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Most enjoyable city in the world!

Vienna

General Information

Find yourself in one of the most enjoyable cities in the world!

Be one of 7 million people who come every year to explore this magical city and enjoy in the relaxing atmosphere of the famous Mariahilfer street and charming Graben. Together with Viennese Ring road, city center is protected by UNESCO as world heritage. For the past ten years, in a row, Vienna was ranked as the city with the best quality of living among hundreds of cities around the world. Located in a heart of Europe, Vienna is a crossroad of west and east, north and south. Placed “On the beautiful blue Danube”, as it is said in a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, it shares this magnificent river with other three European capitals.

History

The history of Vienna has been long and varied, beginning when the Roman Empire created a military camp in the area covered by Vienna's city center. In 1440 Vienna became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasty, who ruled the Austria for more than 500 years. City eventually grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, Vienna became the capital of the newly-formed Austrian Empire. The city continued to play a major role in European and world politics, including hosting the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15, where new borders in Europe were established. At the beginning of 20th century, Vienna was the capital of Austro – Hungarian Empire, country that existed until end of the First World War. Just before collapse, Vienna was the city of more than 50 million people. In March 1938 Nazi Germany occupied and annexed Austria in a process known as the “Anschluss”. Adolf Hitler was rapturously received in Vienna by large crowds of admirers and famously gave a speech at Heldenplatz in which he welcomed his homeland into the Reich. After second world war, similar to Berlin, Vienna was also divided into five occupation zones between the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and with the first district (city center) being patrolled by all four. On May 15, 1955, the country regained its political independence and sovereignty. The four-power control of Vienna lasted until the Austrian State Treaty was signed in May 1955. That year, after years of reconstruction and restoration, the State Opera and the Burgtheater, both on the Ring road, reopened to the public. Vienna has regained much of its former international stature by hosting international organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Now it is a home of about 2 million people.

Art & Architecture

Vienna has a mixture of architecture representing many periods and styles, ranging from elaborate Baroque-era monuments to a 20th century rejection of high ornamentation. The history of Vienna, or Wien as it's called, is as rich and complicated as the architecture that portrays it. The city doors are open to celebrate architecture — and anytime is a great time to visit. The historic center of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ring road lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. Perhaps the most iconic structure in all of Vienna is the Gothic St. Stephan's Cathedral. First begun as a Romanesque cathedral, its construction throughout the ages displays the influences of the day, from Gothic to Baroque all the way up to its patterned tile roof. By the mid-1800s, the former city walls and military enforcements that protected the city center were demolished. In their place, Emperor Franz Joseph I launched a massive urban renewal, creating what has been called the most beautiful boulevard in the world, the Ring road.

Around 1900, Vienna became a center of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), most of all with Otto Wagner and the association of artists known as Vienna Secession (after which the characteristic building on Karlsplatz is named). The city's cultural contributions in the first half of the 20th century included, among many, the Vienna Secession movement in art and architecture. The Viennese Secession movement launched a revolutionary spirit in architecture. Today's Vienna is a showplace of architectural innovation. Twentieth century buildings include Hundertwasser-Haus, a brilliantly colored, unusually shaped building by Friedensreich Hunderwasser. Internationally recognized architects designed the new campus of the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

City of music and dreams

Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be "The City of Dreams" because it was home to the world's first psychoanalyst – Sigmund Freud. It is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music center, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. From the late-19th century to 1938 the city remained a center of high culture and of modernism. A world capital of music, Vienna played host to composers such as Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Richard Strauss. The First Viennese School is a name mostly used to refer to three composers of the Classical period in late-18th-century Vienna: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The tradition of being musical center of Europe is kept until today. We still think of Vienna as the home of the Strauss waltz and the Freudian dream. The Vienna New Year's Concert is an annual concert of classical music performed by the Vienna Philharmonic on the morning of New Year's Day in Vienna. The concert is popular throughout the world. The demand for tickets is so high that people have to pre-register one year in advance in order to participate in the drawing of tickets for the following year. Some seats are pre-registered by certain Austrian families and are passed down from generation to generation. It is broadcasted in 95 countries and watched by more than 50 million people. Major music venues in Vienna include the State Opera House, the People's Opera House, the Burgtheater, and the Theater an der Wien.

Food & Drinks

As the capital city of a vast empire, Vienna adopted a range of culinary delights from the imperial regions, and mixed them with local flavors to produce what we now know as traditional Viennese cooking and baking. You’ve probably heard of Wiener Schnitzel pork cutlets, but traditional Viennese fare covers many other delights, including:

Tafelspitz – a boiled beef dish and a favourite of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The ubiquitous sausages – sold at booths around the town and at any sporting event. The Queen of the Sausages is the Käsekrainer.

The markets of a city are a good way to take the pulse of a city, and Vienna has a good selection of open-air and specialist food markets. Nashmarkt or Brunnenmarkt are places where you can feel and taste more than 50 varieties of meals.

Vienna is full of excellent coffee houses serving a variety of coffee specialties. And an hour or two spent in one of these hallowed establishments is perhaps the most iconic and authentic Viennese experience. If you find yourself staring at the menu and wondering what a “Kleiner Brauner” could possibly be, then you need a Vienna coffee glossary. Your coffee traditionally comes with a glass of water. This is usually simple tap water rather than mineral water. Order a sacher cake in hotel Sacher and you can say you are truly Viennese!