History of Vienna, Austria
Vienna the city is one of the oldest European cities in all of Europe. A long history dating back thousands, 500 BC, first being settled by the Celts and then being occupied for the Roman Empire. Eventually, Vienna fell under the rule of the Hapsburg empire. Starting around 1227 AD the Hapsburg monarchy was formed, surviving one the longest reign till the end of WW1 in 1918.
The 18th and 19th century in Vienna is known as the gold ages and where many of the beautiful wonders that travelers enjoy today were erected. Massive amounts of glorious construction went underway making Vienna one of the most powerful and impressive cites in Europe.
During the Napoleon wars, Vienna was captured many times. But after the defeat of Napoleon, there was the Congress of Vienna but it wasn’t very successful as the high society was busy living a lavish life. But they still continued to expand and eventually built the “Ring Street” where many of the most famous and important buildings for Vienna and the Hapsburg empire was built. Pipelines from the mountains were constructed bringing in freshwater making it a very advanced city.
Vienna was enjoying high prosperity and its population grew to 2 million people. The city became the leading center of culture and arts. Viennese Opera house was built, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt wowed the world, Beethoven, Strauss, and Mozart composed their masterpieces, and Sigmund Freud was revolutionary in his field of psychology.
The party came to an end due to WW1. After the separation of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Vienna was no longer a powerhouse in Europe. This caused incredible instability with the common people of Austria as Vienna was looked at as this autocratic iron fist and with an economic crash, this cause civil war within Austria. Austria is very diverse, this revolt included ethnic backgrounds such as Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, and Ukrainians. Some wanted better representation, others just wanted to be independent.
After the end of WW1, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy experienced a rapid collapse in 1918. It marked an end to a long-lived yet harsh monarchy.
Unfortnealry WW2 was not far off in the distance and a young Adolf Hitler would sit in the parliament building in Vienna and listen to the debates of the politicians. Here, in Vienna, Hitler started to form his radical ideas of what would eventually lead to the creation of Nazi Germany and a moment in history that is plagued with death.
Hitler, being from Austria, eventually made Austria a part of Nazi Germany and mass anti-Semitism began.
During WW2 Vienna took serious damage and many of the historical buildings that we enjoy today had to be repaired. After WW2 Austria was able to regain its independence and experienced a helpful economic boom due to the Marshal Plan. The Vienna Metro was re-constructed and it became the home of the United Nations as well.
Today Vienna has been ranked as #1 most viable cities and best quality of life 10 years in a row!
Vienna today is one of the most incredible and culturally inspiring destinations in the world. with over 100 museums, 10 restaurants with a combined 14 Michelin Stars, considered the city of music, art, and coffee, there is so much to see and experience you have to stay for multiple nights to take in everything that Vienna Offers.
If we were to suggest everything there is to see in Vienna, then this blog would be much longer than we think you would want to read! So we picked some of the most important attractions that are a must-see!
Located a little bit outside of the city center, we strongly suggest you visit the Schönbrunn Palace. This was the main summer residence fo the Habsburg rulers. Today the castle and its gardens are the most visited attraction in Vienna.
The exterior of the palace is designed with a Baroque style while the 1,400 room inside speaks to a Rococo style. Here you will get to see and experience how the Hapsburg Monarchy lavishly lived during their reign.
To make a more memorable experience at the Schönbrunn Palace, private rooms can be arranged for group events. The palace also offers selected suites that can be reserved to stay overnight at the Schönbrunn Palace and truly live as the royal family lived.
When the Habsburgs were not at the Schönbrunn Palace the ruled from here, the Hofburg Palace. Positioned right in the middle of Vienna, you can easily walk to this must-see attraction while in Vienna.
Until 1918 the extensive palatial complex at the heart of Vienna was the political center of the monarchy. Today it fulfills the same role for the Democratic Republic of Austria. The rooms where once Emperor Joseph II drew up his revolutionary program of reforms, where the Congress of Vienna met and danced and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences, now house the offices of the Federal President, the ministers of the chancellor's office and the secretaries of state
St Stephen’s Cathedral
This unbelievable Gothic edifice is truly remarkable. Known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, this is one of Vienna's most important and historical landmarks. Dating back to 1137 St. Stephen's Cathedral is known throughout the world as a significant heritage site.
During WW2 the Cathedral was heavily damaged but it did survive. Tragically the last days of the war the original roof went up in flames. The beautiful mosaic roof was rebuilt with its original colors as you can see from the picture above. Each tile is symbolically "owned" by the locals that donated for its construction. It stands as a reminder for locals that have rebuilt and recovered after the horrors of WW2.
Kursalon Concert hall
During the middle of the 19th century, Vienna was experiencing a lot of growth which we now refer to this time as the golden age in Vienna. In1857, Emperor Franz Josef, I ordered that all fortifications were to be taken down and what is now the Ring Boulevard to be built in the center of the city. Soon the construction of the Kursalon Concert hall began in the city park of Stadtpark. Originally the concert hall was built as an attraction to bring recreational value to Stadtpark.
This soon changed once Kurslaon hosted Johann Strauss who performed the building very first concert. His performance stunned the audience and soon the concert hall not only etched Strauss's name in history but also became a place where Viennese society would enjoy social events.
Today you can witness a magical performance also every night of the week. We strongly suggest this while you are in Vienna!
Vienna Christmas Market
Christmas Markets in Europe is a special experience that takes place. From mid- November to Christmas, Vienna city center turns into a magical Christmas winter wonderland!
One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional "Vienna Magic of Advent", which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets, and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights - a Viennese experience, you'll definitely don't want to miss!
250th Anniversary of Beethoven
2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig Van Beethoven.
If you are a fan of Beethoven and his classical masterpieces that moved the world than Vienna is your destination in 2020.
Special concerts are being planned. Here is a list of some of the events that are taking place in Beethoven's honor:
The 2020 New Year Concert from the Wiener Philharmoniker should have a particular Beethoven flavor to it, according to rumor. The orchestra also has a series of concerts in the State Opera House featuring Beethoven’s chamber music (January 11, January 18, March 28, April 18, May 9, June 13)
The Wiener Symphoniker will lead a special event in the same location on January 11, 2020: a repeat of the famous 1808 concert evening where Beethoven’s fifth and sixth symphonies premiered. The orchestra’s contribution to the Festival of Joy on May 8 also has a Beethoven-flavoured theme to it
The Wiener Philharmoniker and conductor Andris Nelsons perform all of Beethoven’s symphonies across several dates at the Musikverein:
May 23/24 – Symphonies 1 to 3 on each day:
May 27/28 – Symphonies 4 and 5 on each day
June 3/4 – Symphonies 6 and 7 on each day
June 6/7 – Symphonies 8 and 9 on each day
The ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra will participate in the worldwide initiative, All Together: A Global Ode to Joy.
Travel Tips for Vienna
Cafe life was and is an important part of Vienna's history. Here in the Cafes, locals would discuss enlightenment ideas that are responsible for why so many important cultural figures came out of Vienna.
Vienna is also known as "The City of Coffee." But they are not known for the coffee itself but for the way it is prepared. The water they use comes from the alps. This spring water is the secret ingredient that makes the tea and coffee and Vienna is known as the best in the world. It's said even the British royal family ship barrels of Vienna's spring water to England!
We highly recommend visiting these two cafes: Cafe Central and Demel. Both are classic cafes with some of the best coffee we have ever had in our life!
Vienna has so much more to offer than what can be possibly written in one blog. We at Connections by Avra highly recommended discovering all there is to enjoy in this culturally rich city. Our travel advisors are here to help put together a trip that will be unforgettable.