Vienna (German Wien) is the capital of Austria, and also one of Austria's nine federal statess (Bundesland Wien). It is situated on the river Danube, and is surrounded by the Austrian federal state of Lower Austria. With a population of about 1.5 million, Vienna is the largest city and the cultural and political centre of Austria.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency are situated in Vienna.
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HistoryVienna was originally a Celtic city founded around 500 BC. In 15 BC, it became a frontier city ("Vindobona") guarding the Roman Empire against the German tribes to the north. In the Middle Ages, it became the home of the Babenberg and, later, the Habsburg dynasties and through the latter the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Ottoman Turkish invasions of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries were stopped at Vienna. See the Battle of Vienna (1683). In 1815, Vienna was the site of the Congress of Vienna which redrew national boundaries in Europe after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.
During the Cold War, Vienna was a hotbed of international espionage owning to its location in neutral Austria, between the Western and Eastern blocs.
Other famous Viennese items include the Lippizaner stallions, the Vienna Boys' Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben), Wiener Schnitzel, Sachertorte, and Danish pastries. Viennese cafes claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from the captured baggage after the second Turkish siege of 1683.
Historical population1800: 231,900 inhabitants
DistrictsFascism (1981-1991) by Alfred Hrdlicka at Albertinaplatz in Vienna's city centre]]
The city itself is composed of 23 districts (Bezirke), which although they all have their own names are numbered for the sake of convenience:
- Innere Stadt (city centre)
To the south-east of the city is the Prater amusement park. This park is the site of a large Ferris wheel, built originally in 1897, and made famous as the location where Orson Welles, in his role as Harry Lime in the film The Third Man, looked down upon the people beneath and compared them to ants.
Trams are widely used in Vienna.
Turn of the century Vienna was home to a thriving intellectual scene. Most prominent was the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Other famous products were the philosophers Franz Brentano, Bernard Bolzano, Ernst Mach and Edmund Husserl.
The University of Vienna was the cradle of the Austrian School of economics. The founders of this school who studied here included Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, Joseph Schumpeter,Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. von Hayek.
They were a somewhat more liberal crowd compared to other German speaking intellectuals in Prussia (indeed the very term Austrian was a term of abuse used to suggest a provincial outlook, see Methodenstreit). Simply put in Germany the influence of Hegel led academics to try to "overcome" the ideas of Western Europe, Austrian scholars used these ideas as a basis for their own theories.
See also the Vienna Circle.
For many centuries, Vienna has been a center of classical music and opera. Christoph Willibald Gluck, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner among others, worked in Vienna, and Antonio Vivaldi died there. Johann Strauss II and his family created their waltzes here. Later, the city became the home of the so called Second Viennese School, with Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern all being born there. It's also home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vienna is also noted for its art and architecture. Many Baroque buildings exist although every time period is represented. The summer palace of the emperors, Schönbrunn, was built to rival Versailles but while huge and ornate, never quite became as large. Tiergarten Schönbrunn Zoo Vienna is located in the palace area. The Cathedral of St. Stephen (or Stephansdom), which was built in the 12th century, is also notable. The modern architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser has constructed some buildings in the city in his idiosyncratic style.
Many of Vienna's great individuals are buried at the Zentralfriedhof.
- 1529 - Siege of Vienna
- 1683 - Battle of Vienna
- 1814 - Congress of Vienna
- 1873 - Weltausstellung 1873 Wien