Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria.
Vienna is Austria’s primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million (2.6 million within the metropolitan area, nearly one third of the country’s population), and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union
Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and today it is the second largest German-speaking city after Berlin and just before Hamburg. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be “The City of Dreams” because it was home to the world’s first psychoanalyst – Sigmund Freud. The city’s roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, and then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.
Vienna is known for its high quality of life. In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first for the world’s most liveable cities. Between 2005 and 2010, Vienna was the world’s number-one destination for international congresses and conventions. It attracts over 6.8 million tourists a year.
The city has warm to hot summers, however with periodical precipitations that can reach its yearly most in July and August and average high temperatures from June to September of approximately 21 to 27 °C (70 to 81 °F). Spring is variable and autumn usually cold, with possible snowfalls already in November. Precipitation is generally moderate throughout the year.
Schönbrunn Palace is one of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque complexes and has been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. The wife of Emperor Ferdinand II, Eleonore von Gonzaga, had a pleasure palace built on the site in 1642 and called the property “Schönbrunn” for the first time. The palace and garden complex created from 1696 onwards following the siege of Vienna was complete redesigned under Maria Theresa after 1743. Today, due to its historical significance, its unique layout and magnificent furnishings, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vienna’s Imperial Palace is one of the biggest palace complexes in the world. The oldest parts date to the 13th century, with construction having continued right into the 20th century. The Imperial Palace was the residence and seat of government of the Habsburg emperors until 1918. Today, it is home to numerous museums with outstanding collections, the Spanish Riding School, a congress center, the seat of the Austrian Federal President as well as the historic Heldenplatz.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the symbol of Vienna. Construction commenced in the 12th century. Today, it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria.
The most beautiful boulevard in the world is home not only to many of Vienna’s best-known sights, such as the Imperial Palace, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum, the Vienna State Opera and Parliament. Magnificent palaces, extensive parks and important monuments also line the “display window” of the former Danube monarchy.
The Viennese coffee house is known around the globe for its informal pleasantness, as an oasis of gemütlichkeit. Traditional cafés entice with a wide variety of coffee drinks, international newspapers and pastry creations. Since 2011, the traditional Viennese coffee house culture has even belonged to the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. Modern representatives of the genre enrich the tradition with stylish flair. A close relative of the café is the pastry shop. Their specialty, pies and cakes, are the icing on Vienna’s dolce vita in the form of Bundt cake and Sachertorte.
Vienna is the only metropolis that grows enough wine within its city limits to make it worth mentioning. 700 hectares of Viennese vineyards leave their mark on the cityscape and its culture of pleasure. Wine growing has a long tradition in Vienna. White wines are grown in around 80 percent of the vineyards, with the Wiener Gemischter Satz being a specialty. Nowadays, Vienna presents itself as a city with a lively wine scene. Viennese wine is enjoyed in the city’s many bars and restaurants or on the edge of town in wine taverns that offer wine from their own vineyards and buffet tables piled high with home-made delicacies.
Vienna’s club scene is all about parties with music of the highest quality. Electronic music from Vienna is known for creating an international sensation – and with good reason. The parties range from chic to underground. Clubs such as Flex have already attained cult status. The program there is just as varied as at the city’s other party venues.