Art & Culture
The Ringstrasse is 5.3 kilometers long. Numerous impressive and famous buildings can be found on this street such as the gothic Vienna City Hall, the Parliament, the world famous Opera House, the Burgtheater, the Town-Hall and many more. They were built during the period of historicism in the 1860s to 1890s and are today among the most important sights in Vienna.
St. Stephens Cathedral is a landmark in the heart of Vienna's first district and Austria's most significant gothic building. The spectacular cathedral is 137m high and is home to valuable art treasures. Enjoy the view on the top of the spire – it is breathtaking! You will have to climb 343 stairs to get there but it is worth a visit (a lift is also available at a fee).
The Vienna State Opera offers a large variety of operas and ballets performed by world famous artists, directors and conductors. Every year it hosts the famous opera ball. Take a tour and a look behind the scenes and find out everything there is to know about this iconic building, which was built between 1863 and 1869.
The Imperial Palace was the centre of the enormous Habsburg Empire until 1918. Three museums offer authentic historical insights into the traditions and daily life of the time: The Imperial Apartments, showing the daily life of the monarchs, the Sissi Museum, devoted to the beautiful and celebrated empress, and the Imperial Silver Collection mirroring the splendour of imperial dining tables. The Imperial Palace is also home to the Spanish Riding School as well as to the chapel where you can hear the Vienna Boys Choir sing during Sunday mass.
Get to know a very modern Vienna in the Museums Quarter. The former stables of the Spanish Riding School were converted into a large area for art and culture, where old and new architecture combine in a unique way. You will find some of Vienna's best museums in the MQ: Leopold Museum, MUMOK (museum of modern art) and Kunsthalle. The Tanzquartier, design shops and comfortable restaurants and cafés are also in the MQ offering the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The inner court with its specially designed seats is always the place to be for people of all ages in the summer.
The two beautiful buildings of the Art and Natural History Museum mirror each other. The Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum) was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace to house the extensive collections of the imperial family. With its vast array of eminent works and the largest Pieter Bruegel the elder collection in the world, it is considered one of the most significant art history museums in the world. The Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) offers many surprises to its visitors – adults as well as children. Take a tour of the powerful gallery rooms or a rooftop view of Vienna's first district. Enjoy the exciting children's tours.
Vienna's City Hall is a huge neo-gothic building on the Ringstraße. The large area in front of the building (Rathausplatz) offers entertainment all year round: during the summer it is an open air film festival, during the winter the city’s biggest Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) and an ice skating area with beautifully illuminated scenery.
Theophil Hansen was commissioned to draw up the plans fot the Stock Exchange house, and the building was opened in 1877. Today the Stock Exchange houses event venues. In the basement: one of Vienna’s finest flower shops and a restaurant.
University. This imposing building was constructed in the Italian High Renaissance style by Heinrich von Ferstel between 1877 and 1884.
The Wiener Kaffeehaus has a long tradition. Some of the most important Austrian artists and intellectuals used to meet in their favourite cafés for discussion and inspiration. Today the Viennese coffee house culture is more alive than ever. Whether they are debating, reading, thinking or just enjoying the aesthetics: the Viennese truly love their “Kaffehaus”, and use it as a cosy living room and sometimes even as their office. Here are some of the most popular cafés in the inner city: Café Central, Café Hawelka, Café Landtmann, Café Mozart, Café Museum, Café Diglas, Café Prückel, Café Schwarzenberg and many more.
Vienna is world famous for its classical music. Every day numerous concerts take place for classical music lovers. We recommend concerts in the Wiener Musikverein. This concert hall hosts the celebrated new year’s concert from the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra every year. The Wiener Konzerthaus is also worth a visit. Daily concerts are offered and its architecture is a rarity – a mixture of historicism, secessionism and art nouveau. Smaller but excellent concerts can be enjoyed daily at the Palais Auersperg and the Schönbrunn palace where Mozart used to play.
You can find more information about events and sights in Vienna on the website of the Viennese tourist board Wien Tourismus.
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