Jacqueline Oud - Culture

Discover Vienna


Whoever thinks of Vienna will probably think of any of the following aspects:

  • The Danube
  • Sissi
  • Strauss and the waltzes
  • Jugendstil

What Vienna is about

Vienna is all this and even more. And in this article I will give you an overview of my visit to this very beautiful city and see how Vienna has managed to attract and conquer still today many tourists. I will not tend to show the main points of interest however as Vienna’s Tourist Office can do this much better, but try to analyse Vienna’s position in the world of attracting tourists.

What strikes the most in Vienna is the fact that they have managed to combine its glamorous history and romance with todays expectations of tourists. Would you want to go to Vienna to visit some trendy shops in fashion, better go to London. Are you looking for the finest food then Paris is the place to be. But would you want to go back in time and feel surrounded by beautiful buildings, 19th century stylish architecture and breath the atmosphere of the imposing style of the Habsbourgs, well then Vienna is really the only place to be.

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The Burghtheater
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The Parliament
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The Opera

Vienna of The Habsbourgs

Everything in Vienna is about its "zenith" in the 19th century. The Habsbourgs had it all and attracted the high society from everywhere. It was the moment of classical music, waltzes and being in the centre of it all. Those who know some about the Habsbourgs are aware of the iron way of traditions and behaviour. At their peak of importance they owned in a way more than only Europe and were "infiltrated" everywhere. Vienna was the capital of their reign and that had to be seen.

In fact, with the decline of the Habsbourgs, Vienna stopped time and seems now to have been standing still since. It is very nice to see the museums and buildings that reflect this period but you notice that all is like that. New modern styles are rather shocking and disturb the quite live of its past. The Jugendstil was the last influence in Vienna and introduces the changement.

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Jugendstil Architecture
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The Karlskirche
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Jugendstil Architecture2

A stand still in time

The very modern style of Hundertwasser as an attempt to improve the commun architecture in Vienna is attracting many tourists but is not very popular or maybe exactly seen as too popular or too ordinary for Vienna. The art shops in Vienna try to introduce some modern art but the only part that really seems to sell are the ones inspired by the past times.

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The Hundertwasser Building
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Hundertwasser Interiors: the stairs
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A Hundertwasser Building: Front

This points out a part that I regret in Vienna, nowadays live and the history of commun people and origins are not that much exposed. Finally few leisure activities can be found in Vienna. Do you want to discover the other side of Vienna, you will have to look hard and go to the small streets towards the Danube. As the area of Hundertwasser, the more strange places to discover are rather hidden. But they are there: a nice old Greek church, the young playing around the Danube, some small streets hiding the Yewish roots and for those who are looking for a laugh there is the Prater and its Giant Ferris Wheel.

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A Greek Church
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The Danube
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Prater and the Ferris Wleel

Its past position, the strategy for its future

As I stated, Vienna will help you to go back in time and breath is imposing classical savoir-vivre. Its couloured houses make you think of how Saint Petersbourg in Russia looks like and the horses everywhere make the atmosphere complete. You are there, in the recreated world of Mozart, Strauss and "Sissi".

Vienna is the only city in Europe and probably in the world who has focused on this image and taken advantage of its past. It might however get stuck in it. It is funny to see how Vienna exploits more or less Sissi and the dreams though it was above all Sissi that didn’t like the live over there, she far more would have liked to go in the Giant Wheel, or discuss with the ordinary people from other countries, but that was not done in a city of importance like Vienna. [1]

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Some Interiors
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A Hundertwasser Fountain
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Some Interiors 2

If you like to learn more about Vienna I advise:
http://www.aboutvienna.org, they have a large range of information.

[1Most of the pictures used in this article are made by myself during the visit. For the other ones I would like to express the copyright. The Prater Giant Ferris Wheel: postcard, made by Georg Riha, copyright by Art-Card Atzara Keg. Hundertwasser fountain and front: postcard, copyright by Horowitz and Weege GmbH. Hundertwasser Stairs: postcard, copyright by Haus-Information im Hundertwasserhaus, beauty appeal GmbH.

[26 February 2004]

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