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, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. The city lies in the east of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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. Between 2005 and 2010, Vienna was the world's number one destination for international congresses and conventions. It attracts about five million tourists a year.
Geography and climate
Vienna is located in northeastern Austria, at the easternmost extension of the Alps in the Vienna Basin. Vienna lies within a transition of oceanic climate and humid continental climate, and features, according to the Köppen classification, a Cfb (oceanic) climate. The city has warm summers with average high temperatures of 24 to 33 °C, with maximum exceeding 38 °C and lows of around 15 °C. Winters are relatively dry and cold with average temperatures at about freezing point. Spring and autumn are mild.
Districts and enlargement
Vienna is composed of 23 districts (Bezirke). Administrative district offices in Vienna (called Magistratische Bezirksämter) serve functions similar to those in the other states (called Bezirkshauptmannschaften), the officers being subject to the Landeshauptmann (which in Vienna is the mayor); with the exception of the police, which in Vienna is governed by the President of the Police (at the same time one of the nine Directors of Security of Austria), a federal office, directly responsible to the Minister of the Interior. The heart and historical city of Vienna, a large part of today's Innere Stadt, was a fortress surrounded by fields in order to defend itself from potential attackers. Industries are located mostly in the southern and eastern districts. The Innere Stadt is situated away from the main flow of the Danube, but is bounded by the Donaukanal ("Danube canal").
According to the 2011 census, 41.3% of Viennese were Roman Catholics, while 31.6% were of no religion, 11.6% were Muslim, 8.4% were members of an Orthodox denomination, 4.2% were Protestant (mostly Lutheran), and 2.9% were either of other religions or did not reply. Many Roman Catholic churches in central Vienna feature performances of religious or other music, including masses sung to classical music and organ. Some of Vienna's most significant historical buildings are Roman Catholic churches, including the St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom), Karlskirche, Peterskirche, and the Votivkirche.
Music, theatre and opera
Music is one of Vienna's legacies. Musical prodigies including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg have worked there. Art and culture had a long tradition in Vienna, including theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses. Classical concerts are performed at world famous venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra known across the world for the annual widely broadcast "New Year's Day Concert", also the Wiener Konzerthaus.
A number of museums are located in the Museumsquartier (museum quarter), the former Imperial Stalls which were converted into a museum complex in the 1990s. It houses the Museum of Modern Art, commonly known as the MUMOK, the Leopold Museum, the AzW (museum of architecture), additional halls with feature exhibitions, and the Tanzquartier. The Liechtenstein Palace contains much of one of the world's largest private art collections, especially strong in the Baroque. Castle Belvedere, built under Prinz Eugen, has a gallery containing paintings by Gustav Klimt (The Kiss), Egon Schiele, and other painters of the early 20th century, also sculptures by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, and changing exhibitions too. There are a multitude of other museums in Vienna, including the Albertina, the Military History Museum, the Technical Museum, the Burial Museum, the Museum of Art Fakes, the KunstHausWien, the Sigmund Freud Museum, and the Mozarthaus Vienna. The museums on the history of the city, including the former Historical Museum of the City of Vienna on Karlsplatz, the Hermesvilla, the residences and birthplaces of various composers, the Museum of the Romans, and the Vienna Clock Museum, are now gathered together under the group umbrella Vienna Museum. In addition there are museums dedicated to Vienna's individual districts. They provide a record of individual struggles, achievements and tragedy as the city grew and survived two world wars. For readers seeking family histories these are good sources of information.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna, such as the RomanesqueRuprechtskirche and the Baroque Karlskirche. Styles range from classicist buildings to modern architecture. Art Nouveau left many architectural traces in Vienna. The Secession, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station, and the Kirche am Steinhof by Otto Wagner rank among the best known examples of Art Nouveau in the world. Concurrent to the Art Nouveau movement was the Wiener Moderne, during which some architects shunned the use of extraneous adornment. The Hundertwasserhaus by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, designed to counter the clinical look of modern architecture, is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions. Another example of unique architecture is the Wotrubakirche by sculptor Fritz Wotruba. Most buildings in Vienna are relatively low; in early 2006 there were around 100 buildings higher than 40 m. The number of high-rise buildings is kept low by building legislation aimed at preserving green areas and districts designated as world cultural heritage. Strong rules apply to the planning, authorisation and construction of high-rise buildings. Consequently, much of the inner city is a high-rise free zone.
Vienna is the last great capital of the nineteenth-century ball. There are over 200 significant balls per year, some featuring as many as nine live orchestras. Balls are held in the many beautiful palaces in Vienna, with the principal venue being the Hofburg Palace at Heldenplatz. Dancers and opera singers from the Vienna Staatsoper often perform at the openings of the larger balls. A Vienna ball is an all-night cultural attraction. Major Viennese balls generally begin at 9 pm and last until 5 am, although many guests carry on the celebrations into the next day.
Vienna is Austria's main centre of education and home to many universities, professional colleges and gymnasiums (high schools).
Parks and gardens
Vienna possesses many parks. Small parks, known by the Viennese as Beserlparks, are everywhere in the inner city areas. Many of Vienna's famous parks include monuments, such as the Stadtpark with its statue of Johann Strauss II, and the gardens of the baroque palace, where the State Treaty was signed. Vienna's principal park is the Prater which is home to the Riesenrad, a Ferris wheel.
Vienna hosts many different sporting events including the Vienna City Marathon, which attracts more than 10,000 participants every year and normally takes place in May.
Vienna is well known for Wiener Schnitzel, a cutlet of veal (Kalbs Schnitzel) or pork (Schweins Schnitzel) that is pounded flat, coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in clarified butter. Other examples of Viennese cuisine include Tafelspitz (very lean boiled beef), which is traditionally served with Geröstete Erdäpfel (boiled potatoes mashed with a fork and subsequently fried) and horseradish sauce, Apfelkren (a mixture of horseradish, cream and apple) and Schnittlauchsauce (a chives sauce made with mayonnaise and stale bread). Vienna has a long tradition of producing the finest cakes and desserts. These include Apfelstrudel (hot apple strudel), Milchrahmstrudel (milk-cream strudel), Palatschinken (sweet pancakes), and Knödel (dumplings) often filled with fruit such as apricots (Marillenknödel). Sachertorte, a delicately moist chocolate cake with apricot jam created by the Sacher Hotel, is world famous. Sausages are popular and available from street vendors (Würstelstand) throughout the day and into the night.
Vienna, along with Paris, Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and London, is one of the few remaining world capital cities with its own vineyards. The wine is often drunk as a Spritzer ("G'spritzter") with sparkling water. The Grüner Veltliner, a dry white wine, is the most widely cultivated wine in Austria.
Viennese cafés have an extremely long and distinguished history that dates back centuries, and the caffeine addictions of some famous historical patrons of the oldest are something of a local legend. These coffee houses are unique to Vienna and many cities have unsuccessfully sought to copy them. Traditionally, the coffee comes with a glass of water. Viennese cafés claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from booty captured after the second Turkish siege in 1683.
Major tourist attractions include the imperial palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn (also home to the world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn) and the Riesenrad in the Prater. Cultural highlights include the Burgtheater, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Lipizzaner horses at the spanische Hofreitschule, and the Vienna Boys' Choir, as well as excursions to Vienna's Heurigen district Döbling. There are also more than 100 art museums, which together attract over eight million visitors per year. The most popular ones are Albertina, Belvedere, Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier, KunstHausWien, BA-CA Kunstforum, the twin Kunsthistorisches Museum and Naturhistorisches Museum, and the Technisches Museum Wien, each of which receives over a quarter of a million visitors per year. Vienna's many churches also draw large crowds, famous of which are St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Deutschordenskirche, the Jesuitenkirche, the Karlskirche, the Peterskirche, Maria am Gestade, the Minoritenkirche, the Ruprechtskirche, the Schottenkirche, St. Ulrich and the Votivkirche.
Vienna has an extensive transportation network with a unified fare system that integrates municipal, regional and railway systems under the umbrella of the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR). Public transport is provided by buses, trams and 5 underground metro lines (U-Bahn). Trains are operated by the ÖBB. Vienna has multiple road connections including motorways. Vienna is served by Vienna International Airport, located 18 km (11 mi) southeast of the city centre next to the town of Schwechat.
International organisations in Vienna
Vienna is the seat of a number of United Nations offices and various international institutions and companies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Various special diplomatic meetings have been held in Vienna in the latter half of the 20th century, resulting in various documents bearing the name Vienna Convention or Vienna Document. Among the more important documents negotiated in Vienna are the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, as well as the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
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* “Vienna” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Jan. 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna