Vienna (German: Wien, ʋiːn, Austro-Bavarian: Weăn,) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city; with a population of about 1.7 million (2.2 million within the metropolitan area), and is by far the largest city in Austria as well as its cultural, economic and political center. Vienna lies in the very east of Austria, close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In 1683, the city became the residence of the Habsburg dynasty, and many aristocratic families built palaces and residences in the city. In 1805, Vienna became capital of the Austrian Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and played a major role in European and world politics. The map of Europe was redrawn at the 1815 Congress of Vienna. In 1918, after World War I, Vienna became capital of the First Austrian Republic. In 1938, German troops entered Austria and Hitler proclaimed the 'Anschluss' (joining) of Austria into the German Reich. 1945, Vienna again became the capital of Austria, initially divided into four zones by the Allies.
Today Vienna is a center of European culture, with more than one hundred art museums which, combined, attract more than eight million visitors annually. Vienna is also known as the home of many illustrious musicians, scientists and philosophers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Martin Buber, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, Josef Lanner, Franz Schubert, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Johann Strauss. In 2001, the city center was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site2 and the city ranks third in the world in terms of quality of life.3
HistoryVienna in 1858
Founded around 500 B.C.E., Vienna was originally a Celtic settlement. The name “ Wien” derived from the Celtic "Vedunia" for “river in the woods.” In 15 B.C.E., Vienna became a Roman frontier city ("Vindobona") guarding the Roman Empire against Germanic tribes to the north. Remnants of the Roman camp can still be seen at Hoher Markt and at underground station Stephansplatz.
During the Middle Ages, Vienna was home of the Babenberg Dynasty, and in 1440 became residence of the Habsburg dynasties; Vienna eventually grew to become the secret capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a cultural center for arts and science, music and fine cuisine. The Ottoman invasions of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were stopped twice just outside of Vienna (Siege of Vienna, 1529 and Battle of Vienna, 1683). After 1683, when the Turks were no longer a threat, Vienna became the official residence of the Hapsburg family and many aristocratic families built palaces and residences in the city. From 1740 until 1780, a program of modernization was undertaken by Empress Maria Theresia, joined in 1765 by her son Joseph II. In the late eighteenth century, Vienna became a center of culture and learning.
In 1805, Vienna became capital of the Austrian Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and played a major role in European and world politics. The map of Europe was redrawn at the 1815 Congress of Vienna. In 1857 the ramparts surrounding the city were dismantled, and replaced with the Ringstrasse (ring road). The Austro-Hungarian Empire came into existence in 1867.
In 1918, after World War I, Vienna became capital of the First Austrian Republic. Adolf Hitler lived in Vienna from 1907 until 1913. The Academy of Fine Arts of the city rejected him as a student, and when Hitler was broke and homeless, he stayed at homeless shelters like the one on the Meldemann Strasse. In 1934, after a coup d'état by the 'Austrofascists,' a clerical-fascist dictatorship is established under Dollfuss. In 1938, German troops entered Austria and Hitler spoke to the Austrian people from the balcony of the Neue Burg, a part of the Hofburg at the Heldenplatz, proclaiming the 'Anschluss' (joining) of Austria into the German Reich. Between the 1938 Anschluss and the end of the Second World War, Vienna lost its status as a capital to Berlin.
In 1945, the Vienna Offensive was successfully launched by the Soviets against the Germans holding Vienna. The city was besieged for about two weeks before it fell to the Soviets. After 1945, Vienna again became the capital of Austria. Initially divided into four zones by the Allies, Vienna became a hot-bed for international espionage between the Western and Eastern blocs.
Demographic historyInhabitants according to official census figures: 1800 to 2005
Due to industrialization and immigration from other parts of the Empire, the population of Vienna increased sharply during its time as capital of Austria-Hungary (1867-1918). However, after World War I, many Czechs and Hungarians returned to their ancestral countries, resulting in a decline in the Viennese population. At the height of the immigration, about one third of the people living in Vienna were of Slavic or Hungarian descent.
By 2001, only 16 percent of people living in Vienna had nationalities other than Austrian, nearly half of which were from the former Yugoslavia; the next most numerous nationalities in Vienna were Turkish (39,000 or 2.5 percent), Polish (13,600 or 0.9 percent) and German (12,700 or 0.8 percent) 4.
SubdivisionsThe Rathaus serves as the seat of the mayor and city council of the city of ViennaStephansdom
Vienna is composed of twenty-three districts (Bezirke). Legally, they are not districts in the sense of administrative bodies with explicit powers (such as the districts in the other Austrian states), but mere subdivisions of the city administration. Elections at the district level give the representatives of the districts some political power in fields such as planning and traffic.
The 23 districts are numbered for convenience in a roughly clockwise fashion starting in the city centre: 1. Innere Stadt, 2. Leopoldstadt, 3. Landstraße, 4. Wieden, 5. Margareten, 6. Mariahilf, 7. Neubau, 8. Josefstadt, 9. Alsergrund, 10. Favoriten, 11. Simmering, 12. Meidling, 13.Hietzing, 14. Penzing, 15. Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, 16. Ottakring, 17. Hernals, 18. Währing, 19. Döbling, 20. Brigittenau, 21. Floridsdorf, 22. Donaustadt, 23. Liesing.
The heart and historical city of Vienna, the Innere Stadt, was once surrounded by walls and open fields in order to deny cover to potential attackers. The walls were razed in 1857, making it possible for the city to expand and eventually merge with the surrounding villages. In their place, a broad boulevard called the Ringstraße was built, along which imposing public and private buildings, monuments, and parks now lie. These buildings include the Rathaus (town hall), the Burgtheater, the University, the Parliament, the twin museums of natural history and fine art, and the Staatsoper. It is also the location of the Hofburg, the former imperial palace. The mainly Gothic Stephansdom is located at the centre of the city, on Stephansplatz. Beyond the Ringstraße, there was another wall called the Linienwall, which was torn down in the latter half of the nineteenth century to make room for expanding suburbs. It is now a ring road called Gürtel.
Industries are located mostly in the southern and eastern districts. The Innere Stadt is situated away from the main flow of the Danube, but is bounded by the Donaukanal ("Danube canal"). Vienna's second and twentieth districts are located between the Donaukanal and the Danube River. Across the Danube are the newest districts, which include the location of the Vienna International Centre.
Vienna's postal codes can be determined by the district where a given address is located; 1XXA - 1 denotes Vienna, XX the district number (if it is a single digit then with a leading zero), A is the number of the post office (irrelevant in this case, usually zero). Example: 1070 for Neubau. Exceptions include 1300 for the Vienna International Airport located in Lower Austria near Schwechat, 1400 for the UN Complex, 1450 for the Austria Center, and 1500 for the Austrian UN forces.
Vienna is today considered the centre of Social Democracy in Austria. Until 1918, Viennese politics were shaped by the Austrian Christian Social Party. During the period of the First Republic (1918-1934), the Vienna Social Democrats undertook many overdue social reforms, improving the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of workers in the city. At that time, Vienna's municipal policy was admired by Socialists throughout Europe, who therefore referred to the city as "Red Vienna" (Rotes Wien). Since the end of the First World War, the city has been governed by the Social Democratic Party with absolute majorities in the city parliament. Between 1934 and 1945, when the Social Democratic Party was illegal, mayors were appointed by the austro-fascist and later by the Nazi authorities.
The current mayor of Vienna is Michael Häupl. The Social Democrats currently hold 55 percent of the seats with a 49 percent share of the vote5. An example of the city's many social democratic policies is its low-cost residential estates called Gemeindebauten.
Ever since Vienna obtained federal state (Bundesland) status of its own in 1921, the mayor has also had the role of the state governor (Landeshauptmann). The Rathaus accommodates the offices of the mayor and the state government (Landesregierung). The city is administered by a multitude of departments (Magistratsabteilungen).
Vienna is the seat of the Viennese Roman Catholic archdiocese, and its acting Archbishop is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. The religions of the Viennese resident population are divided according to the 2001 census as follows 4:
|Protestant (mostly Lutheran)||4.7%|
|Other or none indicated||6.3%|
|Historic Centre of Vienna*|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Criteria||ii, iv, vi|
|Inscription||2001 (25th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.|
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Music, theatre and opera
Art and culture, including theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts, have a long tradition in Vienna. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theatres in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theatres, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) and the Volksoper (Vienna Volksoper), the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at well known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful musical by far was "Elisabeth," which was later translated into several other languages and performed all over the world. The Haus der Musik ("house of music") opened in 2000.
Many Roman Catholic churches in central Vienna also feature performances of religious or other music, including masses sung with classical music and organ.
The Viennese Waltz, oldest of all ballroom dances, emerged in the second half of the eighteenth century from the German dance and the Ländler in Austria. In the beginning it was disapproved of because the ladies' ankles were visible, and was considered unsuitable for unmarried girls. Later it gained official acceptance and became popular due to the Congress of Vienna at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the famous compositions by Josef Lanner, Johann Strauss I and his son, Johann Strauss II.
The Viennese Waltz has always been a symbol of political and public sentiment. It was called the "Marseillaise of the heart" (by Eduard Hanslick, a critic from Vienna in the past century) and was supposed to "have saved Vienna the revolution" (in a biography of the composer Johann Strauss I). Heinrich Laube, a poet from the north of Germany, called Strauss I the "Napoleon Autrichien".
The Hofburg is the location of the Schatzkammer (treasury), holding the imperial jewels of the Hapsburg dynasty. The Sisi Museum (a museum devoted to Empress Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Austria) allows visitors to view the Imperial apartments as well as the silver cabinet. Directly opposite the Hofburg are the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum, which house many paintings by old masters and ancient and classical artifacts.
A number of museums are located in the Museumsquartier (museum quarter), the former Imperial Stalls which were converted into a museum complex in the 1990s. It houses the Museum of Modern Art (Ludwig Foundation), the Leopold Museum (focusing on works of the Viennese Secession, Viennese Modernism and Austrian Expressionism), additional halls with feature exhibitions and the Tanzquartier. The Liechtenstein Palace contains one of the world's largest private art collections. There are a multitude of other museums in Vienna, including the Military History Museum, the Technical Museum, the Vienna Clock Museum and the Burial Museum. The museums dedicated to Vienna's districts provide a retrospective of the respective districts.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna, such as the Romanesque Ruprechtskirche and the Baroque Karlskirche. Styles range from classicist buildings to modern architecture. Art Nouveau left many architectural traces in Vienna. The Secession, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station, and the Kirche am Steinhof by Otto Wagner rank among the best known examples of Art Nouveau in the world.
The Hundertwasserhaus by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, designed to counter the clinical look of modern architecture, is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions. Another example of unique architecture is the Wotrubakirche (Wotruba Church) by sculptor Fritz Wotruba.
In the 1990s, a number of quarters were adapted and extensive building projects were implemented in the areas around Donaustadt (north of the Danube) and Wienerberg (in southern Vienna). The 663 foot (202 m)-high Millennium Tower, located at Handelskai, is the highest building in Vienna. In recent years, Vienna has seen numerous architecture projects completed which combine modern architectural elements with old buildings, such as the remodelling and revitalization of the old Gasometer in 2001.
Most buildings in Vienna are relatively low; there are currently (early 2006) around 100 buildings higher than 40 m. The number of high-rise buildings is kept low by building legislation aimed at preserving green areas and districts designated as world cultural heritage. Strong rules apply to the planning, authorization and construction of high-rise buildings. Consequently, much of the inner city is a high-rise free zone.
Vienna is also Austria's main center of education and home to many universities, professional colleges and gymnasiums.
- Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
- Austrian Diplomatic Academy
- Medical University of Vienna
- PEF Private University of Management Vienna
- University of Applied Arts Vienna
- University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna
- University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna
- University of Vienna
- University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
- Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
- Vienna University of Technology
- Webster University Vienna
- Internationales Kulturinstitut
- American International School Vienna
- Danube International School
- Vienna Christian School
- Vienna International School
- Lycée Francais de Vienne
Twelve bridges cross the Danube in the city, which is divided by the Danube and its branch, the Neue Donau ("new Danube").
Public transportationThe Ultra Low Floor tram stock, designed by Porsche and built by AG Siemens boasts an entry height of 180 mm (7 in), the lowest in the world. Of these vehicles, by 2003 some 150 were in use by the municipal Wiener Linien, along with around 400 older high-floor models which are gradually being replaced.
Vienna has a large public transportation network.
- Vienna S-Bahn
- Vienna U-Bahn
- Local Railways (Lokalbahn Wien-Baden)
- Wiener Linien (= Vienna Lines, municipal company operating U-Bahn, tram, and most bus routes)
Vienna has an extensive tram and bus network - the tram network being third largest in the world. In the most populated areas of Vienna, public transport runs so frequently (even during off-peak hours) that familiarity with departure timetables is virtually unnecessary. The convenience and flexibility of the public transport is in turn reflected by its popularity; 53% of Viennese workers travel to their workplace by public transport.6 During night hours, public transport is continued by the Nightline buses operating on all the main routes, generally every half hour.
Fare prices within the city are independent of the length of the journey and cover all modes of public transport. Daily, monthly and annual tickets are available. The Viennese public transport services are incorporated into a larger concentric system of transport zones, the VOR (Verkehrsverbund Ostregion = eastern region traffic association). VOR includes railway and bus lines operating 50 kilometers into the surrounding areas, and ticket prices are calculated according to the number of zones.
There are also two miniature railways: the Liliputbahn in the Wiener Prater and the Donauparkbahn in the Donaupark.
RailwaysWien Westbahnhof, the starting point of the Austrian Western Railway.
Historically, all transport was oriented towards the main cities in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Vienna has several train stations that form the beginning of train lines:
- Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof, the starting point of the Franz Josef Railway
- Wien Westbahnhof, starting point of the Western Railway
- Wien Südbahnhof (Former South and East Station) for the Southern Railway and the Eastern Railway
There are also several through train stations:
- Wien Hütteldorf on the Western Railway
- Wien Heiligenstadt on the Franz Josef Railway
- Wien Praterstern (Formerly known as Wien Nord or Wien Nord-Praterstern) on the Northern Railway.
- Wien Meidling (Philadelphiabrücke) on the Southern Railway. This is Vienna's most frequented transit station.
- Wien Mitte (Landstraße) on the S-Bahn Stammstrecke ("main line") is the nearest railway station to the centre of Vienna.
A large number of smaller stations are important for local passenger traffic. Since the mid-1990s, the Westbahnhof and Südbahnhof have handled all long-distance travel. Many trains also stop at Hütteldorf or Meidling, especially when inbound.
In order to bundle all long-distance traffic it has become necessary to build a tunnel, colloquially known as the Wildschweintunnel ("boar tunnel"), underneath Lainzer Tiergarten linking the Western Railway to the Southern Railway. The new bundled train line will connect to a new through train station called Wien Zentralbahnhof that will be constructed instead of the Südbahnhof.
Road trafficRiver Danube, Brigittenauer Brücke (bridge) and Millennium Tower in Vienna (view from Donauturm)
Similar to the train lines, Bundesstraßen leave the city in a star-shaped pattern. Some are named after their historical final destination (Prager Straße to Prague, Linzer Straße to Linz, Triester Straße to Trieste and Brünner Straße to Brno). Bundesstraßen can be compared to Federal Highways in the United States, being two-lane in rural areas and multi-lane in urban areas.
Three national autobahns leave Vienna in the westerly (A1), southerly (A2), and easterly directions (A4). Similar to the rail lines, they are commonly referred to by their exit direction (Westautobahn, Südautobahn, and Ostautobahn). In addition, several spur and branch autobahns circle around the southern and eastern areas of the city. The protected Wienerwald forest area in the western and northern areas has been left mostly untouched.
Vienna International Airport is located to the southeast of Vienna. The airport handled over 237,400 departures in 2006 and was frequented by 16.86 million passengers7. Following lengthy negotiations with surrounding communities, the airport will be expanded to increase its capacity by adding of a third runway. The airport is currently undergoing a major enlargement (construction of several new buildings) to prepare for an expected increase in passengers.
Vienna is connected to Rotterdam and German Industrial areas via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, and to Eastern European countries along the Danube to the Black Sea. The planned Danube-Oder canal remains unfinished. The "Twin City Liner" boat service connects Vienna and Bratislava.
Nearly all of Vienna's drinking water is brought to the city via two large water pipelines, built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The pipelines stretch 120 km (75 miles) and 200 km (124 miles) from the Alps to the city's Hietzing district. The Alpine sources are pristine and the water does not require treatment.
Viennese parks and gardensView of Vienna from LeopoldsbergThe "Alte Donau," one of the top bathing and recreation spotsSteffen Hofmann, playing for Rapid Wien
Vienna possesses many park facilities and is one of the greenest cities in the world. Parks include the Stadtpark, the Burggarten, the Volksgarten (part of the Hofburg), the Schloßpark at Schloss Belvedere (home to the Vienna Botanic Gardens), the Donaupark, the Schönbrunner Schlosspark, the Prater, the Augarten, the Rathauspark, the Lainzer Tiergarten, the Dehnepark, the Resselpark, the Votivpark, the Kurpark Oberlaa, the Auer-Welsbach-Park and the Türkenschanzpark. Green areas include Laaer-Berg (including the Bohemian Prater) and the foothills of the Wienerwald, which reaches into the outer areas of the city. Small parks, known by the Viennese as Beserlparks, are everywhere in the inner city areas.
Many of Vienna's famous parks include monuments, such as the Stadtpark with its statue of Johann Strauss II, and the gardens of the baroque palace, where the State Treaty was signed. Vienna's principal park is the Prater which is home to the Riesenrad, a ferris wheel. The imperial Schönbrunn's grounds contain an eighteenth century park which includes the world's oldest zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn), founded in 1752. The Donauinsel, part of Vienna's flood defenses, is a 21.1 km long artificial island between the Danube and Neue Donau dedicated to leisure activities.
Vienna hosts many different sporting events including the Vienna City Marathon, which attracts more than 10,000 participants every year and normally takes place in May. In 2005 the Ice Hockey World Championships took place in Austria and the final was played in Vienna. Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium was the venue of four Champions League and European Champion Clubs' Cup finals (1964, 1987, 1990, 1995) and will host the final of Euro 2008.
Austria's capital is home to numerous teams. The best known are the local football clubs SK Rapid Wien (31 Austrian Bundesliga titles), FK Austria Wien (23 Austrian Bundesliga titles and 26-time cup winners) and the oldest team, First Vienna FC. Other important sport clubs include the Chrysler Vikings Vienna (American Football), who won the Eurobowl title in 2004, the Vienna Hot Volleys, one of Europe's premier Volleyball organisations, and the Vienna Capitals (Ice Hockey).
Vienna is well known for Wiener schnitzel, a cutlet of veal that is pounded flat, coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in clarified butter. It is available in almost every restaurant that serves Viennese cuisine. Other examples of Viennese cuisine include "Tafelspitz" (very lean boiled beef), which is traditionally served with "Gerösteten Erdäpfeln" (boiled potatoes mashed with a fork and subsequently fried) and horseradish sauce, "Apfelkren" (a mixture of horseradish, cream and apple) and "Schnittlauchsauce" (a chives sauce made with mayonnaise and old bread).
Vienna has a long tradition of cakes and desserts. These include Apfelstrudel (hot apple strudel), Palatschinken (sweet pancakes), and Knödel (dumplings), often filled with fruit such as apricots (Marillenknödel). Sachertorte, a dry chocolate cake with apricot jam from the Sacher Hotel, is world famous.
In winter, small street stands sell traditional Maroni (hot chestnuts) and potato fritters. Sausages are also popular and available from street vendors throughout the night. The sausage known as Wiener (German for "Viennese") in the USA and Germany, is called a Frankfurter. Other popular sausages are Burenwurst (a coarse beef and pork sausage, generally boiled) and Käsekrainer (spicy pork with small chunks of cheese).
The Naschmarkt is a permanent market for fruit, vegetables, spices, fish, meat and much more from around the world. The city centre has many specialty food stores, such as the "Julius Meinl am Graben."
Vienna is the world's only capital city with its own vineyards (although Paris also retains a single vineyard, and Prague has some also). The wine is served in small Viennese pubs known as Heuriger, which are especially numerous in the wine growing areas of Döbling (Grinzing, Neustift am Walde, Nußdorf, Salmannsdorf, Sievering) and Floridsdorf (Stammersdorf, Strebersdorf). The wine is often drunk as a spritzer ("G'spritzter") with sparkling water. The Grüner Veltliner, a white wine, is the most widely cultivated wine in Austria.
Beer is next in importance to wine. Vienna has a single large brewery, Ottakringer, and more than ten microbreweries. A "Beisl" is a typical small Austrian pub, of which Vienna has many.
Viennese cafés have an extremely long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and the famous historical patrons of the oldest are something of a local legend, called "café society". Traditionally, the coffee comes with a glass of water. Viennese cafés claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from bounty captured after the second Turkish siege in 1683. Viennese cafés claim that when the invading Turks left Vienna, they abandoned hundreds of sacks of coffee beans. The Emperor gave Franz George Kolschitzky some of this coffee as a reward for providing information that allowed the Austrians to defeat the Turks. Kolschitzky then opened Vienna's first coffee shop. Julius Meinl set up a modern roasting plant in the same premises where the coffee sacks were found, in 1891.
Tourist AttractionsSchönbrunn PalaceNaturhistorisches MuseumThe Riesenrad in the Wiener PraterThe statue of Athena in front of the Austrian Parliament
Major tourist attractions include the imperial palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn (also home to the world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn) and the Riesenrad in the Prater. Cultural highlights include the Burgtheater, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Lipizzaner horses at the spanische Hofreitschule and the Vienna Boys' Choir, as well as excursions to Vienna's Heuriger districts.
More than 100 art museums together attract over eight million visitors per year 1. The most popular ones are Albertina, Belvedere, Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier, KunstHausWien, BA-CA Kunstforum, the twin Kunsthistorisches Museum and Naturhistorisches Museum, and the Technisches Museum Wien, each of which receives over a quarter of a million visitors per year 8.
There are many popular sites associated with composers who lived in Vienna, including Beethoven's various residences and grave at Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) which is the largest cemetery in Vienna and the