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Vienna - "Something Old, Something New"

Austria's capital, which combines imperial tradition with modern creativity, has attained an important place on the world marketplace of tourism. In 2001, Vienna's 1.6 million inhabitants welcomed 3.3 million visitors, who spent 7.7 million nights in the city. Most of them were attracted by Vienna's rich musical life and its art treasures. The largest percentage of visitors came from outside of Austria (6.4 million overnight stays in 2001). Thus, Vienna now ranks high among European cities as a tourist destination. Vienna also ranks among the first four cities in the world as an international conference destination.

Vienna is not only the capital of Austria, but also one of its nine federal states. St. Stephen's Cathedral, considered the center of the city by its inhabitants, is located 16o 22' 27'' east of Greenwich at 48o 12' 32'' northern latitude, and 171 meters above sea level. The city spreads over 415 square kilometers and is divided into 23 districts; almost half of the city is covered by parks - Vienna has more parks than any other European capital. There are not only "city greens," such as the Stadtpark (with the most photographed object in the city, the golden Johann Strauss monument), the woods and meadows of the Prater, the spacious Schönbrunn Palace Park, but also the Vienna Woods, vineyards and farmland as well as the expansive river banks of the legendary Danube. During summer, the temperature rarely rises above 30o C, during the winter it hardly ever falls below - 5o C.

From Roman Camp to Capital of the Republic

Vienna's history goes back to the first century, when the Romans founded the military camp Vindobona. In 1137, the city of Vienna was first mentioned in documents, and around 1155 the Dukes of Babenberg chose it as their residence; from 1282 on, the Habsburgs reigned there for more than six centuries. Today's cityscape is dominated by the Baroque, which for the main part originated during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia. Emperor Franz Joseph I also put his imprint on the city when he leveled the city walls in 1857 and saw to it that the splendid Ringstrasse boulevard was built. After 68 years as emperor, he died during World War I, and in 1918 Vienna became the capital of the Republic of Austria. After the so-called "Anschluss" of Austria to Hitler's Germany, Vienna was designated a "Reichsgau" (an administrative district of the Third Reich during the Nazi period) in 1938; after 1945, it once again became the capital of the republic. Since 1967, the city has been one of only three United Nations cities (in addition to New York and Geneva) and in 1995 it became one of 15 capitals of the European Union.

Imperial Romance and World-Class Art

Tourists are eager to visit Vienna because of the city's exciting combination of the royal-imperial flair of the past with the latest trends, the responsible cultivation of a precious heritage and charming traditions. The Habsburg architecture is a suitable setting for this image: magnificent buildings dating back to the baroque, to historicism (the so-called "Ringstrassen Style") and to art nouveau as well as the opulent lay-out of the city make one forget that this is the capital of the small Republic of Austria with only 8 million inhabitants. - In Vienna, one still revels in the romantic center of a long-lost empire.
But much more than old buildings turn Vienna into a city of beauty: one also finds excellent museums, fine art collections and world-renowned works of art in the city. The Museum of Fine Arts offers the world's largest collection of paintings by Bruegel, many works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele are exhibited in the Austrian Gallery at Belvedere and in the Leopold-Museum in the new Museumsquartier.
Since 2001, Vienna offers this new cultural attraction of international standing: the MuseumsQuartier Wien in the center of the city, next to two renowned museums. Covering 45,000 square meters it is an architecturally fascinating combination of a baroque building (the former Imperial Stables) with future-oriented design of the architects Ortner&Ortner. With 60,000 square meters usable floor space on eight different levels, it is one of the ten largest cultural centers in the world, offering a unique combination of events. Among the highlights are the already mentioned Leopold Museum with the largest collection of Schiele paintings in the world and works of such renowned modern Austrian artists as Klimt, Kokoschka and Gerst, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tobacco Museum, the Vienna Architecture Center, and the Kunsthalle Wien). Two festival halls (with 1,000 respectively 300 seats) are used by such prominent institutions as the Vienna Festival, the International Dance Weeks and the film festival Viennale. The Children's Museum, an Information Center for youngsters and a number of attractive restaurants, cafés and shops complement the rich array of cultural events.

City of Music with Lifestyles from Gemütlich to Trendy

The high value placed on art in Vienna traditionally fostered creativity by its citizens, and attracted artists from other countries. Vienna boasts 50 theaters, including three opera houses and two theaters staging musicals, 100 museums, as well as renowned drama, music and dance festivals. In addition, outstanding exhibitions are shown all year long. This means that an extraordinarily rich cultural program is available throughout the year, which makes Vienna one of the leading cultural centers of Europe. This eminence is fostered by a pleasant interaction between skilled cultural managers and comparatively high subsidies for leisure and culture.
Vienna, as a city of music, enjoys a paramount reputation around the world. No other city has been home to so many composers of international renown: some, such as Schubert, Strauss, Schoenberg and Berg were born there, others, such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler chose to live there. The Wiener Philharmoniker is one of the world's best orchestras, and the Vienna Symphony and several other orchestras and groups are not far behind. The Vienna State Opera is one of the finest opera houses anywhere, and the city is home to two additional opera houses. The Vienna Boys' Choir enchants music lovers around the world. In addition to classical music, Vienna has also made its mark as a city of musicals, and recent successes in electronic music show that avant-garde music is also taken seriously in Vienna. A very special way to enjoy music is presented at the House of Music - a unique high-tech adventure journey into the phenomenon of music - where sounds will become visible, organ pipes may be walked on and visitors can be turned into virtual conductors or composers, all on an area of 2000 square meters.

Lifestyle: Royal-Imperial Nostalgia and New Trends

This juxtaposition of such traditional gems as coffeehouses and Heurigen, which demonstrate Vienna's ability to enjoy life in a relaxed atmosphere, and ultra-modern events such as the Life Ball and the Festival for Electronic Music, conveys a lifestyle that is attractive to the modern tourist: an array from which he or she may choose according to his or her mood, a choice between relaxation and serenity or action and stimulation.
Around the Naschmarkt, Vienna's multi-national fruit and vegetable market - every Saturday, a Flea Market next to it adds a special flair - an extraordinarily diverse gastronomic scene has developed over the past years. Mariahilfer Strasse - the direct link between the historic old city and Vienna's most popular sightseeing attraction, Schönbrunn Palace - has been transformed into an attractive Shopping Mile since the completion of the Underground line U 3. During the summer, Viennese and tourists alike visit not only the Prater with its Riesenrad (Giant Ferris Wheel), but also the Copa Cagrana on Danube Island - which boasts Europe's largest open-air party. And the Heurigen regions on the hillsides of the Vienna Woods invite one and all to seriously "study" Vienna and its wines …

Service: From the Vienna Card to New Tourist Information

The Vienna Tourist Board is happy to be of service to Vienna's many visitors: city maps, hotel and museum lists, monthly listings of events, gastronomic tips and other information in many languages and also hotel rooms can be ordered at the service-tel.: 0043-1-24 555 or at . This website also offers an extensive calendar of events and many useful hints for a sojourn in Vienna.
The Vienna Card, at 16,90 Euro, permits not only unlimited travel for 72 hours on Vienna's transportation system, but many additional advantages for a duration of four days. It is available at travel agencies, tourist information centers and almost every hotel. Holders of the Vienna Card can make use of to 170 discounts, from museum admission fees to wonderful shops.
The central Tourist Information of the Vienna Tourist Board is located just behind the Vienna State Opera on Albertinaplatz/corner Maysedergasse. In addition to general information and assistance in obtaining hotel accommodations, this information office also offers entrance tickets, guided city tours and money exchange, daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

A good year after all: 2001

For Vienna's tourism the year 2001 was nearly as successful as 2000, the best yet: Vienna could boast of 7.7 million overnight stays and 3.3 million arrivals and only had to take a minimal drawback of 0,2% into account. Most overnight stays in hotels were produced by visitors from Germany (nearly 22%), Austria (17 %), the U.S. (more than 8%), Italy (over 8%), Great Britain (5%), Japan (nearly 5 %), Spain (about 4%), Switzerland (over 3%), France (nearly 3%), GUS (more than 2%). Vienna offers around 37,000 hotel beds, more than half of them in the four-star category; the average length of stay of visitors to Vienna was 2.4 nights.



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