Spending December in Vienna is great, the city is full of beautiful historical monuments and lovely Weihnachtsmärkte which are different from place to place and besides the typical Christmas ornament you can also find a variety of Viennese food, snacks and hot drinks. The main Weihnachtsmärkte are near Belvedere Castle, Schönbrunn Castle, town hall, Theresienplatz and Stephansdom. My friend and I spent more money on food than on Christmas ornament xD We were curious to try Viennese food, which, I must say, was very tasty.
What to see in Vienna
Our first stop was Hundertwasserhaus built between 1983 and 1985 by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He wanted to build brightful and fun flats for less wealthy people. Now the house is owned by the city of Vienna which did not use it as museum but as a normal apartament block even though it is often crowded with tourists who come to admire the colorful house; it must be hard for local people to live there.
After this beautiful piece of modern art, we came back into the past and went to visit the beautiful Schloss Belvedere, built in the 16th century by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt for the Prince Eugene of Savoy. It is composed of two palaces: Oberes Belvedere and Unteres Belvedere and it is considered the masterpiece of the Austrian baroque architecture. We did not have the time to visit inside but we could enjoy the breathtaking view of Vienna behind the castle, where you can find a huge french garden and weird lion-women with big boobs :,)
You find numerous clothing shops in the city centre where the younger girls who were with us went but my friend and I wanted to explore more deeply the city so we headed, just the two of us, to see what we could find out. We went across a breathtaking cathedral called Stephansdom, I was without words when, for the first time, I saw it. It is was sooo huge that I could not take a photo of the whole cathedral! The foundation dated back to the 10th century when a Romanesque church was built but later it was enlarged and modified until it was turned into nowadays gothic style. The interior was even more beautiful and I must say, it was even warmer than outside: normally it is the opposite xD All around the cathedral there was a nice Weihnachtsmarkt which soon attracted our attention. The streets in the centre of Vienna were all decorated and brightful, many people were around even though the weather was awful: rain and cold but nothing could stop us from exploring the city 😉
We inevitably reached the Hofburg, the former imperial palace located in the middle of the city. Many of the most powerful and important people of European and Austrian history lived in this palace as well as Habsburg dynasty which ruled the large territory of Austro-Hungarian Empire that included nowadays Czech Republic, Slovakia, some Balkan States, Hungary, Eastern Italy and many other territories. Through the centuries the Hofburg was expanded by Italian and Austrian architects who added various residences, the Austrian national library, the Hofreitschule (Spanish riding school) and Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury). Very close to the Hofburg there is the Austrian Parliament which looks like a roman building. When we go there it was a bit late so the photos are blurry, in winter it gets dark soon. We wandered around admiring these beautiful monuments and we spotted the shining Rathaus in the distance, it was really picturesque.
We could not miss the magnificent Schloß Schönbrunn, the summer residence of Habsburg dynasty from 16th century until 18th century. According to the legend the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias while hunting in this area discovered a spring of limpid water and ordered to build here his new mansion. In German Schönbrunn, indeed, means Beautiful Spring. The castle had to surpass in beauty and magnificence Versailles Castle and we cannot deny that the garden is as impressive and huge as the French one. In spring it shows its best as the flowers blossom and everywhere there is an explosion of colours. This time we visited the entire castle and passed through the endless rooms where the members of the royal family including one of the most famous princesses in the world, Sissi, lived. The royal family’s belongings are very well preserved and in one room you can find a life-size Sissi’s mannequin which was put there to show the incredible hair’s length of Princess Sissi. It gave me such a scare xD I do not have photos of the interior because it was prohibited and guardians were around to check if we followed the rules so I did not feel to put myself in danger.
While wandering around Vienna you will inevitably spot a enormous skyscraper surrounded of other very big buildings. Our guide told us that it is the international centre of UN which has its headquarter in the Austrian capital besides New York, Nairobi and Geneva. It gaves me a scare when I first saw it! Never seen such a huge complex of buldings @@
In the past Vienna gave birth to many geniuses, an example could be Sigmund Freund, the psychoanalysis‘ founder or Franz Schubert, a composer and many other famous musicians like Mozart or Beethoven worked and lived in the Austrian capital. No wonder this city has a beautiful Opera House! But Vienna is not only music, here art was really important and this is the place where Jugendstil, an artistic movement, originated and later reached every corner of Europe taking different names according to the country: Stile Liberty in Italy, Art Nouveau in France etc. That is why in Vienna you find the building of Vienna Secession, a group of Austrian artists whose first president was Gustav Klimt. Perhaps you have never heard of this name but you surely know, at least, one of his pictures.
The golden writings on the building “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit” was their motto and means: “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” while the other golden writing Ver Sacrum was the name of their official magazine. My trip in Austria continues in the next article which will be about Salzburg 😀