10 Things To See in Vienna, Austria
This city most certainly deserves more than two days and a mad dash across it's magnificent boulevards. However if you're pressed for time here is the list of the absolute musts:
1. The Karlskirche
This baroque church, built in the 18th Century, is considered to be one of the city's greatest buildings and it's greatest church. Look around inside and then climb up the tower for a spectacular view of the city.
The most recognized building in the city, this Roman Catholic church was built in the 14th century and as the most religiously important building, has seen centuries of important historical events. The plaza it is situated on is one of the most impressive in Europe.
3. Roman Ruins
Located right outside the Habsburg Palace, this is an excellent reminder how far the Roman empire stretched. After the Celts were defeated, the Romans fortified the city in 15 BC and it served as the Empire's northern frontier.
4. Habsburg Palace
This imperial palace still serves as a seat of government for Austria and its president. Visitors can walk through the grounds and visit the museums however, some buildings are completely out of bounds as they are presently in federal use. Part of the Palace is used for the Spanish Riding School for which you can purchase tickets to see the Lipizzan horse shows. The horses and their training are presented in the exact same way as the Habsburg royalty would have seen then centuries ago. Recordings of the show are not allowed.
5. Historical City Centre
Trendy and traditional restaurants and high-end fashion stores occupy gorgeous historical mansions which previously served as private mansions, banks or important chambers of commerce. If you want to eat lunch or dinner in a popular restaurant, make sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
6. State Library
Containing more than 12 million items, this imperial library houses rare books, a papyrus collection, manuscripts, historical maps and drawings. The stunning baroque interior, heavily reliant on marble and gold leaf accents, is enough to warrant a visit.
7. Imperial Treasures Museum
Showcasing the jewels and gold of the Habsburgs, once the wealthiest and most prestigious royals of Europe, this treasures museum is one of the best in the world. In addition to the Habsburg gold, it also houses important national treasures such as Charlemagne's crown, the Holy Roman Emperor who reigned in 800 CE.
8. Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum
Photographs are not allowed inside either the apartments or the Sisi Museum. The rooms and furnishings are left are just as they had been over a century ago when the last Habsburg royals lived here. Empress Sisi's Apartments are an interesting look into her private life and the tragedies that had befallen her and showcase a very human and relatable side to once one of the most prominent people in the world.
9. Schonbrunn Palace
Once the summer residence of the Habsburg royals, this palace is now open to visitors and the rooms are left in the exact same state as they were for the last living Habsburgs. Photographs are not allowed inside. To avoid the lineup arrive at the palace 20 minutes before opening time.
The palace gardens require an additional 1 to 2 hours, make sure not to miss the fake Roman ruins and Egyptian obelisk.
10. Belvedere Palace
The Belvedere palace was built with spoils of war won by Prince Eugene of Savoy who successfully defended Austria from the Ottoman empire. It is actually two palaces, with a magnificent garden separating them in the middle. The Lower Belvedere features exquisitely decorated rooms, albeit without any furniture. The Upper Belvedere houses a modern art museum. Vienna's prized possession, The Kiss painting by Gustav Klimt can be seen here.
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