Vienna (Wien)

Vienna, the capital of Austria is also the most popular urban tourist destination in country. With it's 2 million inhabitants Vienna is situated on the banks of the Danube river.

Vienna is an ideal-typical European city similar to Barcelona, London, Milan, Paris or Rome, but unlike the others it is very compact and easy to negotiate. Vienna is referred to by many as a unique onion, with each of the urban layers surrounding the oldest historic center being equally important to the overall flavor of the city. The Austrian capital therefore embraces all the traditions of a European city, from Roman foundations through to Gothic, Baroque and Historicism. Tourists are eager to visit Vienna because of the city's exciting combination of the royal-imperial flair of the past with the latest trends, the responsible cultivation of a precious heritage and charming traditions. But much more than old buildings turn Vienna into a city of beauty: one also finds excellent museums, fine art collections and world-renowned works of art in the city. Vienna boasts 50 theaters, including three opera houses and two theaters staging musicals, 100 museums.

Serious music lovers have long considered Vienna to be just this side of paradise: one encounters music everywhere, from the sounds of a child practicing a Mozart piano sonata through an open window to street musicians playing classical as well as folk music. No other city has been home to so many composers of international renown: some, such as Schubert, Strauss, Schoenberg and Berg were born there, others, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms and Mahler chose to live there.

Culinary culture is an integral part of the way of life that has distinguished Vienna for centuries. Viennese cuisine is perhaps the only cuisine in the world that is named for a city and not a country. Vienna has been influenced by many countries throughout the past ten centuries, something that may explain much of its attraction - and not only in the realm of cooking.

 Vienna's climate is generally moderate and mild and reliably follows the four distinct seasons. Average summer temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C, the average winter temperatures are around 0°.


The low-lying Danube plain in and around what is now Vienna has had a human population since at least the late Paleolithic: one of the city's most famous artifacts, the 24,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf, now in Vienna's Natural History Museum, was found nearby. Vienna's own recorded history began with the Romans, who founded it in the 1st Century CE as Vindobona, one of a line of Roman defensive outposts against Germanic tribes. Vindobona's central garrison was on the site of what is now the Hoher Markt, and you can still see the excavations of its foundations there today.

Vienna hosted the Habsburg court for several centuries, first as the Imperial seat of the Holy Roman Empire, then the capital of the Austrian Empire, and later of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which finally fell in 1918 with the abdication of the last Emperor Karl I. The court tremendously influenced the culture that exists here even today: Vienna's residents are often overly formal, with small doses of courtliness, polite forms of address, and formal dress attire. One of the many paradoxes of the quirky city is that its residents can be equally modern and progressive as they are extremely old-fashioned.

The empires also served to make Vienna a very metropolitan city at an early time, and especially so through the years of industrialization and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the turn of the 20th century. Imperial Austria and Austro-Hungary were multi-lingual, multi-ethnic empires and although the German-speakers normally played the dominate role in Vienna there has long been ethnic and lingual diversity in the city. Proof of Jews in the city dates back to 10th century. After World War Two many of the city's minorities had been exiled or killed and much of the city lay in ruin. When Austria was given sovereignty after the post World War Two occupation, it was eventually established that Austria was going the way of the West and not that of the Eastern Block. So the city became more isolated from its previous ties to its Slavic and Hungarian neighbors; the east of Austria was surounded by the Iron Curtain. Vienna had gone from being the well established metropolitan city of Central Europe to the capital of a small, predominately German-speaking nation of states with strong regional identities.

Vienna's Districts

Vienna has 23 districts or wards know singularly as Bezirk in Austrian German. These function subordinatly to the city as decentralized adminstrative branches of the commune, as well as making local decisions. They vary immensely in size and each has its own flair.

The city has a very centralized layout radiating from the historic first district, or Inner-City with the Stephansdom and Stephansplatz at the centre of a bullseye. It is encircled by the Ringstraße (Ring Road), a grand boulevard constructed along the old city walls, which were torn down at the end of the 19th century. Along the Ringstraße are many famous and grand buildings, including the Rathaus [City Hall], the Austrian Parliament, the Hofburg Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum), and the State Opera House.

    * Innere Stadt (1st District)

    * Leopoldstadt (2nd District)

    * Landstraße (3rd District)

    * Wieden (4th District)

    * Margareten (5th District)

    * Mariahilf (6th District)

    * Neubau (7th District)

    * Josefstadt (8th District)

    * Alsergrund (9th District)

    * Favoriten (10th District)

    * Simmering (11th District)

    * Meidling (12th District)

    * Hietzing (13th District)

    * Penzing (14th District)

    * Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (15th District)

    * Ottakring (16th District)

    * Hernals (17th District)

    * Währing (18th District)

    * Döbling (19th District)

    * Brigittenau (20th District)

    * Floridsdorf (21st District)

    * Donaustadt (22nd District)

    * Liesing (23rd District)

Tags: | Austria | Vienna |


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