Vienna (German: Wien [ʋiːn] and is close to the , see also other names) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city; with a population of about 1.7 million (2.2 million within the metropolitan area), and is by far the largest city in Austria as well as its cultural, economic and political centre. Vienna lies in the south-eastern corner of Central EuropeCzech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site .
Music, theatre and opera
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theatres in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theatres, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at well known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful musical by far was "Elisabeth", which was later translated into several other languages and performed all over the world. The Haus der Musik ("house of music") opened in 2000.
Many Roman Catholic churches in central Vienna also feature performances of religious or other music, including masses sung with classical music and organ.
The Hofburg is the location of the Schatzkammer (treasury), holding the imperial jewels of the Hapsburg dynasty. The Sisi Museum (a museum devoted to Queen Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Austria) allows visitors to view the Imperial apartments as well as the silver cabinet. Directly opposite the Hofburg are the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum, which houses many paintings by old masters and ancient and classical artefacts.
A number of museums are located the Museumsquartier (museum quarter), the former Imperial Stalls which were converted into museum complex in the 1990s. It houses the Museum of Modern Art (Ludwig Foundation), the Leopold Museum (focussing on works of the Viennese Secession, Viennese Modernism and Austrian Expressionism), additional halls with feature exhibitions and the Tanzquartier. The Liechtenstein Palace contains one of the world's largest private art collections. There are a multitude of other museums in Vienna, including the Military History Museum, the Technical Museum, the Vienna Clock Museum and the Burial Museum. The museums dedicated to Vienna's districts provide a retrospective of the respective districts.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna, such as the Romanesque Ruprechtskirche, the Baroque Karlskirche. Styles range from classicist buildings to modern architecture. Art Nouveau left many architectural traces in Vienna. The Secession, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station, and the Kirche am Steinhof by Otto Wagner rank among the best known examples of Art Nouveau in the world.
The Hundertwasserhaus by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, designed to counter the clinical look of modern architecture, is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions. Another example of unique architecture is the Wotrubakirche by sculptor Fritz Wotruba.
In the 1990s, a number of quarters were adapted and extensive building projects were implemented in the areas around Donaustadt (north of the Danube) and Wienerberg (in southern Vienna). The 202 m-high Millennium Tower located at Handelskai is the highest building in Vienna. In recent years, Vienna has seen numerous architecture projects completed which combine modern architectural elements with old buildings, such as the remodelling and revitalisation of the old Gasometer in 2001.
Most buildings in Vienna are relatively low; there are currently (early 2006) around 100 buildings higher than 40 m. The number of high-rise buildings is kept low by building legislation aimed at preserving green areas and districts designated as world cultural heritage. Strong rules apply to the planning, authorisation and construction of high-rise buildings. Consequently, much of the inner city is a high-rise free zone.
Vienna is also Austria's main centre of education and home to many universities, professional colleges and gymnasiums.
- Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
- Austrian Diplomatic Academy
- Medical University of Vienna
- PEF Private University of Management Vienna
- University of Applied Arts Vienna
- University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna
- University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna
- University of Vienna
- University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
- Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
- Vienna University of Technology
- Webster University Vienna
- Internationales Kulturinstitut
- American International School Vienna
- Danube International School
- Vienna Christian School
- Vienna International School
- Lycée Francais de Vienne
Twelve bridges cross the Danube in the city, which is divided by the Danube and its branch, the Neue Donau ("new Danube").
Vienna has a large public transportation network.
- Vienna S-Bahn
- Vienna U-Bahn
- Local Railways (Lokalbahn Wien-Baden)
- Wiener Linien (= Vienna Lines, municipal company operating U-Bahn, trams, and most bus routes)
Vienna has an extensive tram and bus network - the tram network being third largest in the world. In the most populated areas of Vienna, public transport runs so frequently (even during off-peak hours) that any familiarity with departure timetables is virtually unnecessary. The convenience and flexibility of the public transport is in turn reflected by its popularity; 53% of Viennese workers travel to their workplace by public transport. During night hours, public transport is continued by the Nightline buses operating on all the main routes, generally every half hour.
Fare prices within the city are independent of the length of the journey and covers all modes of public transport. Tickets are also available for various time periods, such as 24 hour, monthly or yearly tickets.
The Viennese public transport services are incorporated into a larger concentric system of transport zones, the VOR (Verkehrsverbund Ostregion = eastern region traffic association). VOR includes railway and bus lines operating 50 kilometers into the surrounding areas, and ticket prices are calculated according to the number of zones.
Tickets must be purchased (and often stamped) prior to boarding or entering a station. Tickets are not checked when entering a station or boarding, there are however regular ticket inspections on all routes.
There are also two miniature railways: the Liliputbahn in the Wiener Prater and the Donauparkbahn in the Donaupark.
Historically, all transport was oriented towards the main cities in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Vienna has several train stations that form the beginning of several train lines:
- Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof, the starting point of the Franz Josef Railway
- Wien Westbahnhof, starting point of the Western Railway
- Wien Südbahnhof (Former South and East Station) for the Southern Railway and the Eastern Railway
There are also several through train stations:
- Wien Hütteldorf on the Western Railway
- Wien Heiligenstadt on the Franz Josef Railway
- Wien Praterstern (Formerly known as Wien Nord or Wien Nord-Praterstern) on the Northern Railway.
- Wien Meidling (Philadelphiabrücke) on the Southern Railway. This is Vienna's most frequented transit station.
- Wien Mitte (Landstraße) on the S-Bahn Stammstrecke ("main line") is the nearest railway station to the centre of Vienna.
There are also a large number of smaller stations that are important for local passenger traffic. Since the mid 1990s, the Westbahnhof and Südbahnhof have handled all long-distance travel. Many trains also stop at Hütteldorf or Meidling, especially when inbound.
In order to bundle all long-distance traffic it has become necessary to build a tunnel, colloquially known as the Wildschweintunnel ("boar tunnel"), underneath Lainzer Tiergarten linking the Western Railway to the Southern Railway. The new bundled train line will connect to a new through train station called Wien Hauptbahnhof that will be constructed instead of the Südbahnhof.
Similar to the train lines, Bundesstraßen leave the city in a star-shaped pattern. Some are named after their historical final destination (Prager Straße to Prague, Linzer Straße to Linz, Triester Straße to Trieste and Brünner Straße to Brno). Bundesstraßen can be compared to Federal Highways in the United States, being two-lane in rural areas and multi-lane in urban areas.
Three national autobahns leave Vienna in the westerly (A1), southerly (A2), and easterly directions (A4). Similar to the rail lines, they are commonly referred to after their exit direction (Westautobahn, Südautobahn, and Ostautobahn). In addition, several spur and branch autobahns circle around the southern and eastern areas of the city. The protected Wienerwald forest area in the western and northern areas has been left mostly untouched.
Vienna International Airport is located to the southeast of Vienna. The airport handled over 237,400 departures in 2006 and was frequented by 16.86 million passengers . Following lengthy negotiations with surrounding communities, the airport will be expanded to increase its capacity by adding of a third runway. The airport is currently undergoing a major enlargement (construction of several new buildings) to prepare for an expected increase in passengers.
Vienna is connected to Rotterdam and German Industrial areas via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, and to Eastern European countries along the Danube to the Black Sea. The planned Danube-Oder canal remains unfinished.
Nearly all of Vienna's drinking water is brought to the city via two large water pipelines, built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The pipelines stretch 120 km (75 miles) and 200 km (124 miles) from the Alps to the city's Hietzing district. The Alpine sources are pristine and the water does not require treatment.
Viennese parks and gardens
Vienna possesses many park facilities and is one of the greenest cities in the world. Parks include the Stadtpark, the Burggarten, the Volksgarten (part of the Hofburg), the Schloßpark at Schloss Belvedere (home to the Vienna Botanic Gardens), the Donaupark, the Schönbrunner Schlosspark, the Prater, the Augarten, the Rathauspark, the Lainzer Tiergarten, the Dehnepark, the Resselpark, the Votivpark, the Kurpark Oberlaa, the Auer-Welsbach-Park and the Türkenschanzpark. Green areas include Laaer-Berg (including the Bohemian Prater) and the foothills of the Wienerwald, which reaches into the outer areas of the city. Small parks, known by the Viennese as Beserlparks, are everywhere in the inner city areas. Many of Vienna's famous parks include monuments, such as the Stadtpark with its statue of Johann Strauss II, and the gardens of the baroque palace, where the State Treaty was signed. Vienna's principal park is the Prater which is home to the Riesenrad, a ferris wheel. The imperial Schönbrunn's grounds contain an 18th century park which includes the world's oldest zoo, founded in 1752. The Donauinsel, part of Vienna's flood defences, is a 21.1 km long artificial island between the Danube and Neue Donau dedicated to leisure activities.
Vienna hosts many different sporting events including the Vienna City Marathon, which attracts more than 10,000 participants every year and normally takes place in May. In 2005 the Ice Hockey World Championships took place in Austria and the final was played in Vienna. Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium was the venue of four Champions League and European Champion Clubs' Cup finals (1964, 1987, 1990, 1995) and will host the final of Euro 2008.
Austria's capital is home to numerous teams. The best known are the local football clubs SK Rapid Wien (31 Austrian Bundesliga titles), FK Austria Wien (23 Austrian Bundesliga titles and 25-time cup winners) and the oldest team, First Vienna FC. Other important sport clubs include the Chrysler Vikings Vienna (American Football), who won the Eurobowl title in 2004, the Vienna Hot Volleys, one of Europe's premier Volleyball organisations, and the Vienna Capitals (Ice Hockey).
Vienna is well known for Wiener schnitzel, a cutlet of veal that is pounded flat, coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in clarified butter. It is available in almost every restaurant that serves Viennese cuisine. Other examples of Viennese cuisine include "Tafelspitz" (very lean boiled beef), which is traditionally served with "Gerösteten Erdäpfeln" (boiled potatoes mashed with a fork and subsequently fried) and horseradish sauce, "Apfelkren" (a mixture of horseradish, cream and apple) and "Schnittlauchsauce" (a chives sauce made with mayonnaise and old bread).
Vienna has a long tradition of cakes and desserts. These include Apfelstrudel (hot apple strudel), Palatschinken (sweet pancakes), and Knödel (dumplings) often filled with fruit such as apricots (Marillenknödel). Sachertorte, a dry chocolate cake with apricot jam from the Sacher Hotel, is world famous.
In winter, small street stands sell traditional Maroni (hot chestnuts) and potato fritters. Sausages are also popular and available from street vendors throughout the night. The sausage known as Wiener (German for "Viennese") in the USA and Germany is however called a Frankfurter. Other popular sausages are Burenwurst (a coarse beef and pork sausage, generally boiled) and Käsekrainer (spicy pork with small chunks of cheese).
The Naschmarkt is a permanent market for fruit, vegetables, spices, fish, meat and much more from around the world. The city centre has many speciality food stores, such as the "Julius Meinl am Graben".
Vienna is the world's only capital city with its own vineyards (although Paris also retains a single vineyard). The wine is served in small Viennese pubs known as Heuriger, which are especially numerous in the wine growing areas of Döbling (Grinzing, Neustift am Walde, Nußdorf, Salmannsdorf, Sievering) and Floridsdorf (Stammersdorf, Strebersdorf). The wine is often drunk as a spritzer ("G'spritzter") with sparkling water. The Grüner Veltliner, a white wine, is the most widely cultivated wine in Austria.
Beer is next in importance to wine. Vienna has a single large brewery, Ottakringer, and more than ten microbreweries. A "Beisl" is a typical small Austrian pub, of which Vienna has many.
Viennese cafés have an extremely long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and the caffeine addictions of some famous historical patrons of the oldest are something of a local legend. Traditionally, the coffee comes with a glass of water. Viennese cafés claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from bounty captured after the second Turkish siege in 1683. Viennese cafés claim that when the invading Turks left Vienna, they abandoned hundreds of sacks of coffee beans. The Emperor gave Franz George Kolschitzky some of this coffee as a reward for providing information that allowed the Austrians to defeat the Turks. Kolschitzky then opened Vienna's first coffee shop. Julius Meinl set up a modern roasting plant in the same premises where the coffee sacks were found, in 1891.
Major tourist attractions include the imperial palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn (also home to the world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn) and the Riesenrad in the Prater. Cultural highlights include the Burgtheater, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Lipizzaner horses at the spanische Hofreitschule and the Vienna Boys' Choir, as well as excursions to Vienna's Heuriger districts.
There are also a number of art galleries, such as the Albertina, Belvedere, Museumsquartier, KunstHausWien and BA-CA Kunstforum. Popular museums include the museums in the Hofburg, the twin Kunsthistorisches Museum and Naturhistorisches Museum and the Technisches Museum, each of which receives over 250,000 visitors per year .
Sites associated with the many composers who lived in Vienna are also popular, such as Beethoven's various residences and St. Marx cemetery (where his grave was lost), Mozart's. A memorial grave has been placed for Mozart there and at Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) which is the largest cemetery in Vienna. Vienna's many churches also draw large crowds, the most famous of which are St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Deutschordenskirche, the Jesuitenkirche, the Karlskirche, the Peterskirche, Maria am Gestade, the Minoritenkirche, the Ruprechtskirche, the Schottenkirche and the Votivkirche.
Modern attractions include the Hundertwasserhaus, the United Nations headquarters and the view from the Donauturm.
The Secession building
The Gloriette at Schönbrunn
The Riesenrad in the Wiener Prater