Most of the city tours start from the street built on the former defence walls, which once encompassed the old city centre InnerStadt.
Along the long road called simply ‘Ring’ are the most important buildings for Austrian history, including Hofburg, Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museums
the State Opera building, Stock Exchange,Parliament and other State buildings. Between the buildings are the large monuments of important people connected with history of Vienna : Mozart, Schiller and Goethe.
The summer palace of Habsburg family has been built on the territory of former hunting lodge and the farm destroyed during the Vienna defeat in 1863.
Although Leopold I followed the competition of splendour monarch residences started by king Louis XIV’s Versaille, he decided to make his palace smaller in size deliberately.
Soon it became more popular than the official residence Hofburg, and here the members of the Royal family spend more of their time. The museum offers several different guided tours through the most astonishing chambers chosen among over 1400 palace’s rooms. Beside the Audience halls the most popular are the sleeping room in which died Franz Joseph, the apartments of Sissi, Maria Theresa and their children.
Since the 13th century Hofburg served as the residence of royal family of Habsburg. Rebuilt and enlarged numerous times the main construction remains it Baroque style.
There are several separate buildings with inner courtyards, some of them occupied by present President of Austria and Government. To see are the former apartments of Franz Joseph, Sissi and others members of the family, the treasury ( Schatzkammer ) and the Spanish Horseriding School. The former monastery church, which holds the Habsburg graves is a popular wedding place among Austrian aristocracy.
The most spectacular from Habsburg properties has been named after the stunning city panorama seen from the large gardens near the late Baroque palace with heavy Oriental influence in The palace from thousand-and-one nights story hosts one of the most important collections of Art Nouveau style, called in Austria Secession ). On the display are the masterpieces by Gustaw Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.
Viena is the city of museums, and the most spectacular one – Kunsthistorisches Museum is also one of the biggest and most important in Europe.
Beside the unique collection of Ancient Classical and Egiptian Art the museum features the masterpieces of almost all important European painters, to give only a few names:
Breughel, Cranach, Tintoretto, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Viena is also the city of waltz, and the best place to experience it is the New Year Opernball held in the building of the State Opera, which besides the regular performances is opened for the visitors.
The 137 m high tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral is visible from almost any place in Vienna. After visiting the interior, the tourist can rest in one of many coffee shops located in the streets nearby, Graben and Kärntnerstrasse.
Along the boulevards on both sides of Wien river channel are located the best architectural examples of Austrian Secession, among them several buildings designed by Otto Vagner and his students. Between Art Nouveau style metro stations glitters the golden dome of Secession Pavilion.
The popular picknique district Prater features the fun city with its main attraction the big wheel called properly RiesenRad ( the Devil’s Wheel), which after the WWII replaced the first one build in 1897.
The trees of the famous forest on the suburbs of Vienna grow underneath Kahlenberg hill, important during the battle against the Ottoman Empire troops in 1863.
The slopes get enough of sun to produce the local wine, best to taste in small suburban restaurants called Heuringen .
[Staatsoper in Vienna, photo courtesy of franzj]