Geography and location
Vienna – the capital of Austria, as well as one of the nine Austrian federal states, is located in the east of the country, at the foot of the Alps, on the banks of the Danube, in addition to which the Vienna River flows through the city. Vienna is divided into 23 districts, while the area of the Austrian capital is 415 km², and the population, together with the suburbs, is about 2.3 million people.
Vienna has a fairly mild climate – the average air temperature in summer is +20°C, and in winter -1.5°C, occasionally there are frosts from -12 to -18°C, often snowfalls. The mild climate of Vienna is ensured by the fact that it is one of the few European capitals in which grapes are grown.
Vienna got its name from the name of the Celtic settlement of Vienna (Wien), which comes from Vedunia (Vedunia), which meant in the Celtic language “river in the forests.” It was here, on the site of the central part of the city, about 500 BC. and the present Austrian capital was founded. From 15 BC e. and until the 5th century, the city was an outpost of the Roman Empire, which lasted until the 5th century, when it was almost completely burned, and new dwellings began to be built around the ruins. The city was first mentioned in 881 under the name of Venia. And by the 10th century, having withstood several attacks by the Slavs and Hungarians, Vienna became an important trading city. In the following centuries, different Austrian dynasties ruled Vienna – so by the middle of the 12th century the residence of the Dukes of Babenberg was located here, since 1278 the Habsburg dynasty ruled Vienna, and in 1469 the Habsburg dynasty ruled Vienna. Emperor Frederick III establishes a bishopric in the city. Vienna has experienced many events – from the siege by the Ottoman Empire to the plague in 1627, which claimed almost a third of the city’s population. In the 18th – early 20th centuries, Vienna became an important center of world, especially musical culture. In 1805 and 1809 Napoleon’s troops entered Vienna, and in 1814 the city hosted the legendary Congress of Vienna, during which the political map of Europe was revised. In the first half of the XIX century. Vienna becomes the cradle of the Biedermeier style. The Austrian capital to this day is one of the most important cultural, historical and political centers of Europe. Vienna is the third UNO city after New York and Geneva, it is here that the OPEC and OSCE headquarters are located, as well as the Vienna International Center (UNO-City), which includes the IAEA,
The main sights of Vienna
The outpost of the Roman Empire, the rule of the Habsburgs, the Biedermeier era, the music of great composers – all this was reflected in the appearance of the Austrian capital, its architectural, historical and cultural attractions:
Stephansplatz (Stephansplatz – “Stephan’s Square”)– the main square of the Austrian capital, located in the center of the Inner City and is the starting point for roads coming from Vienna. On Stephansplatz is the symbol of Vienna – the Cathedral of St. Stephen, who is the patron saint of the city. The cathedral is over 800 years old – the first temple on the site of the cathedral was built in 1137-1147. The interior of the cathedral is striking in its beauty, under the cathedral there are ancient catacombs – the burial place of representatives of the Habsburg dynasty, and its spire is decorated with a cannonball that fell into the cathedral during the Turkish siege of Vienna in the 16th century.
Belvedere– a magnificent palace complex in the Baroque style, built at the beginning of the 18th century as a former summer residence for one of the greatest commanders – Prince Eugene of Savoy. After the death of the prince, the palace passed to the Habsburgs, and at the beginning of the 20th century, the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was killed in Sarajevo in 1915, lived here. The complex was designed by Lucas von Hildebrandt and includes the Upper and Lower Belvedere and a beautiful park. Today, the halls of the Upper Belvedere house the expositions of the Austrian Gallery.
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloß Schönbrunn)– the summer residence of the Habsburgs, a grandiose ensemble included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Schönbrunn combines a majestic palace, a magnificent park with fountains and statues, and the oldest zoo in the world. The construction of the palace, begun in 1696, was completed in 1713, but the history of Schönbrunn begins in 1559, when Maximilian II acquired a plot of land on which the Kattenburg estate was located, which was later converted into a hunting estate. “Schönbrunn” – “beautiful source” was named so by Kaiser Matthias, who discovered the Hofburg spring with crystal clear water during a hunt.
– the majestic imperial palace, the winter residence of the Habsburgs, was built on the site of a medieval castle in 1460. This magnificent palace complex, which includes 2600 halls and rooms, is today the official residence of the President of Austria, as well as the location of a number of government organizations of the country and the OSCE.
Prater (German: Prater)– a huge natural park, stretching between the Danube and the Danube Canal. The name of the park comes from the Spanish word prado, i.e. “meadow”. The main alley of the Prater was founded in 1537 under Ferdinand I, today the Green Prater is located around the main alley – a large area of the park, with a forest and a meadow. The Prater Park is a favorite vacation spot for local residents and guests of the Austrian capital. On the vast territory of the park there are sports grounds, a hippodrome, a stadium, a velodrome, as well as an amusement park, among which is another symbol of Vienna, a giant Ferris wheel 67 m high, built in 1897 by the Englishman Walter Basset.
Am Hof Square– the largest historical square in Vienna, which was once the main market square of the city. Today, there is a column in honor of the Virgin Mary on Am Hof - a monument to the Thirty Years’ War, the Zeughaus and the Church of the Nine Angelic Choirs (end of the 14th – beginning of the 15th century).
Ringstrasse (Ringstraße; “ring street”) is a ring boulevard, a visiting card of Vienna. The boulevard, shaped like a horseshoe, borders the central area of the city – the Inner City. The construction of the boulevard was started in 1857 by order of Kaiser Franz Josef, on the site of the old walls of Vienna.
Graben (German Graben – “ditch”)– a pedestrian street, one of the most famous in Vienna, which is also considered the most elegant and expensive. In addition to expensive boutiques, there is the “Plague Column” (Holy Trinity Column) on the Graben, built as a reminder of the terrible epidemic of 1679. Also, the square is decorated with two beautiful fountains – Josef and Leopold.
Hundertwasser House (Hundertwasserhaus) – a unique monument of modern architecture – the creation of the famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who criticized the traditional communal style. Then the administration of Vienna commissioned him to design a residential building, which was built in 1985 and was the embodiment of the artist’s wild imagination – uneven walls, bright colors, asymmetrical windows, bushes and trees inside the premises. Despite this, the building houses apartments and offices.
The Museum Quarter (Museums Quartier, abbr. MQ) is a unique quarter where contemporary art and culture is concentrated on an area of 60,000 m2. MQ includes: the Leopold Museum, representing the private collection of Rudolf Leopold – masterpieces of Austrian painting of the 19th-20th centuries; Modern Art Museum; Kunsthalle – an exhibition hall of avant-garde art; Architectural Center of Vienna; Tobacco Museum, as well as the ZOOM Children’s Museum.
Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum) – located in a magnificent palace built in the style of the Italian Renaissance in 1872-81. The museum is famous for the richest collection of world art masterpieces.
Albertina– located in the palace of the same name in the center of Vienna. The museum has a collection of graphics with 200,000 originals – watercolors, engravings, drawings from the Middle Ages to the present day. Among the exhibits of the museum is an almost complete collection of prints and drawings by Dürer.
The Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper) is one of the leading opera houses in the world, the first building on the Ringstrasse, built in 1869 in the French Renaissance style, designed by architects August von Zikkardsburag and Eduard van der Nüll. On the last Thursday of Shrove Tuesday, the traditional annual ball is held at the opera.