Vienna

Europe’s greatest little capital

© by Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek / Österreich Werbung

Vienna – by far not the largest, nor the most important capital in Europe. Nonetheless, the capital of Austria is an amusing, fascinating and engaging place to visit.

It’s challenging to write something about Vienna without using clichés and overdoing it with the adjectives. Notwithstanding, the city is simply a marvellous travel destination. Austria’s capital is fascinating for anyone who loves history, architecture, culinary delights, music, art or simply people. With this in mind, the first that strikes you when you arrive in Vienna is the grandeur architecture. It never ends. Wherever your look the past has put its lavishly elegant stamp on Vienna. Nonetheless, Austria’s largest city is not only a collection of relics from past greatness, but also very modern home to 1,9 million people.

Long history

It all started as a Celtic outpost, which over the centuries grew into the Roman Vindabona. Remains of the Romans can still be seen at the Michaelerplatz and under Hoher Markt. Vindabona flourished under the Romans and at its peak had 15-20.000 inhabitants. With the fall of the Roman Empire Vindabona also dwindled into oblivion. Not until the German king Otto I won a battle against the Magyars in 955 AD, Vienna started to rise out of its political indifference again. In 1145 the Babenberg family who ruled parts of what today is Austria, moved their capital to Vienna. At any rate, the city started its way to fame and glory, when the Habsburg dynasty came to town. They ruled their ever-growing empire from Vienna for more than 600 years.

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Major tourist destination

Then again, it took a while to grow its population. In 1754 Vienna had a population of “only” 175.000. At its peak, the city was home to 2 million people in 1910. At the height of the Austrian Empire, Vienna was the capital city for 50 million people. The 1,9 million people who live there today, must share their city with 6,5 million visitors per year. Vienna is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. Grand architecture, historical and contemporary. The abundance of cultural events. An enormous choice of eateries that reflects not only Austrian culinary culture, but also the multicultural environment that always has been Vienna’s trademark.

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Relax

The before mentioned highlights are just a few things that you can fill your days with in Vienna. Big city holidays can often be stressful. You’ve got a lot to choose from and want to experience it all. Especially if you are staying only for a few days. Inasmuch as Vienna is not exempted from the big city hustle and bustle, there are a few quite oasis to be found. In addition to some of the city’s parks, there are of course districts that are rarely visited by the main stream tourists. You can safely venture out and see the city safely on your own. Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world. Crime rates are very low compared to other tourist destinations around the world.

Multinational

Vienna always was and still is, a multinational melting pot. The city has attracted people from different cultures throughout its history. During the Habsburg Empire, its 50 million inhabitants came from a huge myriad of different ethnic groups. Which all put their stamp on the city in one way or another. Out of today’s 1,9 million inhabitants, 460.000 are foreign citizens. Not only because Vienna has been named “World’s top city for quality of life”, but also because it houses numerous large international institutions. Consequently, many cultural aspects of the Austrian capital are markedly influenced by its multicultural people. Notwithstanding, the genuine Austrian culture ads a strong flavour to this great city.

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