Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where to go in Vienna

Vienna is a great and beautiful city with lots of places to see, amazing architecture and if you love nature as I do, it is the place to go. I will give you the places I visited and loved.

Maria Theresa Monument Vienna

This monument is a huge memorial for Maria Theresa, who governed for 40 years, 1740 - 1780. The monument shows her greeting the people of Austria while holding the Pragmatische Sanktion and a scepter. This symbolism is important as the Pragmatische Sanktion confirmed the succession of females to the throne to protect the Hapsburg line. The monument also has four horsemen representing her generals. It was revealed 100 years after her death in the presence of Empress Sissi.
The monument is classified as a World Cultural Heritage. 
Around the Platz you can see four fountains that were added in 1890.

The Opera House

Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph celebrated the opening of the opera house in May 1869 with a performance of Don Juan by Mozart.  Initially very successful, the opera house fell on bad times during WWII. After the Nazi takeover, many performances were prohibited and ensemble members were chased away or murdered.
Toward the end of the war, a bomb heavily damaged the building in 1945. Ten years after the war, reconstruction was finished and a glamorous performance of Beethoven's Fidelio celebrated the re-opening of the famous Opera House.

The only surviving elements of the original building were the front, in the original Renaissance arch style, the main entrance, grand stair case, and the Schwind-Foyer. Also the tea salon, originally only for visitors from the imperial court,  is used for important events like state visits during the breaks in performances.

The Burggarten Vienna Garden

This garden is a beautiful place to visit.  Ludwig Gabriel Von Remy and the Emperor's court gardener Franz Antoine were the architects; however, Emperor Franz Joseph, an educated gardener, selected new types of plants from all over the world. Later, the layout was adapted to the style of an English garden and a pond was added, it is beautiful.

Finally opened to the public in the year 1919, garden and its statues of Mozart, Emperor Franz Joseph,  and a new Palm House; it was a huge success.The Palm House is a 2000 square meter greenhouse into which the Emperor brought nature in to the center of Vienna.

 The Vienna Parliament Building

Built in a Greek- Roman style with a statue of Pallas Athene in front, this building is a must see for your trip to Vienna. Construction began in 1874 and was completed in 9 years under the supervision of architect Theophil Hansen. It is the home of the Austrian National and Federal Councils.

Recognizing Greece's role as the cradle of democracy,  Hansen created a Viennese temple to democracy in Austria. Take the time to tour inside the building, you will feel as if you are in a monument on the outcroppings of Greece itself.

The Viennese Stephansdom

Saint Stephan is in the heart of Vienna and was consecrated in 1147. Along the way, architects were constantly redesigning and adding structural extensions. As a result this amazing building is an example of late Romanesque and Baroque styles. Even 300 years later the north tower's construction began.

The cathedral with stood the Turkish Sieges, fires and wars for more than 800 years until the last 2 weeks of the World War II when it was burned to the ground. However it was reconstructed and opened within 7 years of the end of the War, making it a symbol for the reconstruction of Austria.
Do not know if you can see on the picture the roof of the Cathedral, it is amazing!

The Graben Vienna

If you go nowhere else, the Graben Vienna is a must visit location! It has wonderful shops and cafes; and lots of happy Viennese milling about. It is in the heart of the inner city, surrounded by popular alleys, streets and hidden little places. You will find a mix of shopping from elegant traditional items to gourmet pleasures.

Created at around 1220, when duke Leopold VI expanded the town and filled in the old Roman moat.
Most of the buildings on Graben date back to the early 19th century, when the street was widened.
I enjoyed walking on the street early evening, after supper when the young Austrian come out to play. The lights add a festive mood and it is ideal for a leisurely stroll.

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