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Neue Donau

Neue Donau Am Kleehaufel, 1220 Wien
Vienna, Vienna area
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Understand Vienna

Vienna has hosted the Habsburg court over centuries, first as the imperial see of the Holy Roman Empire, then the capital of the Austrian Empire and later of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This has had a tremendous impact on the culture that exists there today.

Like Munich, its residents are formal, but with small doses of courtliness, polite forms of address and formal dress attire, the residents of Vienna tend to be equally modern and old-fashioned. Waiters address their customers with honorifics; a man who bumps into someone on the street is more than likely to implore his or her pardon with a small bow; tourists are treated as if they were a long-lost member of the royal family returning home. This luxurious treatment is one of the reasons that many people enjoy visiting Vienna.

The traditional Vienna is but one of the many façades of this city. Vienna is also a dynamic, young city, famous for its (electronic) music scene with independent labels, cult-status underground record stores, a vibrant club scene, and a government that seems overly obsessed with complicated paperwork. However, people are willing to go out of their way or bend the rules a little if they feel they can do someone a favor.

The Viennese have a singular fascination with death, hence the popularity of the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) as a strolling location and of Schrammelmusik - highly sentimental music with lyrics pertaining to death. Old-fashioned Sterbevereine (funeral insurance societies) provide members with the opportunity to save up for a nice funeral throughout the course of their lives. This service does not exist solely to save their children the hassle and expense - it is considered absolutely mandatory to provide for an adequate burial. Vienna even has the Bestattungsmuseum, a museum devoted to coffins and mortuary science. The country's morbid obsession may be correlated with their higher suicide rate when compared with the rest of Europe.

Vienna is also famous for its coffee culture. "Let's have a coffee" is a very common phrase to hear, because despite incursions by Starbucks and Italian-style espresso bars, the Kaffeehaus is still the traditional place to drink a cup of coffee, read the newspaper, meet friends or fall in love.

The City has a very convenient layout for the traveller:

The 'old town', or city center, is the first district. It is encircled by the 'Ring' road, which is also the location of many famous old buildings. Districts 2-9 are gathered within the Gürtel ('belt') Road; there, you can find the Prater (amusement) park, the hip quarters of the second district (close to Schwedenplatz), the shopping streets of Mariahilferstraße, Hundertwasser House, the Hundertwasser Kunsthaus, and so on.

Outside the 'belt', there's the Donauturm Tower, and Schönbrunn Castle, the most visited tourist attraction and deservedly so.

Vienna Tourist Board operates information and booking booths at the airport Arrival Hall, 7am-11pm and in town at Vienna 1, Albertinaplatz/Maysedergasse.


Modified: 2007-02-11 15:57:43+01
Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Vienna_%28city%29

 
 

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Vienna in I858

Vienna in I858

Vienna in I858

Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Vienna_%28city%29

 


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