Vienna monumets

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Chateau Schonbrunn

Chateau Schonbrunn

Schönbrunn Palace together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park is by virtue of its long and colourful history one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Scheduled as a listed monument, the whole ensemble, including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural features, fountains and statues and not least the zoo – the oldest of its kind in the world – was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1996.

In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty since Maximilian II, the palace passed to the ownership of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918 and was subsequently administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn. In 1992 the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (SKB) was founded and entrusted with the administration of the palace as a modern, limited-liability company. The duties of the SKB include the exploitation of its many resources in fulfilling its role as a cultural and touristic amenity as well as the obligation to conserve and revitalise this unique historical and art-historical gem. As its primary duties, preservation and restoration have to be financed by the SKB from its own resources without recourse to state subsidies.

The park at Schönbrunn Palace was opened to the public around 1779 and since than has provided a popular recreational area for the Viennese population and international visitors alike. Extending for 1.2 km from east to west and approximately one kilometre from north to south, it was placed together with the palace on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1996.

The palace and its grounds form a unit and reflect each other, in correspondance with the Baroque notion of the princely palace, according to which architecture and Nature should interpenetrate. The Baroque layout of the gardens, together with the additions made during the last decade of Maria Theresa's life, have survived more or less intact and today still determine the characteristic appearance of the gardens at Schönbrunn.

 

Hofburg

Hofburg

For more than seven centuries, the great empire of the Habsburgs was ruled from the Imperial Palace. Today, the Gothic Imperial Chapel, where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs during High Mass on Sunday, is a remnant of the Imperial Palace during the Middle Ages.

In the center of the old city, you can admire the splendor and magnificence of the daily life of the noblest family of the Habsburg monarchy when you visit the private apartments and state rooms. Numerous museums and collections represent the imperial family’s passion for art.

The Imperial Palace, which until 1918 was inhabited by the imperial family, was originally a castle built in the thirteenth century, which was extended to a splendid residence in accordance with the increasing power of the Habsburgs and the expansion of their realm.

Today, the Imperial Palace houses the office of the President of Austria as well as an important congress center and numerous art collections.

 

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Austria's most eminent Gothic edifice, houses a wealth of art treasures, some of which can only be seen during a guided tour:

The red-marble sepulcher of Emperor Frederick III, sculpted from 1467 to 1513 by Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden; the pulpit, a work from 1514-15 by Anton Pilgram (who put his own relief portrait underneath it as his signature); the Altarpiece of Wiener Neustadt (Wiener Neustädter Altar), a Gothic winged altar from 1447 - and the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy, dating from 1754.

Tipp: climb the 343 steps to the tower-keeper's room of St. Stephen's and enjoy a breathtaking view...

 

The Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera is one of the premier opera addresses in the world – where you can enjoy a great variety of operas on the highest artistic level. Because after all, the program at the renowned stage changes every day: with more than 60 operas and ballet works on 285 days for the 2008-09 season - this density of performances puts the Vienna State Opera in the first tier among opera houses.

Top international soloists, directors and stage designers greatly enjoy presenting their art to knowledgeable and discerning Viennese audiences. And the roster of directors of the august house on Vienna’s Ring Boulevard contains a number of eminent musicians such as Gustav Mahler (1897 - 1907), Richard Strauss (1919 - 1924), Herbert von Karajan (1956 - 1964) and Claudio Abbado (1986 - 1991).

The repertory of the Vienna State Opera offers an impressive cross-section of the entire range of operas – among the works are Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco,” W. A. Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” and Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin.”

In the 2008-09 season, aside from the four premieres with star-studded casts, the program includes the formidable project of staging the "Ring of the Nibelungen" under Franz Welser-Möst, directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, will be brought to a close with "Götterdämmerung" and "Rheingold"; in Charles Gounod's "Faust," Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna will be starring together; there will be a staging of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece "Eugene Onegin."

The building itself was erected between 1863 and 1869 as one of the first great monuments of the new Ring Boulevard. The Royal-Imperial Court Opera Theater, as it was first called, was designed by the architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.

Once a year, the stage and orchestra stalls of the Vienna State Opera turn into a giant dance floor – for the Vienna Opera Ball. More than a hundred debutante couples in long evening dress and tailcoats open the ball in the presence of the Austrian Federal President; once more, one can feel the ambiance of the Vienna of the great Ring Boulevard era ...

By the way: during guided tours, you can get an impression of the workings of this splendid opera house.

The Vienna State Opera Museum lends an insight into the history of this institution and casts opera lovers under its spell.

 

Parliament & Palais Epstein

Parliament & Palais Epstein

Theophil Hansen created the parliament building, 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.

Until 1918, the elected representatives serving in the Council of the Empire met here in legislative session for the Austrian half of the dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy which extended from Galicia (now Polish and Ukrainian territory) all the way to Dalmatia (the Adriatic coast of modern-day Croatia).

Palais Epstein
The Palais Epstein, located right next to Parliament, is one of the most important palaces on Vienna’s Ring Boulevard and, like the Parliament, was also designed by Theophil Hansen. Since the fall of 2005 it has been used for parliamentary purposes. There is a small permanent exhibition on the ground floor on the changing history of the palace and the Epstein family, as well as the contribution of Viennese Jewry to the architecture around the year 1900.

Historical Personalities
In modern Austria, this is the seat of both the National Council, the lower house of Austria's bicameral parliament whose representatives are elected by popular vote, and the Federal Council, whose members are chosen by the various states to serve in the upper house.To the left of Parliament is the Monument of the Republic, with statues of the prominent Social Democrats Jakob Reumann (mayor of Vienna from 1919 to 1923), Viktor Adler (one of the ideological fathers of the Austrian republic and its foreign minister in 1918) and Ferdinand Hanusch (minister of social affairs from 1918 to 1920).

To the right of Parliament is the Renner Memorial, dedicated to Dr. Karl Renner, Austria's chancellor at the establishment of the republic in 1918 and at its re-establishment in 1945 and president from 1945 to 1950.

 

National Theater - Burgtheater

National Theater - Burgtheater

The theater was built from 1874 to 1888 according to designs by Gottfried Semper and Karl von Hasenauer.

Ever since 1776, when Emperor Joseph II founded the Court and National Theater, the institution preceding the present-day Burgtheater, this theater, with its distinguished company, has held a leading position in the dramatic arts of the German-speaking countries.

 

Belveder

Belveder

See Gustav Klimt's legendary painting “The Kiss” as well as major works by Schiele und Kokoschka for yourself. You’ll be delighted by the magnificent ba-roque palace complex and its extensive gardens.

Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), successful general and art connoisseur, had Belve-dere garden palace built by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt as his summer residence – at the time it was still outside the gates of the city.

This baroque architectural jewel consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), which today house Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Upper Belvedere - world's largest Klimt collection

At the heart of the collections at the Belvedere are the works of Gustav Klimt with his golden paintings “The Kiss” and “Judith”. The masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka as well as works of French Impressionism and highlights of the Vienna Biedermeier era (Waldmüller, Amerling, Fendi) that you will see here are every bit as impressive as the paintings of Makart, Boeckl, Wotruba, Hausner, Hundertwasser and others.

Masterworks of late Gothic art like the Znaim Altar, works by Michael Pacher, Rueland Frueauf the Elder and Conrad Laib are also on display here, along with lavish works of art dating from the baroque age. Significant works by Johann Michael Rottmayr, Daniel Gran and Paul Troger give a fascinating insight into the wealth of these times. The grimacing character heads by the sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt are also very emotive.

 

Hundertwasserhaus

Hundertwasserhaus

Colorful areas, irregular forms, many grown over with lush green plants: this is how painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000) encouraged new impulses – and not only to Vienna’s architecture. He also created an exhibition center offering a permanent exhibition of Hundertwasser’s works as well as changing exhibitions of exciting contemporary art.

Hundertwasser had bought the former bentwood factory Thonet and remodeled it in his own characteristic style. Today, irregular elements of glass, metal, bricks, wood and ceramic tiles in many colors give a unique character to the formerly inconspicuous building. Opened in 1991, KunstHausWien houses a permanent Hundertwasser exhibition on two floors and two additional floors are devoted to changing exhibitions. On the ground floor, there is a café-restaurant and a shop.

Tipp:
Not far from KunstHaus, you will find the so-called "Hundertwasser-Haus," Vienna's most original public housing complex. And with the beautification of the district heating system Spittelau (which can be seen very well during a cruise on the Danube Canal), Hundertwasser has created a very special monument to himself.

 

Prater

Prater

The Vienna Prater is entertaining and exciting, but it can also be relaxing and quiet. One part of it contains attractions ranging from a nostalgic merry-go-round to an ultra-modern roller coaster. In the other area, known as the “Green Prater,” one finds widespread meadows to lie on, shady trees, and quiet paths. The motto is to have fun and enjoy yourself ...

About 250 attractions entertain you at the Vienna Prater, from casino automats to auto-drome rinks, ball toss and shooting booths, exciting roller coasters and ghost trains to flight simulators.

Children especially enjoy merry-go-rounds, Punch and Judy Shows, the old Viennese grotto train and much more. This varied entertainment program is complemented by more than sixty cafés and restaurants, and ice cream and snack stands. The Viennese call this part of the Prater the "Wurstelprater" (literally: Clown’s Prater, the equivalent of an old-fashioned amusement park). 

Excursion destination "Green Prater" 

Right next to the amusement park area, one finds the "Green Prater" – the spacious forest and meadow area which was once an imperial hunting ground and was opened by Emperor Joseph II to the public. As a consequence, the first coffeehouses and restaurants opened their doors.

Today, the Green Prater is a paradise for walkers, runners, bicyclists and horseback riders, and is highly appreciated as a large leisure area within the city limits. To get an overview of this green oasis in the city of Vienna, one best takes the Liliputbahn, a miniature railway spanning more than three miles.