The city on the Danube, which is situated at the crossroads of the transport routes from the Baltic to the Adriatic and from southern Germany to the Great Hungarian Plain, is much more than the capital of Austria. For many centuries Vienna was the center of a powerful empire covering much of southeast Europe, the seat of the powerful Habsburg Monarchy which ruled from the Middle Ages to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.The city's illustrious past is reflected in its stately palaces and other majestic landmarks along the ring surrounding the old town, such as the Staatsoper (state opera) and the ducal Hofburg. Today Vienna, former capital of the former multinational state, is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a touch of nostalgia for the glorious days of old. It is still the mecca of classical music with the world's largest music conservatory, the most famous concert halls with countless music events each year.
On the trail of a restless genius
The Bonn composer must have been a restless spirit. In his Viennese time from 1792 until his death in 1827 he changed his apartment about 60 times. There are correspondingly many Beethoven sites in Vienna. The Eroica House in Döblinger Hauptstraße 92, where he composed his Third Symphony in 1803, and the Testament House in Probusgasse 6, where he learned that he would go deaf, composed abysmal sonatas and wrote his last will in 1802, are considered the most important. Beethoven's grave at the Central Cemetery is visited by admirers from all over the world.
Heuriger is the name of a pub in Austria where wine is served. There are countless of them in Vienna, but hardly as rustic as in Grinzing. The former wine-growing village in the northeast of the Vienna Woods has now been incorporated into Vienna, but has retained its village character. The wine taverns there are very cozy and mostly obtain their wine from the Leopoldsberg above. You can combine a tasting with a walk through the vineyards and the forest.
Residence of the Habsburgs
For six centuries, from the 13th century to 1918, the Vienna Hofburg was the residence of the Habsburgs. The Hofburg grew with the rise of the noble family from a small country nobility to Europe's leading dynasty. In the beginning there was a small castle. In the end, it had 2,500 rooms. In addition there is the Winter Riding School, where the Lipizzaner horses train, the National Library with a magnificent domed hall, the Museum of Art History and the seat of the Federal President. A large part of the Hofburg is open to the public.
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Municipal housing construction as a total work of art
The municipal housing estate at Kegelgasse 34-38 was designed by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. In doing so, he ignored all the building regulations of the City of Vienna. After many conflicts with the building authorities, the Austrian Federal Chancellor issued a special permit at the end of the 1970s, which made it possible to dispense with symmetry and rectangularity. The result is an internationally admired work of art. Trees grow on the roofs, greenery grows from balconies and the walls and floors are crooked and colourful.
Floodplain forests, ghost trains and a Ferris wheel
The Vienna Prater in the district of Leopoldstadt is more than just an amusement park. The six square kilometre area encompasses original floodplain landscapes between the Danube and the Danube Canal as well as a spacious park. The actual amusement park is the Wurstelprater in the northwest. Here nostalgic rides, old-fashioned ghost trains and shooting galleries mix with modern gaming rooms and entertainment electronics. The landmark of the park is the Ferris wheel from 1896, which turns once in ten minutes. On top of the 67 meter high iron construction you have a wonderful view over the Prater and Vienna.
Very high end: Splendid boulevard
In 1857, Emperor Franz ordered the old fortifications to be razed. In its place, a magnificent boulevard was built around historic Vienna, which leads to the Danube at both ends. The almost 5 km long road is lined by public and private buildings, which try to surpass each other in splendor, pomp and pathos. The buildings imitate earlier style epochs, from Greek antiquity to Gothic cathedrals and the Renaissance. The ring road was inaugurated in 1865. Today it is regarded as a complete work of art, which is unique in the world.
Where psychoanalysis was invented.
The museum is located at Berggasse 19, where Sigmund Freud lived and worked for 47 years. In his study he wrote the majority of his writings, which are an integral part of the intellectual history of the 20th century. When the family moved in in 1891, the house was a new building. After the transfer of power to the Nazis in 1939, the seriously cancer-ill founder of psychoanalysis had to emigrate to London. Original pieces from Freud's possession can be seen in the museum as well as the waiting room of the practice and some pieces from Freud's extensive collection of antique works of art, mainly small statues. Most of the earlier furniture with the famous couch, however, is in today's Freud Museum in London, where Anna Freud lived until her death in 1982.
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Germany, Czech Republic & Austria: Gems of Central Europe