Vienna, Austria is a rich confection of architecture representing many periods and styles, ranging from elaborate baroque monuments to twentieth century innovations.
Art History Museum
This is one of a pair of identical buildings facing each other across a formal courtyard. In some cities, this building alone would be enough to constitute a castle, or a palace. But in imperial Vienna, this amazing piece of architecture is just another museum. The word "imperial" is important here because the structure was erected at the behest of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was part of his plan for the overall expansion of Vienna. It was also built across the street from the Hofburg Palace, just the place to be seen by visiting nobility. Visiting dignitaries would no doubt be amazed by the statues that festoon the buildings facade. In addition to the usual allegorical representations, there are statues of famous artists. On the front of the building they represent the Renaissance. On the left, modern art. In the back, classical art. And the art of the middle ages faces the Museumsquartier. The friezes lining the interior of the dome depict the Hapsburg family.
State Opera House
The Vienna State Opera House is one of the premier venues in the world. To experience a classic performance here is to experience it as the author intended. In fact, operas are almost always performed in their original language.
Today most of the Neo-Renaissance building is only decades old. The outside walls, the fassade, and the grand staircase were the only portions to survive a direct hit by an Allied bomb during the Second World War. The interior is a reconstruction. Though it attempts to capture the grandeur of the original building, an exact reconstruction would have cost too much. Still, the Staatsoper is symbolic of Vienna's emergence as one of the world's cultural capitals.
The Opera House was the first building erected on the Ringstrasse when the old city's fortifications were torn down and replaced by massive public works projects. When the building opened on 25 May, 1869 the first performance was Mozart's Don Giovanni. Mozart loved Vienna, though Vienna loved Strauss more.
The Hundertwasser House Vienna is an apartment house in Vienna, Austria, designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Hundertwasser House is one of Austria's most visited buildings and become part of Austria's cultural heritage.
The house was built 1983-1986 and it features undulating floors, a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows. Hundertwasser took no payment for the design of the house, declaring that it was worth it, to prevent something ugly from going up in its place.
Kegelgasse 34-38 / Löwengasse 41-43
This summer palace was commissioned by Prince Eugene of Savoy and is situated between Rennweg and Schweizergarten. Its name, which refers to the unique view over Vienna, originates from the time of Maria Theresia. The Belvedere Palace is especially luxurious in both dimension and stylistic design. It had primarily representative purposes and was used as a place for illustrious receptions and festivities.
The museum in the Upper and Lower Castle offers an exquisite overview of Austrian art from the middle ages to the present. Furthermore, the collections of the 19th and 20th centuries comprise an exquisite selection of international art. You will see world-famous works by Klimt (picture left: The Kiss), Schiele, Kokoschka, Renoir or Monet in the Upper Belvedere, where you can also enjoy the spectacular view of the centre of Vienna. The historical rooms of the Lower Belvedere exhibit works of art from the middle ages and the Baroque period.
This is one of the greatest churches in the country, but many tourists pass it over because it's not featured prominently in most tour books, and isn't in the center of town. In fact, the Fodor's guide to Vienna only gives it a glancing mention. However, the Votivkirche is on the Ringstrasse, and is within walking distance of both the Rathaus and the Sigmund Freud museum. And if you're into photography, there is a park across the street that provides unobstructed views of the facade. It's well worth a visit.
The church was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph after a mentally ill tailor tried to kill him in February of 1853. The Emperor survived, and ordered the church built on the spot where the attack happened. The church stands alone on a slight rise overlooking the heart of the city. Its height, when contrasted with the statue of neighboring buildings, emphasizes the purpose of this building -- to be a monument to a specific event. Like many other churches in Austria, there is a tomb inside. Specifically, the tomb of Niklas Salm, who led the Austrian army during the Turkish siege of 1529.
Stroll along Vienna's splendid boulevard and admire it as a window on the Habsburg monarchy... In 1857, the city wall and its bastions were razed, and during the following years this splendid grand boulevard encircling the city was created. It contains a typical cross-section of government buildings, private mansions, spacious squares and parks, monuments and elegant cafés.
Here you can visit Otto Wagner's Post Office Building, the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna's City Park, the Vienna State Opera, the Imperial Palace, the Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History, Parliament, the Burgtheater, the University, the Vienna Stock Exchange and more.
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