One of Europe’s ten largest cities, a leader in global cultural innovation and ranked high on the top 25 cities in the world to call home Vienna is a city that I can’t wait to visit.
A reputation like Vienna’s all but ensures a visit to at least one theatre performance, and possibly three or four. The Austrian national theatre also known as the Burgtheatre was created in 1741 and is one of the most important German speaking theatres (brush up on German please).
The Belvedere is a palace built by Prince Eugene in the early 18th century. It is gorgeous and is also known for its art exhibitions which feature early 20th century painters and a section of constantly changing exhibitions.
The Hundertwasserhous built between 1979 and 1985 is one of Vienna’s most visited sites, it is an apartment complex designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and was modeled after his ideas of forested roofs and natural forms of decay (it reminds me of the Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona). It has 250 trees and bushes planted around and on the building it is a must see.
The city has many parks with monuments often surrounding the castles or monuments of the city. It also has the oldest zoo (Tiergarten Schonbrunn) in the world founded in 1752. It was built next to the Schonbrunn palace on the site of a zoo built in 1540.
The city is LGBT friendly and has a record of a transgendered person being killed in 1683 after being blamed for a siege the Turks were putting on the city. She was dragged through the streets and skinned fortunately not alive. Conditions have improved since then and in 2005 the first transgender council was held in Europe where groups from 21 European countries attended to organize and lobby for transgender rights. There have been additional councils and in 2011 groups from 23 countries attended.
The gay scene is quite prevalent. And despite the conservative older people’s disapproval during the day at night the city is quite liberal. A site mentioned, not by name, that a former emperor and a famous general were openly gay. One of the cities districts even claims to have a gay friendly bar every block and same sex marriages are preformed in more than 40 places. The city is open enough to host a gay pride parade with over 100,000 attendees every year (I’m sure that is one hell of a party).
Cycling is almost common and supposedly a person can make it anywhere in town in a half hour due to the extensive bike paths and lanes just watch for the sudden dead ends that will launch you into unwanted places.
Due to time I did not research Hostels but a quick google search and scrolling through a page I find several in the 20 per night range a few promotions at 14 and many in the thirty dollar range.
This is just a quick introduction to the city, and I hope to write another blog on it where I go a little farther into the life of the city and a few more attractions like squares and shopping centers. This will be a great city to visit, and spend a few weeks getting to know. It would be great to over lap it with the pride party.
Continue reading: Vienna, Austria #2