Vienna is Austria's primate city; with a population of about 1.6 million (2.2 million within the metro area), Vienna is by far the largest city in Austria as well as its cultural, economic and political centre.
Vienna is situated on both sides of the River Danube, and only 60 kilometers off Austria's Eastern border, it lies on the South East corner of Central Europe and in close reach to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Vienna was founded around 500 BC and it was originally a Celtic settlement : " Uindobona " ' Fair Bottomland '.
In 15 BC, Vienna became a Roman frontier city ( " Vindobona " ) guarding the Roman Empire against German tribes to the north. During the Middle Ages, Vienna was home of the Babenberg Dynasty and in 1440 became residence city of the Habsburg Dyna
sties from where Vienna eventually grew to become the secret capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a cultural centre for arts and science, music and fine cuisine. The Ottoman-Turkish invasions of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries were stopped twice just outside Vienna. See the Siege of Vienna (1529) and the Battle of Vienna (1683).
In 1804 Vienna became capital of the Austrian Empire - the later Austro-Hungarian Empire, both played a major role in European and World politics. (See Congress of Vienna, 1815)
In 1918 after World War I Vienna became capital of the First Austrian Republic. After 1945 Vienna and neutral Austria was a hotbed for international espionage between the Western and Eastern blocs (Cold War). Since the end of the Cold War the city of Vienna is actively rebuilding ties with its Eastern neighbours.
Vienna is famous for its many parks. Many of these parks include monuments, such as the Stadtpark and Belvedere Park with its baroque-style castle where the State Treaty was signed. The principal park of Vienna is the Prater, which is situated on an island formed by the Danube River and the canal. Schi¶nbrunn, the beautiful Imperial Summer Palace, includes an 18th century park and the world's oldest zoo (1752).
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, in the areas of theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. Apart from the Burgtheater which, together with its branch, the Akademietheater, is considered one of the best theatres in the German-speaking world, the Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also offer high-quality theatre entertainment. There is also a multitude of smaller theatres, often equal in quality to their larger counterparts and in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna also offers a great many opportunities for opera lovers: The Staatsoper and the Volksoper offer something for everyone, the latter being especially devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Concerts of classical music are performed, among others, in the well known Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and in the Wiener Konzerthaus. In addition, various concert venues offer concerts aimed at visitors, featuring the best known highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful by far was "Elisabeth" which was afterwards translated into several foreign languages and performed all over the world. With the opening of the Haus der Musik in 2000, Vienna also has a "Museum of Sound" for all ages now.
Finally, many Roman Catholic churches in central Vienna feature performances of religious or other music, including masses sung with classical music and organ.
Vienna has an extensive tram and bus network - the tram network being one of the largest in the world. In the most populated areas of Vienna, transportation systems are run so frequently (even during off-peak hours), that any familiarity with departure timetables is virtually unnecessary. The convenience and flexibility of the public transport is therefore reflected through its popularity.
The Viennese public transport is connected to services of train and bus lines operating 50 kilometres into the surrounding countryside, which can be used under the same system of tickets.
Vienna has a variety of nightlife options. Its low crime rate and extensive public transportation network make going out at night safe and convenient. Regular public transportation (subway, tram, and bus) runs until approximately 12:30. After this, nighttime bus lines provide service every half hour (fifteen minutes on some segments). Almost all night lines circle the inner city before heading outbound. Most lines are numerated the same as their corresponding daytime line. For example, if you take the 60 tramline followed by the U4 subway into the city, you can take the N60 bus directly from the city back out. At approximately 5 a.m. the daytime lines resume. Day and night lines now use the same tickets.
Starting in the 1980s, the pedestrian zone between the St. Ruprecht's Church (the oldest in Vienna) and the Fleischmarkt became populated with bars etc. and became known as the "Bermuda Triangle" (the name starting as a local joke that in this area there are so many bars that you can disappear there completely and reappear days later, remembering nothing). It is the one area of the inner city district where relatively loud music and noise are (grudgingly) tolerated. Many bars and small clubs are located in this neighborhood, but drinks tend to be more expensive than in the rest of the city. This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia