02th of january – 06th of january 2014: We went from Munich to Vienna with the bus (and a part of the trip with train). We started the tour in the Schloss Schönbrunn (http://www.schoenbrunn.at/en.html). This is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna. 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.
After we left the Castle, we went to see the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s most popular market. Located at the Wienzeile over the Wien River, it is about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long. Near the market you can find the Majolikahaus. This apartment building in Vienna was designed by Austrian architect Otto Wagner at the turn of the 20th century. The building’s façade is covered in ceramic tiles, known as majolika, in the form a floral pattern. The building is an excellent example of the Secession style, the Viennese version of Art Nouveau.
We also saw the Wiener Staatsoper which is an opera house – and opera company – with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the centre of Vienna. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera (Wiener Hofoper). In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Republic of Austria, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra. Later on, we walked around the Schmetterlinghaus (http://www.schmetterlinghaus.at/) considered one of the most beautiful art nouveau structures of its kind in the world. Since 1998, the building, more than 3,000 square feet in area, towers over the garden of the Imperial Palace; it houses hundreds of free-flying tropical butterflies in a re-creation of their natural environment. The temperature is 27°C and the humidity 80%.
In the Museumsquartier (http://www.mqw.at/) we walked in the Maria-Theresien-Platz, where you can see two near identical buildings facing each other from the sides of the square: the Naturhistoriches Museum (Natural History Museum) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). The buildings are near identical, except for the statuary on their façades. The Naturhistorisches’ façade has statues depicting personifications of the various continents known to Austrian science at the time—Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The Kunsthistorisches (http://www.khm.at/en/explore/angebote/renting-the-museum/neue-burg/) façade features famous European artists, such as the Dutch Bruegel, among others.
Continuing our search, we found the Parliament building, created by Theophil Hansen, constructed from 1873 to 1883 in the style of the Greek Revival. He also created the Pallas Athena Fountain in front of it; this 15-foot figure of the Greek goddess of wisdom is by Karl Kundmann.
Not that far, there is the Rathaus, a building in Vienna which serves as the seat both of the mayor and city council. The town hall also serves, in personal union, as Governor and Assembly (Landtag) of the State of Vienna, a state with the Austrian federal system. And I must say it is one of the most beautiful Rathaus I have ever seen.
On the second day in Vienna, we started our trip going to the Belvedere (http://www.belvedere.at/de). The Belvedere is a historic building complex, 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, where there is the famous painting “Der Kuss” from Gustav Klimt and other works of him. 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.
Our next stop was the Prater, a large public park in Vienna’s 2nd district (Leopoldstadt). The Wurstelprater amusement park, often simply called “Prater”, stands in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the Wiener Riesenrad (http://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/prater). Because of the cold we didn’t enjoy it so much, I certainly recommend going on Summer. After we saw the Vienna International Centre, which has been home to numerous international organizations since 23 August 1979. On daily guided tours, visitors can learn about the work of the United Nations and experience the Vienna International Centre’s striking architecture and vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere of the VIC (http://www.unvienna.org/). Near the centre there is the Donaupark (http://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/parks/anlagen/donaupark.html).
On the third day in Vienna we just went to the centre at night and luckily there was a free organ concert in the Peterskirche, a Baroque Roman Catholic parish church. It was transferred in 1970 by the Archbishop of Vienna Franz Cardinal König to the priests of the Opus Dei. The rest of the day we spent in Bratislava.
On our last day, we started the tour in the centre again with the Hotel Sacher, a five-star hotel located in the Innere Stadt first district of Vienna, next to the Vienna State Opera. It is famous for the specialty of the house, the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot filling. There is also an art gallery in the hotel with works from the 19th century. The hotel is built near the former residence of Antonio Vivaldi. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival and Vivaldi himself died less than a year later. Though Vivaldi’s music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers, second only to Johann Sebastian Bach. Another famous composer who lived in Vienna was Mozart, and you can visit his house there (http://www.mozarthausvienna.at/en/).
Near the Hotel there is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral (German: Stephansdom), the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Austria’s capital, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in that nation’s history and has, with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city’s most recognizable symbols. In front of the church there are some horses and you can do a tour through Vienna with them (http://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/fiaker-horse-drawn-carriage).
We walked a bit and found The Schwarzenbergplatz, one of the most important squares in central Vienna, connecting the Ringstrasse with the Zweierlinie, a parallel road that was historically the practical, “non-representative” street that provided supplies and transportation to the palatial buildings on the Ring. The Schwarzenbergplatz is named after the Palais Schwarzenberg of the family of Bohemian noblemen, which holds the most prominent location on the square. Unfortunately, the Schwarzenbergplatz shares a fate with nearby Karlsplatz: Traffic, traffic and more traffic make it rather unattractive.
One prominent feature of the square is the Hochstrahlbrunnen, a large fountain that looks like a geyser with pseudo-natural rocks in a circular pool. Sandwiched between the Palais Schwarzenberg and the Hochstrahlbrunnen, you find the Soviet memorial “Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee” – its shape and array corresponds with both, Palais and fountain. However, the Hochstrahlbrunnen is much older (http://www.tourmycountry.com/austria/hochstrahlbrunnen-fountain.htm).
We waited our tram there and head to the Wiener Zentralfriedhof, one of the largest cemeteries in the world, largest by number of interred in Europe and most famous cemetery among Vienna’s nearly 50 cemeteries. There we saw Beethoven´s grave, Schubert´s grave, Brahms´grave and other special graves. To finish our trip we decided to see the The Hundertwasserhaus, which is an apartment house in Vienna, built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (http://www.hundertwasser.at/index_en.php) with architect Joseph Krawina as a co-author. This expressionist landmark of Vienna is located in the Landstrasse district on the corner of Kegelgasse and Löwengasse.
Blogs to help your trip: http://www.viaggio-mondo.com/2011/01/roteiro-em-viena-parte-2-ao-som-do.html; http://blogdalastro.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/viena-prepare-se-pra-perder-o-folego-por-jessica-kruckenfellner/; http://aviagemcomecaaqui.blogspot.com.br/2012/02/viena-bela-austria.html; http://cadernosdeviagem.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/um-roteiro-de-viagem-por-budapeste-viena-e-praga-o-relato-do-joao/; http://viagemeuropaleste.wordpress.com/; http://www.malapronta.com.br/blog/2011/11/16/conheca-viena-na-austria/; http://viciosdeviagem.com/2013/02/austria-classica-viena.html; http://colunas.revistaepoca.globo.com/viajologia/2012/08/28/berlim-viena/; http://viajeaqui.abril.com.br/blog/achados/viena-o-que-fazer-em-1-2-3-ou-4-dias/; http://www.viajenaviagem.com/category/viena/; http://ourviewfromwien.blogspot.de/p/other-vienna-blogs.html
>>Movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcMCd520Ae8 The three Musketeers (1993)
I haven’t seen the movie, but I hope it is good: http://www.hollywoodinvienna.com/
>> *Where we stayed: http://www.viennacityhostel.at/