Vienna-Info

Belvedere
August 07, 2010

imageThe extensive Belvedere is situated in Vienna's 3rd district. It consists of two magnificent Baroque palaces the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery and the Palace Stables. These buildings are situated in a Baroque park landscape. Belvedere's name refers to the beautiful view over Vienna, which could be enjoyed at Maria Theresia's time.

The complex was built as summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. He bought the ground in 1697 and chose Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt as the chief architect for this project. The Palaces' architecture and interior design are typical for Rococo style. In 1803, Europe's first alpine garden was created in the extensive park.

Today, both palaces house museums. The Lower Belvedere, which was built between 1714 and 1716, was a garden villa, which served Prince Eugene as pleasure palace during the summer months. Today, the Lower Belvedere is a museum, which stages temporary exhibitions with artworks from all over the world. Here you can also discover Prince Eugene's staterooms.

The Upper Belvedere, which is in comparison to the Lower Belvedere especially luxurious, had primarily representative functions. Today it hosts the world's largest Klimt collection with the famous golden pictures The Kiss and Judith. Works by Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka are displayed as well. In addition to this, you can visit the "gold cabinet", situated in the north eastern corner pavilion of the Upper Belvedere, which was destroyed in a fire in 1950 and replaced by a copy.

 

How to get to Belvedere Palace:

Upper Belvedere - Subway U1 (get off at "Südtirolerplatz") or Tram D (get off at "Schloss Belvedere")
Lower Belvedere - Tram 71 (get off at "Unteres Belvedere")

The Museumsquartier Vienna
August 04, 2010

The Museumsquartier (MQ) in Vienna's 7th district is not only an art space, but also an oasis of recreation with its courtyards, cafés and shops. The 60.000 m2 large is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. The area used to serve as court stables. The renovation began in 1998 and lasted for three years. Opened in 2001, the Museumsquartier offers you as well modern and contemporary art. The same goes for the architecture. At the MQW you find not only the longest Baroque façade but also modern contemporary architecture.

The Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W) is not only Austria's leading museum for architecture, but also a research center with a solid level of reputation on a national and international level.

The Kunsthalle Wien hosts exhibitions of contemporary art and focuses cross-disciplinary trends in art.

The Leopold Museum holds the world's largest collection of works by Egon Schiele as well as a lot of masterpieces of the Viennese modernism and Austrian expressionism. In addition to this, it holds objects by Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos et. al.

The Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK) is the largest museum for modern and contemporary art in Central Europe. At the MUMOK you'll not only find works by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee or Pablo Picasso, but also present-day film, video, and photographic art.

The Tanzquartier is dedicated to contemporary dance and performance and the first of its kind in Austria.

Since 2002 the MQ hosts to this the quartier21, which serves as home for small to medium-sized cultural initiatives.

The Museumsquartier offers even its youngest visitors interesting things. They can enjoy a theater play at the Dschungel Wien or visit the children's museum ZOOM.

Aside from various exhibitions, the MQW hosts festivals like the Wiener Festwochen and ImPulsTanz.

 

How to get there by public transportation:

Subwayline U2 (get off at "MuseumsQuartier") or U3 (get off at "Volkstheater")

Bus: 48a (get off at "Volkstheater"), City Bus 2a (get off at "MuseumsQuartier")

Tram: 49 (get off at "Volkstheater")

Vienna's Ring Boulevard
August 01, 2010

Vienna's Ring BoulevardVienna's Ring Boulevard encircles Vienna's first district. The Vienna Ring Boulvard is four kilometers long. The construction of the Ring Boulevard was initiated by Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1857 after the demolition of the old city walls. It's purpose was to connect the city center with the suburbs. On the 1st May of 1865 Vienna's Ring Boulevard was ceremoniously inaugurated. Vienna's Ring Boulevard offers you a mix of architectural styles which is often referred to as "Ringstraßenstil" and takes its principles from Historicism.

If you start your Vienna Ring Boulevard exploration tour at the northern end, you'll first see the Ringturm tower. The Ringturm tower was built between 1953 and 1955, is 93 meters high and was Vienna's first skyscraper. Today it's the second highest building of the first district after St. Stephen's Cathedral. After leaving the Ringturm tower, your next stops will be the Viennese Stock Exchange, the Vienna University, the Vienna City Hall, the Burgtheater, the Volksgarten Park, the Parliament, the Hofburg, the National Library, the Museum of Fine arts and its counterpart the Museum of Natural history, Burggarten Park, the State Opera House and the Urania, the first public observatory.

You can explore Vienna's Ring Boulevard by foot or by tram. There's a special yellow tram circling Vienna's Boulevard all year round from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can hop on and off at any time to take a closer look at Vienna's sights. Inside the wagons LCD screens inform you about the sights in several languages. One complete ride around the Ring with no stops will take you 30 minutes. You can purchase a special Ring tram ticket, which is valid for 24 hours.

St. Stephen's Cathedral
July 28, 2010

St. Stephen's Cathedral of Vienna around 1905St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of the most famous Viennese sights. For a long time it was uncontested as highest building in Europe measuring almost 137 m. As Vienna's landmark, the St. Stephen's Cathedral is featured in many films, including "The Third Man". Anyone who climbs up the 343 narrow steps to the room in the southern tower can enjoy the breathtaking view across the city.

St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of the most important Gothic buildings in Austria. The architectural history begins in the 12th century, the oldest remaining parts date from the 13th century: the Giant Gate and the Towers of the Heathens, both Romanesque in style. Duke Rudolph IV of Habsburg, in 1359, laid the cornerstone of the Gothic nave with its two aisles. The South Tower was completed in 1433 (the Viennese have given it the nickname Steffl, which also denotes the whole cathedral). After 1511, building in the Gothic style ceased; the unfinished North Tower was capped with a makeshift Renaissance spire in 1579. The diamond-patterned tile roof of St. Stephen's was added in 1952.

The 'Pummerin', the cathedrals big bell, is used to celebrate New Year in Austria. There are 18 altars in the main part of the church, and more in the various chapels. Seven services are held on weekdays and ten on Sundays. In St. Stephen's you can also find various tombs, e.g. the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Underneath the church you'll find the Catacombs, which can be visited daily. As there are many interesting things to explore at and in St. Stephen's Cathedral, a lot of different tours are offered throughout the day. In addition to this you can enjoy concerts in the St. Stephen's Cathedral, most of them for free.

 

How to get there by public transportation:

Subwaylines U3, U1 get off at "Stephansplatz"

Schönbrunn Palace
July 25, 2010

Schloss Schönbrunn, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schloss_Schoenbrunn_August_2006_406.jpgSchönbrunn Palace is considered one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Europe and part of UNESCO's cultural heritage. The gardens and palace have been the location for various movies, such as the Sissi trilogy in 1950s.

Schönbrunn dates back to the Middle Ages when it was refered to as Katterburg. In 1569, Schönbrunn came into possession of the Habsburgs. The name "Schönbrunn" (beautiful spring) derives from an artesian well from which water was consumed by court. In earlier times it served as summer residence to various Habsburg rulers, amongst them Emperor Franz Joseph, who was born at Schönbrunn and later married to Sisi. Today, you can take a tour through the imperial apartments in which Emperor Franz and his wife Sisi, as well as Maria Theresia used to life in.

Once an imperial hunting ground, the huge park was opened to the public in the late 18th century. Since then, it has become a popular recreational area to the people. The baroque complex of Schönbrunn contains the Palm House, a zoo and the Gloriette. The Gloriette consists of a central section in the form of a triumphal arch, flanked by arcaded wings with lofty semi-circular arches. From Gloriette's terrace you can enjoy an amazing view over the whole area. As the Gloriette houses a café, you can also enjoy a cup of typical viennese coffee there.

 

How to get to Schönbrunn Palace by public transportation:

Subway U4 get off at Schönbrunn

Tram: 10, 58, 60 get off at Hietzing