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Vienna Travel Guide

About Vienna

Vienna will surprise you: the strains of Mozart and hip hop music co-exist, while stylish cutting-edge bars and cafés sit a stone's throw from the grand dames and their miniature dogs in traditional coffee houses.

The city today is a beguiling mix of old and new, perhaps best illustrated by the innovative MuseumsQuartier cultural district. Here the courtyard of the old Spanish riding stables, featuring Vienna’s largest baroque facade, is now home to contemporary museum architecture.

For most, Vienna is classical music, imperial history and monumental architecture, for others it is forever linked with The Third Man and its haunting Harry Lime Theme.

This is a city of art and thought. It's where Klimt crafted The Kiss and where The Secession Gallery marked a new age of painting. It’s the place where Hitler and Marx and Freud sat sipping coffee at the centre of the then-unbeatable Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Ideas were forged here in a white hot crucible of modernity; culture was transformed in an age of reason and thought. Vienna speaks with a grand voice, its greatest buildings sing like an overweight soprano at the Staatsoper.

But the city is not just about these ‘classic experiences’. Visitors to Vienna today will notice that something really big and really important is happening in the Austrian capital: it’s alive. New buildings are everywhere: Zaha Hadid’s Wiener Wirtschaftuniversitat Library is a stunning new sight on the skyline, as is the brand new DC Tower (Austria’s tallest building) which has a the luxury Melia Hotel halfway up it.

Vienna is cool right now and - whisper it - it’s even challenging Berlin. Visit Vienna Design Week or Waves Festival, both in October, and you will no longer think Vienna is fuddy duddy. Hip bands, fashion designers and architects are flooding the city. Grungy bars where artists and students hang out energise. This is a city that has a rich past, but it’s one that’s going places too.

Key facts

1,680,000 (2008)

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