Top 10 Places in Austria

# 10 Botanical Garden Of The University Of Vienna

In the Botanical Garden – established by Maria Theresa in 1754 – visitors can look forward to about 12,000 types of plant from six continents. Among other things, the garden serves as a place for scientific research and species protection, as an urban habitat for indigenous animal species and as an oasis of recreation in the heart of the city.

Its greenhouses (ca. 1,500m²) were originally built between 1890 and 1893, but were damaged during the Second World War; they were renovated or rebuilt between 1970 and 1995. Only the tropical greenhouse in the centre of the complex is open for the public.

The Botanical Garden has many tree-heavy areas, winding paths and ponds, and as a result the garden very much resembles a public park. Many locals known this all too well and come here for an enjoyable quiet walk and some even jog around the garden.

# 9 Burgtheater in Austria

The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as “die Burg” by the Viennese population, its theatre company of more or less regular members has created a traditional style and speech typical of Burgtheater performances.

Ever since 1776, when Emperor Joseph II founded the Court and National Theater, the institution preceding the present-day Burgtheater, this theater, with its distinguished company, has held a leading position in the dramatic arts of the German-speaking countries. For the season 2014/15, the Burgtheater was awarded “Theater of the Year” by the German-language journal “Theater heute”.

The Burgtheater has obtained a world-wide reputation for brilliant dramatic art and is one of the first theaters of German-speaking Europe. Over the years, its theatrical company of more or less regular members has worked out a traditional style and speech characteristic of Burgtheater performances (‘Burgtheaterstil’).

# 8 St. Charle’s Church in Austria

The church is the last work of the eminent baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. It was designed and commenced by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completed by his son Joseph. Although predominantly baroque, it combines several architectural styles. The church represents the central relation between Rome and Byzantium, and the design was influenced by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and Trajan’s Column in Rome.

There is  a small museum with a handful of religious art and clothing purportedly from the saint, but the highlight is the lift to the dome for a close-up view of the detailed frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr. The altar panel is by Sebastiano Ricci and shows the Assumption of the Virgin. In front of the church is a pond, complete with a Henry Moore sculpture from 1978.

# 7 St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Austria

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history and has, with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city’s most recognizable symbols.

The most precious objects of the cathedral treasury of St. Stephen’s are displayed in the west gallery of the cathedral. The relic treasury is said to have been founded by Duke Rudolf IV, known as “the Founder”, who also founded the University of Vienna in 1365. The exhibition also displays valuable pieces of art, including sculptures, textile arts, medieval manuscripts, panel paintings, and masterpieces of Viennese goldsmithing.

The cathedral has played an important part in the culture and history of Vienna: it held Antonio Vivaldi’s funeral in 1741 and was also where Mozart got married and where two of his children were baptized.

# 6 Rathaus in Austria

The City Hall is one of the most famous between the numerous monumental buildings in Vienna.

It was designed by Friedrich Schmidt (1825-1891), it was erected between 1872 and 1883. The architecture of the Ringstraße is dominated by historicism. In Historicism various stylistic elements of the past were combined into a style in its own right. Friedrich Schmidt however orientated himself just on one particular epoch.

The City Hall was built in gothical style, with a tower similar to gothic cathedrals. The gothic era saw the growth of the cities and the emergence of an urban burgeoisie.

Today the City Hall is the head office of Vienna’s municipal administration. More than 2000 people work in the building. Visitors are stunned by the magnificent appointments of the state rooms, which frequently provide an atmospheric backdrop to various events such as press conferences, concerts or balls.

# 5 Salzburg in Austria

Capital of the province of the same name and the gateway to Austria from the northwest, Salzburg is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, admired equally for its architecture as it is for its magnificent setting. It also enjoys a special fame in the world of music as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a fame reflected in such attractions as the museum in the home of his birth and various festivals showcasing his music.

The joke ‘If it’s baroque, don’t fix it’ is a perfect maxim for Salzburg: the storybook Old Town burrowed below steep hills looks much as it did when Mozart lived here 250 years ago. Standing beside the fast-flowing Salzach River, your gaze is raised inch by inch to graceful domes and spires, the formidable clifftop fortress and the mountains beyond. It’s a backdrop that did the lordly prince-archbishops and Maria proud.

Beyond Salzburg’s two biggest money-spinners – Mozart and The Sound of Music – hides a city with a burgeoning arts scene, wonderful food, manicured parks, quiet side streets where classical music wafts from open windows, and concert halls that uphold musical tradition 365 days a year. Everywhere you go, the scenery, the skyline, the music and the history send your spirits soaring higher than Julie Andrews’ octave-leaping vocals.

The romantic Old Town is an area of narrow medieval streets and arcaded courtyards just begging to be explored, as are the spacious squares of the residential area between the Neutor and the Neugebäude districts. Not far from Salzburg, lies the world’s largest system of ice caves (Eisriesenwelt), a must-see attraction for adventure seekers.

# 4 Vienna In Austria

Capital of the Republic of Austria and one of Europe’s most visited cities, Vienna (Wien) owes much of its charm and rich history to its splendid location on the banks of the beautiful Danube River.

Vienna continues to attract visitors with its many great historic sights, as well as for its busy program of events and entertainment. With an unmistakably cosmopolitan atmosphere, it retains a distinctive charm and flair, an effect accentuated by its fine old architecture, its famous horse-cabs (Fiaker), as well as its splendid street-side cafés with their Viennese coffees and treats.

Vienna’s history dates back to the first post-Christian century when the Romans established the military camp Vindobona. Today’s cityscape is characterised by the abundance of baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße.

# 3 Belvedere in Austria

Österreichische Galerie (Austrian Gallery) displaying the largest collection of works by Klimt and Kokoschka as well as famous paintings by Schiele. Vienna’s prime landmarks are the gothic Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), the Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater, Vienna’s old recreational park, and the Spanish Riding School with their world-famous Lipizzaner horses.

Belvedere palace consists of two seperate buildings: the Upper and Lower Belvedere, which are connected by a stunning baroque garden. Enjoy views of Vienna’s first district from the Upper Belvedere. Today it houses not only Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day, but also the world’s largest Klimt collection, with the golden paintings “The Kiss” and “Judith” as the highlights. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka, as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era round out the exhibition.

The Lower Belvedere and the Orangery are used mainly for temporary exhibitions, while the Palace Stables are now home to some 150 objects of sacred medieval art that blend with the Baroque ambiance in a compelling fashion. The Palace Gardens are unfolding in strict symmetry along a central axis to the prestige building of the Upper Belvedere and features beautiful sculptures, fountains and cascades.

# 2 Mariazell Basilica in Austria

Mariazell Basilica is the most important pilgrimage destination in Austria and one of the most visited shrines in Europe. In the church, a miraculous wooden image of the Virgin Mary is honored. There are three basic legends about the founding of Mariazell and its development. The legend of the towns founding says that in 1157, the St. Lambrecht Monk Magnus was sent to the area of the current town as a minister. When his way was blocked by a rock, he set down the Marian figurine he had brought with him, whereby the rock broke apart and left Magnus’ way clear. On a nearby bank, he settled down, placed the figurine on a tree trunk, and built a cell out of wood, which served as both his chapel and his living quarters.

The second legend relates how Henry Margrave of Moravia and his wife, having been healed of severe gout through the help of Our Lady of Mariazell made a pilgrimage to that place around 1200. There they built the first stone church on the site of the wooden chapel.

The third legend recounts a victorious battle of the Hungarian King Ludwig I over a numerically superior Turkish army. Out of thanks he built the gothic church and endowed it with the “Schatzkammerbild” (“treasury image”) that he saw laid upon his chest in a dream.

The Mariazell Basilica was recently selected as the main motif of a collectors’ coin: the Austrian Mariazell Basilica commemorative coin, minted on May 9, 2007. The coin shows the facade of the basilica with its characteristic central gothic tower flanked by two baroque towers.

# 1 Alps in Austria

Almost the whole of Austria is part of the Alpine region or at least the Alpine foothills. Only the area of Vienna in Lower Austria and Burgenland doesn’t share any mountains. Even if here you won’t find the highest peaks of the Alps, there are plenty of glaciers rising above 3,000 m in Austria.

Especially popular for their mountain ranges and obviously for their first-class ski and hiking areas are the provinces of Tyrol and Salzburg. Vorarlberg and Carinthia boast moreover pristine lakes and waters. Austria as a whole is home to a unique natural scenery and provides high-quality accommodation and tourism services. Nature and culture – these two values have a centuries-long tradition in Austria.

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