A Travellerspoint blog



Great coffee, good music, beautiful buildings and architecture

Wednesday 10 September we flew from Berlin to Vienna. We will start another tour here that will take us from Vienna to Istanbul.

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.757 million (2.4 million within the metropolitan area, more than 20% of Austria'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 before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I the city had 2 million inhabitants. The city lies in the east of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants.

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 psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud. The city's roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, 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.

On Wednesday, we had an easy day with quite a bit if walking despite our hotel being very central. We are opposite the Vienna Konserthaus.
The Wiener Konserthaus
Franzosische Botschaft - The French Embassy, located next to our hotel, is housed in a unique building designed in the French style of art nouveau. Inside are many palace relics of the 18th century.

Some of the streets are so wide you need to have at least two changes of lights to get across. Here is Colleen crossing the Stuben Ring road.

The very beautiful Karl's Kirche
The Technische Universitat where Johann and Josef Strauss were educated.
St Stephan's Cathedral

Karntner Strasse, a walking street with lots of high end shopping.
Window shopping can put on weight just by looking.

The Albertina Museum boasts one of the world's largest graphics collections nd includes such famous drawings as Albrecht Durer's Young Hare
A little bit of home here in Vienna where you can indulge yourself on vegemite toast.
On Thursday 11 September, we caught the U4 to the Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schonbrunn) is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna, Austria. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country, since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.


No photography was allowed in the palace. The rooms were very elegant with beautiful ceilings and chandeliers. The palace dates back to the mid eighteenth century and was used as the winter palace of the Habsburgs right through to Emperor Franz Josef who died there in 1916.

The Gloriette

The garden axis points towards a 60-metre-high hill, which since 1775 has been crowned by the Gloriette structure (Fischer von Erlach had initially planned to erect the main palace on the top of this hill). Empress Maria Theresa decided Gloriette should be designed to glorify Habsburg power.

Later we took the train back to Schwedenberg Plasse and had lunch at a very nice restaurant. After lunch we took the Ring Tram around the Austrian World heritage Site. The majestic boulevards were laid out in the mid nineteenth century around the centre of the city, replacing the old city wall and the glacis. Ornate buildings such as the State Opera, parliament building, city hall ( I just love the name - Rathaus), the stock exchange and numerous palaces.

Parliament House designed by a famous Danish Architect

The Rathaus - City Hall

The Votive Church
The Stadt Park, a wonderful walking park near the centre of Vienna.

Colleen went to check on tickets for Mozart at the Schonbrunn Palace. They were. Poked out a few days ahead so she was lucky enough to get last minute tickets to the Muncher Philharmonikar < Munich Philomonic Orchestra) playing at the Musikbereinsaal. There was a crowd of about 1500 in the hall we were in. They were a steal at €100 each.

On Friday 12 September, we had a later start and decided to just go to one attraction. We chose the Belvedere Palace which was just a short walk from our hotel. On the way we stopped at the Bawag Bank and Post Office for Colleen to post a small present to our two little granddaughters. Here she is at the counter.

It is probably fair to say that I enjoy the art galleries a little more than Colleen. She has a simple calibrator in viewing art. if Mia or Evie can do it better then it is not really art.

The Belvedere Palace is also an art gallery.

The Belvedere is a historic building complex in Vienna, Austria, consisting of two Baroque palaces (the Upper and Lower Belvedere), the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the third district of the city, on the south-eastern edge of its centre. It houses the Belvedere museum. The grounds are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Baroque palace complex was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy.

The Belvedere was built during a period of extensive construction in Vienna, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling Habsburg dynasty. This period of prosperity followed on from the commander-in-chief Prince Eugene of Savoy's successful conclusion of a series of wars against the Ottoman Empire.
Lower Belvedere. The single-storey Lower Belvedere, with its exotic gardens, was completed in 1716.

An ornate room in the Lower Belvedere.

Fountain that was originally in the Neu Markt in the 1500's.

Moscow Ballet clothing display from 1900 when Diaghilev was the Director with budding tsars such as Nijinski and Pavlova.

It is rather a long walk from the Lower Belvedere up to the Upper Belvedere.

The Upper Belvedere. The Upper Belvedere, completed between 1720 and 1722, is a more substantial building; with sparkling white stucco walls and copper roof it became a wonder of Europe.

It was built by Prince Eugene of Savoy 1663 to 1736 who was not the a member of the Royal family of the Holy Roman Empire rather one of the most accomplished military commanders in the history of Europe and using that success to achieve the highest offices of state at the Imperial court in Vienna.

Ceiling painting of the Marble Hall in the Upper Belvedere by Carlo Carlone

The Baroque gardens between the Lower and Upper Belvedere.

Ornate ceiling in the Upper Belvedere.


Modern art display in one of the rooms. The ceilings here would be at least 10 metres high.

The art collection is varied with Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Pisarro etc. The most visited paintings are those by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The size of this oil on canvas is obvious when you compare the size of the people looking at it.

We walked back down Prinz Eugene Strasse past the War Memorial to our hotel.

Later we went out for dinner. When in Vienna, it is a good idea to eat what the locals eat. here are our meals below - Pork hock with sauerkraut and dumplings and Wienerschnitzel.
Pork Hock


Imperial Hotel at night

The Konzerthaus at night

On Saturday 13 September, we joined a walking tour of the old town. it was supposed to be an English tour but as we were small in number it was a German/English walking tour.
The oldest building in Vienna, St Ruperecht Church nearly 1000 years old.

Salt Lane. The salt came down the Danube from Salzburg salt mines and the ships were required to tie up here and sell the salt at a special price before they were allowed to sail on to other cities.
This map shows the old town at this point before WW2. Gestapo HQ was on this bank of the Danube and the Soviet Army shelled the city from the other side. Houses along the river were destroyed.

Old Town

Oldest traffic sign. It says be careful and walk your horses with someone going ahead. See the narrowness of the street in the photo below.
Very old and narrow street

Greek Orthodox Church

Oldest tavern 1436 and run continuously as a tavern.
Gateway to the city branch of the Cistercian Holy Cross Abbey famous for their Gregorian Chants

Cistercian Church

Viennese legend of a mythical creature that lived in a well below this building

Jesuit Church as part of the old university.
The altar inside the Jesuit Church
Laneway between buildings in old town

St Stephan's Cathedral
Houses built around a 700 year old tree
Mozart lived in this house with a maid and a cook. The house cost 400 Guilders a year and the maid was paid 10 Guilders a year. Mozart was out of resources when he died so was buried in a mass grave.

Tonight we had a traditional Heurigan (Viennese wine restaurant) dinner with music.

On Sunday 14 September we woke early to Facetime a call to Tony for his birthday. after breakfast we had a city tour with Globus. We ended up having an extended tour as we had to miss parts of the city closed because of the Bike Marathon so we went to the Belvedere Palace once again. Here is a picture taken from the front gate this time.

The front gates showing the coat of arms of Prince Eugene of Savoy
The gardens in front of the Upper Belvedere
Colleen in the picture showing the view from the Upper Belvedere over Vienna

The Albertina Art Gallery in Vienna
The Hofburg Palace, the Winter home of the Habsburgs. The Palace has 1 600 rooms.
Hofburg Palace
Hofburg Palace

Roman ruins in Vienna
Roman ruins in the centre of Vienna. the Romans left in 5 AD


The Pestsaule (English: Plague Column) is located on the Graben, a street in the inner city of Vienna and is one of the most well-known and prominent pieces of sculpture in the city.

In 1679, Vienna was visited by one of the last big plague epidemics. Fleeing the city, Emperor Leopold I vowed to erect a mercy column if the epidemic would end.

St Stephen's Cathedral was consecrated in 1147. The area was bombed by the US on 13 April 1945 two days before the end of the war and a fire destroyed the roof.
The 850 year old front doors of the Cathedral.

In the morning we leave Vienna. We need 50 cents for a toilet stop before we leave Austria then enter Croatia where we stop overnight in Zagreb.

Posted by Kangatraveller 07:07 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

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