Vienna, known as the current house of the United Nations because it represents the perfect ideal of democracy, with its 1700s style baroque palaces and various architecture styles, is the perfect place to get acquainted with European classical architecture. While Budapest may be the epitome of eastern European heritage, Vienna is situated at the crosswords of Eastern and European culture. Many of you may recall Vienna to be the epitome of western classical tradition, with many traditions from equestrian racing, to viennese waltzes to famous classical pieces on the violin and at the opera. I loved that coming to Vienna you will have left the 20th century and be transported back into a different world, a different century. In this world, the old will become anew and you appreciate the importance of history and classical tradition in today's world of the fleeting. If you are looking for a short adventure back into time, look no further than Vienna.
Vienna was deemed a hotspot during the Roman ages, and reached its period of enlightenment in the 1700s, when King Joseph reformed many social reforms including civil reforms, the arts, culture and music, which led to the rise of famous composers such as Beethoven and others. As the former capital of the Austrian-Hungary Empire, Vienna later became divided into different option zones after World War 2, until it was finally liberated in 1955 and became the Republic of Vienna. Throughout its history, it has always harnessed the ability to understand different traditions and cultures that make it the diplomatic nation it is today. Since the 1970s, it has been designated as the official seat of the United Nations and UNESCO has designated it as an world architecture heritage site. Today, it still harbours popular classical traditions that make it world renowned.
1. Schönbrunn Palace and Garden
There is no place in the world you can live with a dazzling garden and palace other than the Schönbrunn Palace and Garden.The famous 18th century palace and garden Schönbrunn Palace contains over 14,441 rooms and was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. This summer residence will have you celebrating as your gush over the extravagant palace and gardens of the emperor elite. As the former residence of the Habsburg rulers, the gardens and especially fountains here will live you breathless and wanting to escape reality. This is one of the most famous imperial residences in Vienna, harbouring an assortment of Baroque and other styles of classical architecture.
2. St Stephan’s Cathedral
St Stephan’s cathedral is located in Stephansplatz, situated at the heart of Vienna, and is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church. Built in 1137, it has survived world wars and has undergone renovations accordingly. This magnificent cathedral is known for its intricate design and the famous South Tower which offers views of the entire city. Along the city centre in Stephansplatz contains many modern as well as Austrian style restaurants.The oldest ice cream place is also located here, and you can choose from a wide assortment of flavours.
3. City tour - The Holfburg — If you choose to do a walking tour of the city, the Holfburg is one of the top places to start on your walking tour.This is the official residence of the every Austrian ruler since 1721 and is home to the official residence today. There are many city tours that offer a tour of the city streets of Vienna, as the city itself is easily walkable. The tours will take you from the imperial sculptures to horse- risen carriages that bring to back to the height of 18th century enlightenment and art. The famous monument of Emperor Joseph the Second in the public square of Josefsplatz reflects the importance of the legacy of the Roman emperors and is in close resemblance to the monument on Capitoline Hill in Rome. Equestrian culture remains highly prided here in Vienna, as the famous and classical Spanish Riding School is located not far away from here and you can also see many house-drawn carriages here, bringing you back to a different era.
4. Wien Opera House
The Wien Opera house is the most famous of Vienna Operas and is Vienna’s state Opera. You may notice a famous pink rabbit located outside, dedicated to the region from a german designer. The Wien Opera house is one of the leading Opera houses in the world, where you can hear famous classics such Beethoven’s 4 Seasons and more. Furthermore, The Vienna Opera House is considered as one of the houses with the largest repertoire of pieces. While tickets many be expensive, it is certainly worth the wait to catch a glimpse of classical tradition at its best and finest. In 2015 while visiting the Opera, I was surprisingly taken back by the artist who depicted a young women in a pink blouse sitting on a blue and multicoloured floor. I understand today that it was a piece of artwork was painted by French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, and was part of a project in hopes of revitalizing the opera house. As breaking the barrier between tradition and innovation, the architecture brings a new essence to the historic opera house. This dedicated work is titled Helen & Gordon, and is a photographic recreation of the famous portrait of influential abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler in her art studio by trying to connect her thoughts with the works that she painted.
Hidden Treat: Cafe Sacher
Located near the State Opera House, Cafe Sacher is the famous and elegant desert destination known for its original Sachetorte, the famous viennese chocolate cake invented in 1832 and perfected over the years. If you come to Vienna, you definitely need to check out Cafe Sacher for not only its chocolate cake, but also its timeless Viennese coffee atmosphere with elegant style menus decorated in an olden style at each table. Come here after or before the opera for a real treat and be transported back into time.
If you haven’t tried the Wiener Schnitzel, Vienna has its own twirl on the classic German traditions with its own classic recipe.
Chelsea Reviews: 4/5
Vienna is definitely the epitome of classical culture, with famous violinists and composers such as Mozart and Beethoven residing here in the Golden age, and various baroque palaces and pieces built in the golden age of 1700s. Come here not only for the classical music, traditions, and history but come back to the golden age of the 1700s, always fortified in the baroque style architecture that will linger in your mind forever. Come here to explore the cross section of art and music, in a city that remains timeless to this day. While time may change, traditions remain forever engraved.