5 Characteristics representing Vienna
Vienna… How to describe Vienna? I always imagined Vienna as a set of a movie about a musician, an imperial king, an artist, from the year 18hundredandsomething, whose paths cross as a result of a chain of coincidences. And guess what! My imagination became reality with my visit to Vienna.
Okay okay, I haven’t seen men with white wigs on their heads or women wearing court dresses but I was able to feel the cultural heritage that make Vienna such a sophisticated city.
I’ll try to share some of my observations, what I think that makes Vienna to that movie set of my imaginary movie.
I believe without the Gothic architecture Vienna wouldn’t look half so good as it does today. To convince yourself just visit Stephansdom, Vienna’s Gothic masterpiece. The locals call it Steffl which means little Stephan.
Not far from the dome your feet will take you to Graben where you’ll see a tower, called Pestsäule (Tower of Plague), which perfectly presents those dark times Europe faced back in 15th century, the times thousand of people died because of the plague.
Also Vienna’s Rathaus (City Hall) is a good example of late Gothic architecture. Just imagine ladies and gentlemen waltzing in the courtyard. This scene is the intro of my imaginary movie.
The Habsburgs. Franz and Sissi. You heard these names before, right? Well, they were one of the most influential emperors in 19th century. Visit Hofburg which was the home base of the Habsburgs.
Schloss Schönbrunn is a good place to learn more about the insight of the Habsburg Family who had 1441 rooms in their house. Crazy!
Arts & Music
I thought “and yet another palace”, but Schloss Belvedere is not just a royal palace. It has a breathtaking art collection. Alone the possibility to have a closer look at Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss was worth the visit.
Hundertwasserhaus is a perfect example of revolutionary art in architecture. The colourful facade, its irregular forms and uneven floors. Inside the rooms large trees grow and its roof is covered with earth and grass. How amazing is this?
What have Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Strauss and Brahms in common? Yes, they all lived and worked in Vienna. Visit Staatsoper if you’re into classical music.
In Vienna the locals go to Beisln (bistro pubs) for beer and wine and traditional food like Viennese Schnitzel (fried meat). Beim Czaak is a perfect example for a good (very very good) Beisln. The Spinach dumplings with grated cheese taste awesome!
If you can, go a bit outside Vienna to dinner in a Heuriger, a traditional Viennese wine tavern. The local winemakers serve their own wines with traditional simple food in a very cosy friendly atmosphere.
Well, the colourful Naschmarkt with its wide variety of fruits, vegetables and spices is obviously a highlight for foodies.
Last but not least, coffee! Did you know the story of Vienna’s first coffee house goes back to the Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire back in 1529. Today, coffee houses are an indispensable part of Vienna sophisticated culture. When I entered Café Central I felt like I was time traveling to have cup of coffee with Sigmund Freud.
For more insights get Lonely Planet Travel Guide for Vienna.
Don’t forget to check my Pack List for useful travel items.
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