen Elefanten” (Black Elephant Inn) in Scheibbs was not the first object I saw marked with the depiction of an elephant. What was the reason for such illustrations?

While researching another depiction of an elephant in Linz, a thought came to my mind. The picture in Linz refers to Suleiman. This elephant was a present from the Portuguese King John III to Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor. During its travel from Portugal to Vienna, the big mammal formed a big attraction to all people.

Presenting elephants to a ruler already started around 800 with Abul Abbas. This elephant was a present to Emperor Charlemagne. In this way, elephants became known as exotic animals in Europe. Their transportation through many countries may caused names of lodges like Black Elephant Inn.

Sources / More info

  • Link Official website of “Zum Schwarzen Elefanten” (DEU)
  • Link History of elephants in Europe on Wikipedia (ENG)