Vienna as seen from Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
It was in Vienna – inspirer of the famous "Viennese waltzes" – that in August 1889, Johann
Strauss II wrote the one that the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, on the occasion of his visit to
Germany, gave to the German Kaiser Wilhelm II as a "toast of friendship“ from Austria to
Originally called "Mano a mano" (Hand in Hand), later the composition was named
It’s also in the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens that are offered grandiose spectacles with the music of
Johann Strauss II played by worldwide famous orchestras.
Johann Strauss II, one of the illustrious sons of Austria and great composer of the Romantic
Age, was responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the nineteenth century.
This monument in his honor is located at the entrance of City Park - Stadtpark.
Vienna - the rosy capital, homeland not only of Strauss and Mozart, Haydn, Schubert,
Mahler, etc.. - is all music and romanticism, seeming to extend the sides of Burgtheater
to welcome its visitors with open arms.
But the beauty of the city is not solely made of its music - the building where the City Hall of Vienna
is installed - Rathaus - is an example of one of the most beautiful architecture in the city.
And it is hard to say when the building is more admirable - if under sunlight or when night
falls and artificial lighting highlights each of its marvelous architectural details.
Since Vienna has been the birth place of the Great Music since the great names that sparkled
across Europe and then the rest of civilization, the stage of its Opera House remains one of the
most coveted in the world of musical art.
Playing on the stage of the Vienna State Opera is always a coronation for the career of
any artist, company or orchestra.
A Night at the Vienna State Opera is not only a feast for music lovers as well
as an opportunity for foreigners to appreciate how elegant are the Viennese.
The Opera’s events rooms are other of the refined ambiences of Vienna where the
society displays its entire splendor.
Vienna yearly promotes hundreds of balls but the most famous is the Opera Ball which, as
might be expected, takes place in the magnificent hall of the State Opera, and is considered
a social event of the highest level, attracting celebrities from all over the world.
The Wiener Musikverein, commonly abbreviated to Musikverein, is a concert
hall and home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Another important annual event takes place at the hall of the Wiener Musikverein: the
Vienna Philharmonic Ball.
Since 1981, every year from the end of June to mid-July takes place the Jazz in Vienna festival, in
its Ancient Roman Theatre, a historic monument built in the first century
of Christian era where is now Vienna.
Schönbrunn Palace, one of the major historical and cultural monuments in Austria, was built
between 1638 and 1643, and severely damaged during the second Turkish siege of Vienna. The
reconstruction and expansion to its current form was in made in 1743, under Empress Maria Theresa.
Visiting the interior of Schönbrunn is like walking into a fairy tale...
Gloriette of the Baroque palace (Schönbrunn) that was the summer residence of the Austrian Imperial
family since the mid-eighteenth century until the end of World War II, also being a cultural and political
center of the Habsburg empire. Here lived until her marriage to the future Emperor of Brazil D. Pedro I, the
Archduchess Leopoldina of Habsburg, who had such a great role in the independence of Brazil.
The complex Belvedere composed by two palaces – upper and lower – and gardens, built for
Prince Eugene of Savoy – general, philosopher and art lover.
It's so much beauty in artistic painting as well as in architectural decoration that we cannot
highlight one among all. I opted for the one which is called Earthly Hall, where the sculptures are
the main feature - beautiful, like all the others of the Palace.
Gardens link the upper palace to the lower with motifs defined in a gentle gradient and they include
decorative fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures and majestic wrought iron gates.
The main gate to the Upper Belvedere, with coats of arms of the Princes of
Savoy supported by lions.
The Upper Palace, Baroque, houses the world's largest collection of the Austrian Gustav Klimt including the legendary painting The Kiss - and also other works by Schiele and Kokoschka,
both also Austrian.
Sumptuous as a palace is the Parliament building of Vienna.
With the end of the Empires of which Austria was a part, the political regime of the country changed
to Parliamentary Republic. This building of neoclassical facade, from the early twentieth century,
today houses four ministries.
Minoritenkirche - founded in 1275, it is one of the first Gothic churches of Austria, where
there is a copy of the famous Milanese mosaic mural by Leonardo da Vinci - "The Last Supper".
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, an example of architecture of the twelfth century, was renovated in
Gothic style between 1304 and 1433, while its interior has acquired a baroque tendency. Its famous
bell, "Pummerin", weighing not less than 21 tons, suffered considerable damage in World War II.
The Votive Church,
on the Gothic of the
Cathedral of Cologne,
was built in the late
nineteenth century in
appreciation for the
of the Emperor
Francis Joseph after
Churches, all of them bear artistically rich interiors, but the one of St. Peter's Church, which is near
the central Graben street, is considered even more divine and impressive for those who pay a visit.
Another of the important churches of the city - St. Francis of Assisi’s - lies on the banks of the
Danube, that becomes really blue at the magic hour of the sunset in Vienna.
In everyday Vienna, Graben is a pulsing shopping street at the heart of city center where is a
famous column. The street has Roman origin and is surrounded by typical style places,
elegant tradition and gourmet pleasures.
Grabenstraße – This, the Graben, is one of the streets showing us that the majestic
beauty of Vienna goes beyond its palaces and castles...
“Pestsäule” – Column of the
Plague - it was the payment of
a promise by Emperor
Leopold, who prayed for the
end of the plague epidemic of
1679, which claimed about
The sculpture is composed of
angels, figures representing
faith, a praying emperor, and it
is crowned by the Holy Trinity
sitting on a cloud.
Although Vienna is permeated with flower gardens that would deserve a compilation
with only this kind of beauty, one cannot walk by the busy streets of the city without find
a well cared flower shop on the sidewalk.
Kohlmarkt – street of great luxury in Vienna, begins in St. Michael's Square and
displays a high density of jewelers and international brands stores.
It is on Kohlmarkt Street the most famous pastry shop in Vienna - the Café Demel, in which the
halls are always full of visitors to taste the sweet temptations and the special coffee with cream.
Also in the central part of the city lies the Hotel Sacher, famous due to the luxury, the elegance and
the sophistication of its physical structure and high standard of services, while its very famous
Sachertorte constitutes one of the greatest gustatory pleasures that one can find in Vienna.
Restaurant Steirereck, in Stadtpark, is on the list of the 5 best restaurants in Vienna
and also on that one that elected the top 50 worldwide.
Vienna still preserves the medieval Grinzing - today a neighborhood far from the city - with its
houses called Heurigen (traditional cafes with live music - folk in general - serving wine and grape
juice), since long a big attraction for tourists.
In the Grinzing’s village-cemetery are buried Gustav Mahler and his widow, Alma Mahler-Werfel.
"Wheels of pleasure", with chairs suspended from large wooden rings and driven by strong men,
may have originated in Bulgaria in the seventeenth century. Wiener Riesenrad in Prater Park,
was built in 1897, 65m tall, for the Golden Jubilee of Franz Josef I of Austria. Damaged during
the First World War, it was rebuilt with 15 cabins.
Ankeruhr is a large clock and music box that links two buildings in the center of Vienna, and reveals
itself as one of the most outstanding works of Art Nouveau. It's a popular tourist attraction because it
shows historical figures at every full hour - Marcus Aurelius, Haydn, Maria Theresa, and others.
But Vienna, cosmopolitan city that it is, besides all its tradition, is also adapted to the
technologies of contemporary life, with modern bridges, freeways, wide avenues and
buildings of bold architecture.
Not only Vienna but the Danube itself was modernized, now framed by the city’s fey lighting, and the
walkway of illuminated private and tour boats, and even the refinement of the new glazed restaurant
from where much of the beauty of the river and the city is unveiled.
Today, the youth brings to the banks of Danube a relaxed coexistence that is slowly replacing
the excessive formalism so characteristic in the European continent. The change is for better
or worse? I bet on a tie.
Contrast seems to be a feature of modern life: the very traditional Vienna Opera, continent
of the purest nutriment for the soul - the music, here as background for an activity related
to physical culture.
Indeed young people have discovered how to enjoy the city in innovative ways and even have brought
to the Danube their sailing colors. However, as with most of European youth, they enjoy also - and a
lot - all of the cultural improvement which is provided by museums.
This breathtaking Art Complex, near the Imperial Palace, comprises renowned museums such as
Leopold Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and also a lively variety of restaurants, cafes and
bars that make the neighborhood one of the best meeting places in the city. .. and beyond.
MuseumsQuartier – is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. The area has originated
from the stables of the Hofburg Imperial Palace and, besides being home to museums, houses
different segments towards Art in general and socio-cultural conviviality.
MUMOK "MUseum MOderner Kunst" – is another museum located in the MuseumsQuartier.
The Mumok has a collection of 7,000 works of modern and contemporary art, including major works
by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, and many others.
The Leopold Museum, located at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, is houses one of the largest
collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar
Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl. It contains the largest collection of Egon Schiele in the world.
that since the late
nineteenth century is one
of the main meeting
places for the Viennese
intellectuals. It's housed
in the Palais Ferstel, one
of the most beautiful
buildings in the city.
Besides Austrian literary
personalities of that time,
in the early twentieth
century were its
Sigmund Freud, Adolf
Hitler, Vladimir Lenin e
This photo appears also to illustrate the list of the world's 10 best cities to live in,
Vienna holding the 2nd place.
Images: all from internet, with credits
Songs : The Emperor Waltz
by Johann Strauss
with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Creation, research, compilation and formatting:
Delza Dias Ferreira
English version: Flavio M. de Freitas Guimarães
Webmaster and revision – Claudia Ricci
São Paulo – 2013