Electric Vienna Austria © kainet
It's difficult to explore the sights and
sounds of Vienna without thinking of an elegant Strauss waltz or a
memorable Brahms lullaby. This beautiful Baroque capital of Austria
was for centuries the centre of the Habsburg Empire, retaining its
grand spirit in the form of magnificent palaces and grand mansions
peppering the Innere Stadt.
The city's cultural heritage is mainly
musical, with great composers such as Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven,
Schubert, Haydn and Mozart all having lived and performed here.
Today, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Opera House
help to keep alive the city's traditions by offering more classical
music performances a year than any other city in the world.
While Vienna is a city of music, it's also
synonymous with gourmet fare, cream cakes, superb coffee, the
angelic strains of the Vienna Boys' Choir, and the proud prancing
of the Lipizzaner stallions at the world-famous Spanish Riding
Starting out as a Celtic settlement on the
banks of the Danube, Vienna became one of Rome's most important
central European bases. Its favourable location on the strategic
river contributed to the city becoming the stronghold of a mighty
empire, reaching its peak during the tumultuous reign of the
dazzling Habsburg dynasty.
At the end of the 19th century, the golden
age of the Austrian Empire began to decline as Vienna's coffee
houses filled with radical intellectuals such as Freud, Klimt and
Mahler. The World War II Nazi occupation left scars, but Vienna
survived to remain a captivating capital that blends Italian
romanticism with Germanic orderliness.
Most of the city's tourist attractions are
within the largely pedestrianised inner city area, which was once
enclosed by the city walls. The walls have been replaced with the
Ringstrasse, a wide ring road. Further out in the suburbs is the
thrilling Prater amusement park with its massive Ferris wheel, and
the opulent Schonbrunn summer palace. Visitors also should not miss
a trip to the Vienna Woods, peppered with wine taverns called
Vienna is truly a paradise for classical
music aficionados, with unrivalled history, influence and majesty.
But it's also a city of sophistication and class, a romantic
outpost of old world grandeur shining through the heritage of
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