Sunday, September 23, 2007


Vienna the Home of Greats

My wife and I have always enjoyed Austria and Vienna the capital is one of our favorite cities.

Vienna is Austria's primate city; with a population of about 1.7 million (2.2 million within the metropolitan area), and is by far the largest city in Austria and is its cultural, economic and political center. Vienna lies in the very east of Austria and is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. An Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked it third for quality of life.

Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, and Schubert are just a few of the musical luminaries who lived in Vienna and many of the theaters are always playing their material. One of our highlights was to attend a Mozart symphony in the famed music hall.

Beside musical halls the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria and since the 1860s has been one of the major attractions. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. In earlier times it served as summer residence to various Habsburg rulers.

Inside the palace you'll learn all sorts of interesting facts about the imperial family, while you can continue to enjoy further aspects of Baroque culture with a relaxing stroll around the gardens.

The castle was build to rival French Versailles in Baroque beauty and importance but the House of Habsburg lacked funds to outdo its rivaling nation France.

Emperor Franz Joseph (ruled 1848-1916), who was born there in 1830, spent the last years of his life entirely in Schönbrunn. In 1918, the palace became the property of the new republic.

We admired the magnificent apartments of Maria Theresia, her sitting rooms, bedroom and the parlor, in which 6 year old Mozart used to play for the Empress, as well as the parlors and apartments of Imperial couple Franz Joseph and Sissi.

The interior is an orgy of frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers, huge mirrors and gilded ornaments. We visited almost 40 rooms but learned we had seen less than 3% of the residence's 1441 rooms.
The city is full of Museums which we enjoyed.The Hofburg is the location of the Schatzkammer (treasury), holding the imperial jewels of the Hapsburg dynasty. The Sissi Museum (a museum devoted to Empress Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Austria) allows visitors to view the Imperial apartments as well as the silver cabinet. Directly opposite the Hofburg are the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum, which houses many paintings by old masters and ancient and classical artifacts.
A number of museums are located in the Museumsquartier, the former Imperial Stalls which were converted into a museum complex in the 1990s. It houses the Museum of Modern Art (Ludwig Foundation), the Leopold Museum focussing on works of the Viennese Secession. The Liechtenstein Palace contains one of the world's largest private art collections. There are a multitude of other museums in Vienna, including the Military History Museum, the Technical Museum, the Vienna Clock Museum and the Burial Museum.
We did not have near enough time to really see this unique city.

Psalm 150:2 “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.“
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