Austria

Vienna – the city of music

Due to its exceptional geographic position, located between the Danube and the Alps, sloping down towards the Wienerwald hills, the capital of Austria, with its dynamic, glorious history, has played an essential role in the history of Europe.

Vienna is the sum of the knowledge of life of generations and peoples, it is the effort of many states to draw together.  Vienna is the conversation between people, the arts and nature, the link between the present, yesterday, and tomorrow.

The landscape around Vienna retains ist historic outlines.  Roman hands planted the sunny slopes with the precious vines.  Later on, Christian monasteries spread the blessings of education.  Crusaders rode through the Danube Valley, watering their horses in the Nibelung river.  The plain of Marchfeld became the scene of bloody conflicts between powerful lords who sought to dominate the capital.  At the end of the Turkish Wars the relieving forces came down from the heights of the Wienerwald to fight a decisive battle, at Aspern and Esslingen Napoleon lost for the first time the halo of invincibility.

During the Middle Ages, each district of Vienna worked its own vineyards.

Time after time the countryside has won back its inhabitants from political storms to the enjoyment of its own eternal melodies. Few cities are so rich in history and drama, in glory and in suffering, as Vienna.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Situated in the world-famous historic centre of the city, in the south-east corner of the old Roman fortress, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral stands at the geographic centre of Vienna.  The foundation stone was laid in 1359, and in 1433 work on the south tower began, to be finished in around 1433 by Hans von Prachatitz, while the central body was not completed until 1455. In 1467, Hans von Prachatitz started to build the north tower, of which only the lower half was finished.  There was no significant work done from 1511 onwards.  It was severely damaged by fire in the last days of the Second World War and virtually reduced to rubble. But with seemingly everyone lending a hand, the cathedral was rebuilt in just seven years.

 

Graben – City Zone 1

Graben is one of the most elegant shopping streets of the city. It has been the centre of city life since 1702 and is dominated by the Column of the Plague, dedicated to the Holy Trinity and erected at the command of Leopold I to give thanks to the end of the devastating plague of 1679.

Saint Peter’s Church

The second oldest church in Vienna was built from 1701 to 1733 according to plans by Lukas von Hildebrandt. At this point, in the 4th century, the first church was in the area of the Roman camp Vindobona.

Fountain of The Newlyweds

In Vienna’s oldest square, Hoher Markt is the Fountain of the Newlyweds, also known as the Fountain of Joseph. It was opened in 1706 and dedicated to the parents of Christ, the Virgin Mary and his step-father Saint Joseph.

The State Opera House

To this day it is one of the foremost opera houses in the world.  It was built between 1861 and 1869 to the plans of August von Siccardsburg, who designed the overall structure and Eduard van der Nüll, who designed the interior of the building, which followed the historical Florentine-French early Renaissance style.

The Capuchins’ Church

The Capuchins’ Church was endowed by Empress Anna who died in 1618 and was finished after her death between 1622 and 1623. Ist importance as a monument is derived from the Tomb of the Emperor, the Hapsburg family shrine, which contains 138 metal coffins, including those of twelve German and Austrian emperors and fifteen empresses.

Ist importance as a monument is derived from the Tomb of the Emperor, the Hapsburg family shrine, which contains 138 metal coffins, including those of twelve German and Austrian emperors and fifteen empresses.

Tomb of Karl VI von Habsburg.

The Fountain of Providence

The fountain was built in 1739 at royal command.  Empress Maria Theresa ordered the original nude figures, made of lead, to be demolished and they were later substituted for bronze copies.  The originals are kept in Lower Belvedere.

The Albertina Museum

This is one of Vienna’s most important museums. The building dates back to 1781 and was enlarged by incorporating part of the adjoining Augustine monastery between 1801 and 1804.

The Imperial Palace

This is by far the most attractive sight of Vienna.  The Church of St. Michael, a fine 18th Century building containing a magnificent 14th Century chancel is to be found here.

The Church of St. Michael.

The square is dominated by the majestic front of the “Hofburg”, a sumptuous building which was once the imperial palace. For over 600 years the Vienna Hofburg was the residence of the Austrian sovereigns. Originally a medieval fortified castle dating from the 13th century, the Hofburg was extended by each emperor.

The former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers and today serves as the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria.

In the center of the facade is a forged iron gate flanked by four groups of sculptures.

The Swiss Gate, notable for its colours, was built between 1536 and 1552 during the reign of Ferdinand I and is the most important of the few Renaissance works to be found in Vienna. The gate leads to the Swiss Court and the 15th Century Palace Chapel.

The Swiss Gate.

Opposite the Swiss Gate is the Amalia Palace. The building work began in 1575 under Emperor Maximilian and was completed in 1611 in the reign of Emperor Rudolf when the octagonal moon phase clock tower was added as well.  .   It is named after Empress Wilhelmine Amalia, who used it as her dower residence after the death of husband, Emperor Joseph I. The Memorial to Emperor Franz I in the middle was built between 1842 and 1846.  The statute of the emperor and the bronze female personifications of belief, strength, peace, and justice were made by Pompeo Marchesi.

The Imperial Palace Stables,  which is lined with poplars is in Renaissance style and was originally built as stables for the horses of the royal coaches and the riding school.  It now houses the Spanish Riding School. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world which has practised for more than 450 years.

The Parliament building was constructed between 1874 and 1883 in Greek Revival style to the plans of Theophile Hansen.  The center of the pediment shows the granting of the Constitution by Franz Josef I. On the ramp are several statutes representing Greek and Roman sages, with four horse-breakers at the end.  Opposite the Parliament is the Monumental Fountain, built in 1902 which depicts the Greek goddess, Pallas Athene.

The City Hall

The “Rathaus” was built between 1872 and 1883 by the architect Friedrich Schmidt.  The tower rises to a height of almost 100 meters and is crowned by a figure in copper weighing 3.6 tons representing a State Mercenary with his armour and standard.

Today the City Hall is the head office of Vienna’s municipal administration. More than 2000 people work in the building.

The Festival Hall was built in the late 19th century. The ceiling of the hall was designed as a barrel-type vault with web compartments and raised cross ribs as decorative elements.

The Arkadenhof with a surface of 2,804 square meters, is one of the biggest inner courtyards in Europe. A choir-type oriel along its western wall is a reminder of the original project to build a chapel in the City Hall.

The centre of Vienna also contains a number of secular buildings of outstanding interest. The Greek Tavern, for example, is one of the oldest and most attractive Greek restaurants. Greek merchants settled around Fleischmarkt from about 1700, which gradually became known as the Griechenviertel (Greek quarter).

The Kinsky House was built between 1713 and 1716 by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt.  Inside, it features eye-catching stucco work by Alberto Camesina and breathtaking frescoes by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone and Marcantonio Chiarini.

The Ferstel House, named after its architect, Heinrich von Ferstel was built between 1856 and 1880, now the Central Café.

Top Attractions

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Museum of Fine Arts

Schonbrunn Palace

State Opera House

Belvedere Palace

Hofburg Palace

The City Hall

Hundertwasserhaus

Have you visited Vienna? What did you like the most?  Where did you stay during your visit?  Is there a restaurant you would recommend?

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