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Austria

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Table of contents

Things to do and see in Austria

Vienna


Vienna was the centre of the Hapsburg Empire who ruled the country for six centuries and it can be seen in the cities wealth of architecture and musical heritage. Many of the world’s most important composers, including Beethoven and Mozart, have lived and performed behind Vienna’s Baroque façades.

The fall of the Hapsburg Empire, at the end of World War I, allowed Vienna’s socialist undercurrents to come to the fore during the ‘Red Vienna’ period, resulting in numerous social housing and other projects, which still play a role in the city. Vienna’s occupation by the Nazis and subsequent partitioning by the four Allied powers tend to be forgotten, as the city instead focuses on its post-war neutrality and the glittering remnants of its Imperial glory.

The city is not only the capital of Austria but also a federal province that is divided into 23 Bezirke (districts). The original city that lay within the protective walls comprises the First District of modern Vienna. The demolition of the city walls led to the construction of the Ringstrasse and an impressive parade of buildings along its length. The majority of the tourist attractions lie on and within the Ringstrasse. Districts two to nine are arrayed between the Ringstrasse and the concentric Gürtel (Belt).

 

Habsburg’s Schönbrunn Palace

The Schönbrunn Palace is Vienna’s answer to Versailles and was home to the Austrian Hapsburg emperors from the 18th century to 1918 and was built by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi. The palace buildings have been constantly added to for over 800 years, with the first fortifications being erected by King Ottakar Premysl in the 13th century.

Today, the palace and gardens are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and of the 1411 rooms in the palace, 40 are open to the public. it houses the office of the Austrian president, an international conference centre, a number of museums, the chapel where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings and the hall in which the Lipizzan stallions perform. The Imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire rests here, as does the Crown Jewels of the Austrian Empire, the 15th-century Burgundian treasure and the treasure of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Admission into the palace is €8, but this can always change. It’s definitely worth going to see if you are in the city and if you require more information go to www.schoenbrunn.at

 


Viennese Opera House


Vienna Opera House is situated in the frist district of Vienna at the southern end of the Kärntnerstrasse. August von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll built the State Opera House from 1861 to 1869.

The Vienna Opera House has a world-wide reputation for its first-class opera performances and is also known because of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. A night at the State Opera is one of the most impressive events any visitor to Vienna can experience.

The building itself closely resembles Italian Renaissance, as this epoch was immensely important for art and music. The first operas were written and performed in Italy during the 16th century. If you are into Opera you defiantly have to go and see the Viennese Opera House.

 


St. Stephen’s Cathedral


St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of Vienna’s most famous sights. It defines the city centre and has been the heart of Vienna for centuries. It is one of the most famous Viennese sights and was built in 1147 AD. For a long time it was uncontested as highest building in Europe measuring almost 137 m.

You can see its brightly coloured roof tiles, from distant viewpoints. Construction began on the cathedral in the 12th century and was completed in 1433. Major restoration and rebuilding work was necessary after the cathedral caught fire at the end of World War II.

The sound of the 'Pummerin', the cathedrals big bell, is used to celebrate New Year in Austria. This is a very important historic building in Vienna and you should definitely go have a look. The admission for a guided tour is €3, but this can change so if you would like more information on St. Stephen's Cathedral go to www.stephansdom.at

 

 

 

 

 

Salzburg


Salzburg, Austria is a very popular destination for many people. The city has a unique baroque feel to it and a storybook atmosphere. It is a small city consisting of only 150,000 residents and is located in the Western part of Austria. With more than 4000 festivals a year, it's hard to miss an event while visiting. Salzburg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe which explains why over seven million people visit Salzburg year after year. It is one place you must see when in Europe!

Salzburg is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who is celebrated yearly by the Salzburger Festspiele, which is a festival that brings thousands of people together. The city is set against a backdrop of breathtaking snow-capped mountain scenery, which makes the city breath taking. Also, it’s also the home of 'The Sound of Music', so as you can guess the residents of Salzburg are into there music.

The Altstadt (the old city) has recently been granted World Heritage Status by UNESCO and most of the cities major sights are within walking distance of the old city centre. If you are looking for some things to do outside the city we recommend Badgastein, which is a popular spa and winter resort with a large casino. The Eisriesenwelt Museum is another attraction worth visiting. It has ice caves and ice sculptures and is located near Werfen. In the area there is also the Kremsmünster Monastery, which is one of the oldest in the country and was founded in 877.

 


Mozart's Birthplace and Residence

This was the birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart on 27 January 1756 who was one of the most famous musicians of all times and where the family lived from 1747 to 1773. Under his father’s teaching, Mozart quickly became a child prodigy, playing in front of kings and emperors across Europe. In 1773, the family moved to a house in Makartplatz which is known today as Mozart Wohnhaus (Mozart’s Residence), where they remained until 1787.

Today, thousands of visitors come to Salzburg to see these two houses, which are both now popular museums. Most of Mozart’s Residence was destroyed by a bomb in 1944; the building has however been restored to its original glory by the Mozarteum Foundation. If you are a music lover this is a must if you go to Salzburg.

 


Residenz Palace


One of the most significant buildings of Salzburg, this was once used by the princes for entertainment purposes for centuries, most notably hosting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who played regularly for the royalty in the State rooms.

 


Salzburg Cathedral

The original cathedral of Salzburg was built in 774 by St. Virgil. The Cathedral was almost destroyed in 1598 by a fire, but in 1614 it was reconstructed. This cathedral is considered as the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps.

 


Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn)


Renowned in Europe for being one of the most beautiful examples of renaissance buildings north of the Alps, it is a must for every tourist visiting Salzburg.

 


The Sound of Music Tour


This tour is a must see attraction. It's offered by Panorama Tours and is an in depth four hour tour of one of the most beloved movie musicals ever made. You will be able to see where the movie was actually shot as well as where the Von Trap family lived. A surprising fact is that most people in Austria don't even know about this movie. The reason for this is because the movie was filmed in the English language and marketed in the United States. As you can guess this tour is very popular among tourists, especially those Americans.

 

 

The Wiener Riesenrad

The Wiener Riesenrd (or Viennese Giant Wheel) is Vienna's oldest Ferris wheel and it was originally built in 1897, but burnt down in 1944 and later erected a year later. It was the scene of the classic film, Orson Welles as Harry Lime in 'The Third Man'.

This new Wiener Riesenrad boasts 15 spacious gondolas, with several fitted out as resturant carriages. If you are looking for a bit of romance go for the Crystal Wagon, which was designed by Swarovski. For more information on The Wiener Riesenrad go to www.wienerriesenrad.com

 

 

 

 

The Rest of Austria


Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is well known as having some of the best ski slopes on the planet. It’s on the World Cup circuit and it has some of the best groomed runs around. Away from the skiing the area is beautiful and it is a must see.

 


Tirol


Tirol is situated in the heart of the Alpine region and is popular in winter and summer among tourists. Innsbruck the capital of the area has been home of the Winter Olympics twice. It’s an internationally renowned ski area comprising of six major ski resorts. Another huge attraction is that it’s an 800-year-old university town and has a 12th-century castle, which is also another draw among the tourists. For more information on skiing in Innsbruck go to www.ski-innsbruck.at

 

 

 

 
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