Coordinates: 48° 13' N
16° 23' E
Altitude: 174 m
Area: 414,65 km2
Population: 1 678 435
Density of Population: 3 983/km2
Vienna is the capital and the biggest city of Austria. For its interesting location, history and grand urban planning, the city is also called the Danube Metropolis. Along with Bratislava situated only 60 kilometres east of Vienna, it forms the closest agglomeration of two capital cities in Europe.
The territory of today`s Vienna was populated by the Celts in the 5th century before Christ. The name of Vienna is also derived from a Celtic word “Vedunia“ which means a river in the woods. The mentioned river is the Danube. In the 1st century after Christ the Romans established here a fortification called Vindobona. First written records dated 881 refer to the city as Wenia, and for the first time as Wien in 1137. The importance of Vienna started to increase in the Middle Ages when it became a residence of the Babenbergs dynasty. In 1440 it became a residence for the Habsburgs. Vienna was the capital of the Habsburg Monarchy for more than seven centuries. Under the rule of the Emporor Charles VI. (1711-1740), his daughter Maria Theresa (1740-1780) and her son Joseph II. (1780-1790), Vienna became one of the centres of Central Europe as well as a flourishing centre of culture and arts. This period is currently reminded mainly by the architecture of buildings on Ringstrasse or of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn castles.
After the World War I. Vienna became an independent country with its own rights. In 1938 Austria was connected to Germany and right after the World War II. it was occupied by allied forces for a long period of time. The independence was regained in 1955. Right after New York and Geneve, Vienna is currently the third centre where the UNO authoritties have their offices. Moreover, there are also headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or OPEC in Vienna. The city is a popular venue of international conferences and meetings at the highest diplomatic level.
The city centre, Innere Stadt, was surrounded by town walls in the past. The most famous boulevard in Vienna, Ringstrasse, was built in the place of these original town walls. It is actually not the Danube River that flows through the city centre but it is only one of its canals. Behind the river there are the latest districts, including the International Centre. Industrial zones are situated mainly in the south and east of the city.
Cultural life in Vienna is very rich. There are 50 theatres, 4 opera houses, 2 musical scenes, 100 museums and several theatre, music and dance festivals take place here. The baroque district of museums (Museumsquartier) is one of the largest cultural areas in Europe. Moreover, Vienna is known around the globe as the City of Music. The most familiar theatres include the Castle Theatre (Burgtheater), Academic Theatre (Akademietheater), Folk Theatre (Volkstheater Wien), and Joseph`s Square Theatre (Theater in der Josefstadt). The world renowned opera houses include the State Opera House (Staatsoper) and Folk Opera House (Volksoper).
As for museums, the major ones include the Hofburg Castle, Schatzkammer (where royal jewellery is stored), Queen Sissi`s Museum, Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriches Museum), Museum of Art History (Kunsthishorisches Museum) or Museum of Modern Arts.
Vienna has buildings of various styles, from Romance through Baroque and Classicism up to modern architecture. The historical centre of Vienna was in 2001 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vienna is also known for its parks and gardens. Many of them contain a variety of monuments such as the City Park (Stadtpark) and Park Belvedere. The main Vienna park is called Prater and is situated on an island formed by the Danube River and its canal. The Schönbrunn Castle, a summer imperial residence, also includes a park from the 18th century and the world`s oldest zoo (from 1752).
The city has a large network of public transport comprising of underground routes, local railways, tram and bus lines. The Vienna tram network is the third largest in the world.