Grand is not a word that is superlative enough to adequately describe the extraordinary city of Vienna.
The capital, and largest city, of Austria, Vienna is the former headquarters of the Hapsburg Court and is defined an as imperial city imbued with grand buildings that are startling ornate in style and massively grand.
Founded by the Romans in the 1st Century as Vindobona, a far-off outpost, there was little inkling that Vienna would transform into one of the worlds most exquisite cities. There are still magnificent medieval and baroque buildings found within the city, but Vienna is no outdoor museum as it embraces modernity and its population which thrives on enjoying life.
Music, culture and intellectual pursuits have had a powerful impact on the city for many centuries.
Take music, for instance. Mozart, Beethoven, Hadyn, Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler are just a few of the world’s greatest composers who have lived and worked there. Johan Strauss II and his family of composers made Vienna the waltz capital of the world, a tradition that continues until this day with over 450 balls held in Vienna each year, employing nine full-time orchestras.
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For awe-inspiring buildings, the Schonbrunn Palace certainly stands out. Once owned by the Habsburg Monarchy and used as a summer residence, much of this stunning masterpiece can still be viewed in its original condition, with rooms that have been authentically furnished.
The Hofburg Imperial Palace owes its splendour to one-upmanship between imperial architects throughout numerous generations. Today the building serves as both a museum and the office of the Austrian President.
For unique entertainment, a visit to the Spanish Riding School is a must to enjoy the Lipizzan horses (Europe’s oldest breed of domesticated horse) performing an equine ballet in the world’s most amazing dressage space.
We can’t ignore Vienna’s coffee culture for which the coffee and luscious pastries such as cakes, tarts and strudels are meant to accompany engaging conversation. There is a tradition in authentic coffee houses that is centuries old and taken seriously.
Vienna is a city of many museums, including some quite weird ones, and Vienna’s Ringstrasse, which many believe to be the world’s most beautiful boulevard is home to some of Vienna’s most appealing sightseeing.
There’s no doubt that Vienna will both charm and enchant you. It is, indeed, one of the most glorious of Europe’s cities.