Weekend In Vienna: What To Do, What To See, And What To Know



Vienna is an ideal destination for independent travelers who love art and history, but also for romantic weekend of good food and classical music concerts. The Austrian capital is in fact a destination that offers a huge range of possibilities, with the many attractions, the old town, which add up to the caliber of the polarity of the Belvedere and Schonbrunn, not to mention the rest of the city is a frame inviting and waiting to be discovered. Given the ups and downs that have marked its history of the last hundred years, Vienna is in great shape, and the palaces and baroque churches beautifully restored, large parks always clean and well kept and a full calendar of events organized in summer and winter.

Built on the crossroads of important trade routes in the course of its long history Vienna has seen massive migration of peoples. At the time of the foundation was nothing more than a small village called Vindomina, then colonized by the Romans who changed the name to Vindobona. After the expulsion of the Romans, the region was occupied by various barbarian tribes, including the fearsome Huns led by Attila, and only with the arrival of Babenberg in 1135 the city was described as “civitas”. To mark the following centuries the Turkish threat and the serious scourge of plague, Vienna was able to avert dangers to relaunch initiating a period of great prosperity and development under the wise guidance of the Habsburgs. Among the sovereigns who have more marked remember Franz Joseph I (1848-1916), author of the Ringstrasse, the wide avenue that encircles the city modeled on the urban policy Haussmann in Paris, while the last century must be made above the tragic parenthesis represented the Second World War and everything that followed.

The heart of geographical, historical and religious in Vienna is the Innere Stadt, which started as a Roman military camp around the present Hoher Markt around 15 BC This district of Vienna, cloaked by a magical and timeless, not like some other area of the city and also why visitors love it. Take a walk in his lane and along the cobbled streets sac on a cold winter evening, and drops the fog, or at sunset on a warm summer day, and you will feel transported to another era, made of luxurious carriages and concerts of Mozart and Beethoven. Not by chance in 2001, the Innere Stadt was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rising, if possible, the appeal of its many attractions.

Here there are the imperial Hofburg and the Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, which stands at the center of the square named in honor of the same saint. In every way, including a bakery and the other, are placed museums and palaces, mainly baroque, but also medieval or built in the period of Jugendstil. In the district meet as fine dining and world class shopping, especially picturesque during the Christmas period when splendid choreography based colored lights animate all the main roads. In addition to being very charming, the Innere Stadt is easy to explore on foot as it is extremely compact, which extends over an area of just 3.6 square kilometers wide and no more than 1,800 meters at the widest point.

The focus is Stephansplatz, the most famous square in Vienna, which is the ideal starting point for visiting the rest of the city. From here some of the most important streets of the center, as Karntner Strasse, Graben and Rotenturmstrasse, although the main attraction lies in the center, where the towering spiers of St. Stephen’s so nice to obscure the neighbors Erzbischöfliches Palais, in which are set up on Sun and Diozesanmuseum and Haas Haus, a modern glass and steel building which has aroused much controversy. All year Stephansplatz is packed with street performers, groups of tourists and passers-by would-Mozart, in total contrast with the silence that characterizes the side streets a few minutes’ walk from the cathedral.

Moving east of the square you will find the last bastion of medieval Vienna Innere Stadt. Lost in its maze of cobbled streets is a pleasure that can not be denied, because here there is no trace of the crowd that struggles in many other streets. The most attractive part is the one immediately behind the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with its narrow alleys of Domgasse, Blutgasse and Grunangergasse that intersect to form a labyrinth in which it is very easy to lose your way, despite the reopening of the Vienna Mozart has upset a bit ‘ the rest of the block. To the north-east of St. Stephen the streets are wider, but less charming, do not miss Heiligenkreuzerhof, home to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Vienna, and Schonlatergasse, where the atmosphere is really addictive. Further north flowing Fleischmarkt, once the scene of the meat market, a road parallel to the Danube Canal that intersects in a point Rotenturmstrasse full of interesting art nouveau buildings. Among the best are the Palace 14, produced by F. Olbricht and F. Dehm the late nineteenth century and decorated with gilding and stucco, the house 7, by Max Kropf dated 1899, and the houses from 1 to 3, all designed by Arthur Baron in 1910. Nearby is then to visit one of the most beautiful museums in the Austrian capital, the Haus der Musik, the “House of Music”, an exhibition divided into 4 floors which illustrates the world of music in a simple, fun and interactive.

The main artery between Stephansplatz and the Staatsoper Karntner Strasse, one of the busiest and most stylish of Vienna. In the past this was the shopping street, along which faced the most noble boutiques in town, but in recent years has lost this role and the big names have been replaced by chain stores and small shops selling souvenirs, except for J & L Lobmeyr that sells cool stuff Werkstatte. In nearby Albertinaplatz is touching the Monument against War and Nazism, created by Alfred Hrdlicka in 1988, which with its rows of pale sculptures like blocks of stone commemorates the Jewish people in general and victims of war and Nazism. A few streets further north you come to the Neue Markt, a spacious and rather poor where in the past held the flour market and that now houses the Kaisergruft, the “Imperial Crypt.” The unique beauty of the square is a copy of the beautiful Fontana Providentia by Georg Raphael Donner, whilst the statues, removed in 1773 by order of Maria Theresa, are kept in the Museum of the Baroque Belvedere South.

In addition to Karntner Strasse, the other two ways of “nightlife” Viennese are Graben and Kohlmarkt that connect the Hofburg with the Stephansdom. Graben, lined with luxury shops, art nouveau buildings and historic buildings, is the way of Equitable Palais Renaissance, of which especially deserve the courtyard covered with Zsolnay Hungarian pottery and log blackened by time and is protected by a sheet of glass in the east of the building. Other interesting buildings are the neoclassical Erste Österreichische Sparkasse intersection with Tuchlauben and decorated with golden bee symbol of frugal living, and Grabenhof, a Jugendstil building built by Otto Wagner designed by Otto Thienemann, but you can not miss the Pestsaule, the “Plague Column”, and public services of Adolf Loos. Heading Kohlmarkt you will end up in Michaelerplatz, a circular space enclosed by sumptuous palaces where some Roman ruins, while to the west there are the neo-baroque Michaelertrakt and Micharlertor, one of the main entrances Hofburg. To conclude the visit of the area, there is nothing better than a trip to the Loos Haus, a modernist gem designed by Adolf Loos between 1909 and 1911.

There is no tourist who stays in Vienna without visiting the Hofburg. Such as Schloss Schonbrunn and Belvedere, the Hofburg, the “Imperial Palace”, is the epitome of opulence which for centuries has characterized the life of the House of Habsburg. Having lived here for more than six centuries, from the first emperor Rudolf I in 1279 to Charles I in 1918, the family changed several times in the complex, with the result that the present building is a huge melting pot of different styles. Currently, the building houses the offices of the President of the Republic and several museums of great interest. The oldest part is the Schweizerhof, the “Courtyard Swiss”, which takes its name from the Swiss Guards who once lent service and provides access to Burgkapelle and the Schatzkammer, which together form the Alte Burg, the “Palazzo Vecchio”. Besides the above there is a much bigger yard, In der Burg, from where it passes most of the visitors as communicating with Michaelerplatz and Kohlmarkt north-east and south-west Heldenplatz. To the south-east of the Schweizerhof is the Josefsplatz, which takes its name from Joseph II, while not far meet the Albertina, the Augustinerkirche, the National Library, the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner Museum.

North Hofburg extends a district between Michaelerplatz and Schottentor littered with churches and palaces. Most residences more luxurious is located in Herrengasse, onto which for example the Palais Mollard, seat of Globenmuseum, the Ferstal Harrach and Kinsky. Very nice is also the Palais Ferstal, built in 1860 and best known as home to the Café Central and Freyung Passage, a magnificent gallery lined with trendy shops. Going back to the northern end and in front of the Hofburg Minoritenkirche is the Bundeskanzleramt, l ‘”Office of the Federal Chancellor,” which is of great historical importance as the seat of political power since the time of Maria Theresa. At the northern end of Herrengasse, however, is the wide cobbled square of Freyung, dominated by the imposing silhouette of the Scots, but also by AOS Hof, which was once the stronghold of the Babenberg massive, ancient lords of Vienna. Judenplatz develops around the old Jewish quarter, reached starting from the north-east of Am Hof after passing a series of narrow cobbled streets and museums Puppen und Uhren Museum and Spielzeug Museum.

All around Innere Stadt runs Ringstrasse, the impressive horseshoe-shaped ring road built by the Emperor Franz Joseph in 1857. One of the best features of the Ring is one that runs from Schottentor Oper, where the number and beauty of the buildings is astonishing and makes you want to walk along the road, so you do not miss a detail. Apart from a brief detour to see the Votive Church, the first project in chronological order of the Ringstrasse, just follow the street to meet the Universitat in rapid succession, the Rathaus and the Burgtheater to the Parlament, without forgetting the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Museum Naturhistorisches. The last two, designed by the German architect Gottfried Semper, were part of a grand plan that would have had to connect to the Neue Burg and his double on the other side of Heldenplatz by two triumphal arches that would cross the Ringstrasse, but, due to the fall of the Habsburgs, the construction of the so-called Kaiserforum was canceled.

Behind Maria Theresia Platz are the former imperial stables designed by Fischer von Erlach in the eighteenth century that a decade hosting the so-called MuseumsQuartier. Currently MQ is one of 10 cultural centers in the world’s largest, as well as a spectacular window to observe styles and trends from the baroque to the present day. This is a very unique neighborhood, with exhibition space located on a total area of over 60,000 square meters that houses the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art), the Kunsthalle, the zoom, the ‘Architekturzentrum Wien, Wien Tanzquartier and numerous cafes and restaurants. The front of MuseumsQuartier, just behind the Kunsthalle, is occupied by the Quartier 21, a kind of mall that houses a variety of shops and temporary exhibitions, while near the entrance of Mariahilferstrasse is the Dschungel Wien, a theater dedicated for children.

The second district of Vienna, Leopoldstadt, home of two of the most beautiful parks in the city: the Prater and Augarten, they are in the Atelier Augarten of Gustinius Ambrosi and Augarten Porzellan Manufaktur. Founded in 1624 as the Jewish ghetto, outside of the parks, the neighborhood is now quite unkempt, full of ugly buildings built after the bombing raids and the devastating battle in 1945 saw the Red Army against the German troops of the Wehrmacht. The jumble of dusty shops and cafes shabby that extends Leopoldstadt is enriched with more bohemian gatherings, especially around the Karmelitermarkt outdoors, while most of the attractions are concentrated around Schwedenplatz, where there are the nineteenth-century bag of corn now the Odeon Theatre, the Nestroyhof with its beautiful Jugendstil facade, the Johann Strauss Haus and Kriminalmuseum.

To the south lies the third of Leopoldstadt district, the largest in the city of Vienna. Among the main attractions stands the baroque Belvedere Palace, located just south of Schwarzenberg, which are the corollary some museums and some fine example of modern architecture in Vienna, such as the KunstHaus Wien and the Hundertwasser House of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Designed by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and considered one of the most beautiful Baroque buildings in the world, Schloss Belvedere occupies a vast area from the Scwarzenbergplatz Gurtel. The name comes from its position, because from here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and away Wienervald. Its construction was commissioned by Prince Eugene of Savoy, a brilliant soldier became a national hero after defeating the Ottomans in 1718.’s Lower Belvedere, or the “Lower Belvedere”, was built first, between 1714 and 1716, together the nearby Orangerie, and was used as a summer residence of the sovereign, and then, from 1721 to 1723, was then built the Oberes (Upper) Belvedere, mainly used for social events and connected to the lower court by a majestic garden to French.

But perhaps the most popular attraction is Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace, which stands in Hietzing, the thirteenth district of Vienna, in the western portion of the city. Both the Palazzo that its garden were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are more than 1400 rooms of the castle, of which 190 are of the visit of the approximately 5 million tourists who come to visit Schönbrunn, every year. If the interior of the palace aristocrats, although of great value, can be a bit ‘repetitive, we think the garden to capture your interest, with its Great Parterre and summer turns fragrant flowerbeds. You can stroll admiring the aviary, fountains and the obelisk of Neptune and the palm house. Next to the garden, as well as the greenhouse is the Z oo Vienna Schönbrunner Tiergarten-Gesellschaft in addition to being one of the best zoos, the way animals are treated, is also considered the oldest zoo in the world.

In Vienna, the season of events, concerts and exhibitions of art knows no end, but it is during the Christmas season that the city is shown with his best suit. In December, in fact, are held Christkindlmarkte, the hugely popular Christmas markets, not to mention that shortly before, in November, we celebrate the Wien Modern Festival, a series based on classical music and avant-garde staged at the Konzerthaus. Other important events scattered throughout the year are: Fasching, the Viennese carnival, marked by countless festivals and magnificent masks from November to Ash Wednesday coloring the streets of Innere Stadt, the Donauinselfest, a musical event that every year between May and June attracts nearly 3 million young people on Donauinsel (Danube Island), the Vienna Jazz Festival, scheduled for the end of June to mid-July, and the Lange Nacht der Museen on the first Saturday of October, when about 500 museums in all nation open their doors to visitors between 18:00 and 1 am against the payment of a single ticket.

Viennese cuisine is delicious, though high in calories, and combines the best of the culinary traditions of many countries conquered by the Habsburg Empire. Many dishes are based on meat, such as Wiener Schnitzel, breaded cutlet of veal, pork or turkey, or goulash, beef stew flavored with various spices. Apfelstrudel This is one of the desserts that are all the rage and which will be hard to resist, but the Sacher torte to become the main protagonist when it comes to sweets. Much wider the variety of beers and wines can be enjoyed at the traditional Beisln (breweries), Gasthäuser (inns) and Heurigen (wineries). Great coffee, the influence of the Turks made it delicious: can compete with the Italian one.

The climate in Vienna is typically continental, moderately hot in summer and very cold in winter. The cold season starts early, from the beginning of November, and ends late, with the last snowfall that can whiten the center also in April, during which time the minimum temperatures are almost always a few degrees below zero, while exceed the maximum only on sunny afternoons. Summers, though rather short, are pleasant with an average temperature around 20 degrees from June to August. Rainfall, fairly frequent but almost never abundant, tend to be distributed fairly evenly on all 12 months of the year for a total of about 700 mm of rain.

The Vienna-Schwechat International Airport is the largest airport in Austria and is the main gateway to the city to move to and from the airport by public transport is simple, so that it only takes about 20 minutes by train or bus to reach in the center. The trains of ÖBB (Austrian Railways) are fast and convenient to move from Vienna to other cities in Austria, but also to reach the capital of Italy starting the train is half that should not be discarded. The network of urban public transport is excellent and can rely on dozens of tramways, autoviarie and U-Bahn, underground, that reach every corner of the city. To get around the city is advisable to get the Vienna Card, a card that costs less than 20 euros for 72 hours and offers free use of subways, trams and buses, as well as a number of discounts in over 200 cultural sites and exercises commercial.

Originally posted 2012-08-18 20:19:26.

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