Facts about Vienna

We found 48 facts about Vienna

One of the greenest cities in the world

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is a city of imperial palaces, the Viennese waltz, Sacher cake, classical music, and New Year’s concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic, but it is also a modern city overflowing with greenery, a friendly city with the highest quality of life in the world.

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria.

The city is located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Danube River-the second longest river in Europe.

Vienna is a statutory city - its administration is organized according to local law, contained in the city charter.

It also forms a separate state - the Republic of Austria is a federation of nine states.

The city is divided into 23 districts, which do not have autonomy, they are only parts of a unified municipal administration.

Street and square nameplates display the district numbers.

Vienna is an administrative, industrial, commercial, service, academic, tourist, and cultural center of international importance.

It is the seat of the Australian parliament, president, government, religious associations, societies, organizations, universities, and businesses.

A complex of buildings has been built in Vienna, which is one of the four main places in the world (along with complexes in New York, Geneva, and Nairobi) where United Nations institutions are located - Vienna Internationale Center.

The Complex consists of 6 office buildings of similar architectural form, built on a Y-shaped plan. The tallest of the edifices measures 120 meters high and has 28 floors. The center is a workplace for some 5000 people. The VIC has its own subway station and a small church. The Austria Center Vienna conference center is also located in close proximity.

The Austrian capital is also home to other well-known international organizations: OSCE, OPEC, and IAEA.

Their headquarters are located outside the VIC (Vienna Internationale Center) complex.

The city’s area is 414.87 square kilometers.

In 2020, Vienna had a population of 1.911.191. The population density per square kilometer is 4607 people.

Native Austrians make up almost 77.7 percent of the capital’s population.

The remaining percentage is made up of foreigners, of whom there are more than 386.000 in Vienna.

The city’s largest population in its entire history-2.25 million-was in 1916.

These were Austro-Hungarian citizens.

Vienna was founded around the 5th century BC by the Boers (a large Celtic tribe), as a Celtic settlement.

Around 15 BC, this settlement was conquered by the Romans, who set up a camp of the 10th Legion called Castrum Vindobona on the right bank of the Danube. This was to protect the Roman Empire from invasions by Germanic tribes from the north.

In Vindobona, Emperor Marcus Aurelius died in 180.

There, Emperor Commodus made peace with the Marcomans and Quads (Germanic peoples), ending the Marcomans Wars (a series of armed conflicts between the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes between 167 and 180). Eventually, Vindobona was destroyed by the Germanic tribes in the 5th century.

Vienna was granted city rights in 1221.

In the early Middle Ages, the city was ruled by the Austrian Babenberg dynasty, and after the dynasty expired, the reign was taken over by the Ottokar II of Bohemia, during whose reign the city’s economy flourished.

When the Habsburg dynasty took over the reign of Vienna in 1276, it became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, the seat of the bishopric, and a scientific and cultural center.

During the reign of Rudolf IV the Founder of the Habsburg dynasty, the construction of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (the pride and one of the symbols of the city) began, and a university was established.

In 1485, Vienna was occupied by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.

For five years of his reign, the city served as the capital of Hungary. After the death of Matthias Corvinus, the city was recaptured by the Habsburgs.

In the 16th century, Vienna was a multinational city.

It was even compared to the Tower of Babel (Wolfgang Schmeltzl, playwright), for Greek, Latin, French, Turkish, Spanish, Czech, Lusatian, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Croatian, Serbian, Polish, Aramaic could be heard there.

Due to the constant Turkish threat, the city’s fortifications began to expand in the mid-16th century.

These defensive walls were dismantled after Franz Joseph took power in Vienna and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was established. In their place, the city’s representative street Ringstrase was built.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, attacks on Vienna by the Turks were repulsed twice, also with the help of Poland.

During the relief of Vienna-the Battle of Vienna-fought on 12th September 1683, between the Polish and Imperial armies under the command of King John III Sobieski and the army of the Ottoman Empire under vizier Kara Mustafa, a breakthrough was achieved, as a result of which the Turks suffered defeat, went on the defensive and ceased to pose a threat to the Christian part of Europe.

In the 16th century, the Reformation period began in Vienna.

This religious-political-social movement initiated by Martin Luther, aimed at the renewal of Christianity, was a reaction to the negative phenomena that took place in the Catholic church hierarchy and was also an opposition to Catholic dogmatic doctrine. An important role in the development of the Reformation was played by the Hussite movement, which was initiated in the 15th century by Jan Hus - a Czech clergyman, philosopher, Church reformer, precursor of Protestantism, and Czech national hero.

Associated with the plague epidemic in Vienna is the legend of good Augustine.

Augustine was a street musician who fell into a gutter one night in a state of alcoholic intoxication, after which he ended up in a mass grave, along with the bodies of the victims of the epidemic. Augustine did not contract the plague, which was attributed to the salutary effects of alcohol in his body. To this day, Augustine is mentioned in the folk chant Ohdu Lieber Augustin.

One of Vienna’s most important sites, Graben Square, is home to the baroque Trinity Column, known as the Moor Column.

This monumental votive monument was founded by Emperor Leopold I in gratitude to God for ending the plague that had previously raged in London and Naples. The corpses of people who died from the plague were hastily buried there. The first column was made of wood (1687-1693), later replaced by a marble one.

“The golden period” for the city was the 18th century.

At that time there was a significant development of trade, industry, culture, and art.

An international conference of representatives from sixteen European countries, which lasted from September 1814 to June 1815, called the Congress of Vienna, was held in Vienna.

It was convened to review the territorial and political changes caused by the outbreak of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and to work out new principles of continental order. The Congress of Vienna was ironically called the Dancing Congress because of the many balls that accompanied it.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Spring of Nations in 1848, when citizens took to the streets of Vienna demanding the introduction of reforms in the country, Franz Joseph I took power, leading to the creation of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1867.

In addition to the dismantling of the city walls and the construction of the Ringstrase, along which representative public buildings were built, including the city hall, the Burgtheater, the university, the parliament, the Museum of Art History, and the opera house, Vienna gained a shipping connection to Budapest, operated by the Danube Steam Navigation  Society.

After the end of World War I, Vienna became the capital of the Austrian Republic.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Vienna also became a bastion of socialism and was nicknamed “Red Vienna.” At the time, the city was ruled by the Socialist Party of Austria, which implemented a 65.000-unit municipal housing program, as well as a program to establish urban green spaces and introduced education reform. At the time, the Werkbund housing development was established, where workers did not have to nestle in cloisters without windows or running water.

In 1938, Adolf Hitler triumphantly entered Vienna.

He convinced the Austrians of Austria’s importance to the Reich. The Anschluss - the annexation of the Federal State of Austria by the German Reich, in violation of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles - then occurred. Vienna lost its function as capital to Berlin.

After World War II, Vienna once again became the capital of Austria.

Like Berlin, it was divided into four occupation zones: Russian, American, British and French. The first district-the Center-was under joint control. When the Austrian State Treaty was signed on 15th May 1955, the occupation zones were abolished.

An interesting figure and probably the founder of one of the first cafes in Vienna was a Pole, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki of the Sas coat of arms, translator from Turkish, dragon of the Eastern Trade Company, diplomat, soldier of King John III Sobieski.

During the siege of Vienna in 1683, Kulczycki, disguised as an Ottoman soldier and singing Turkish songs under his breath, passed through the enemy camp, sneaked out of the besieged city and contacted Prince Charles V Leopold of Lorraine, whose reply announcing relief he carried to the besieged. The news dissuaded the city’s residents. The city council rewarded him with a considerable sum of money (100 ducats), and he also received a house on the Leopoldstadt estate. King John III Sobieski allowed him to choose as a reward any item from the camp of the defeated enemy. Kulczycki chose 300 sacks of “strange grain,” which the victors intended to throw away, thinking it was camel food. Meanwhile, the sacks contained a supply of coffee. Emperor Leopold bestowed on him the title of imperial translator of the Turkish language. He also received an exemption from taxes for 20 years.

Kulczycki is widely credited with opening the first café in Vienna and one of the first in Europe, known as the “House Under the Blue Bottle” on Schlossergassl Street, next to the cathedral.

In this establishment, to commemorate his victory over the Turks, he was said to have served crescent-shaped cookies to guests, himself appearing in Turkish costume. He is credited with sweetening his coffee with honey and, above all, with flavoring his coffee with milk. Other sources say that the first owner of a coffee shop in the Habsburg Empire was an Armenian, Johannes Diodato (of Johannes Theodat), from 1685.

There is a widespread opinion that in Bienna you can drink good coffee only “at the Italian’s.”
Vienna is one of the greenest cities in the world and is also a city with the highest quality of life.

There are 990 city parks there. Thanks to the Vienna Forest complex and the Danube area, almost half of Vienna’s total area is green (the greenest district is Hietzing, where about 70 percent of its area is green). These green areas consist of meadows, parks, vineyards, forests, fields, and gardens. From the city center, you can reach the nearest recreational areas (such as Danube Island) in 15 minutes.

There are about 800 farms in the Vienna metropolitan area.

More cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, parsley, and chili peppers are harvested here than in the rest of Austria combined.

There are 1400 kilometers of bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, and bicycle routes through low-traffic zones in Vienna.

City bicycles can be rented at 121 stations.

Vienna is the only metropolis in the world that has significant vineyards within the city limits.

Vines are grown there by about 400 growers on an area of about 700 hectares, with white wine in 80 percent of the area and red wine in 20 percent. Vineyards are planted with rose bushes, which indicate mold infestation earlier than grapevines, and growers can react more quickly.

About 20.000 hectoliters of wine are produced in Vienna each year.

Most of Vienna’s wine is sold locally. Vienna’s culture of taverns serving young Heuriger wine is part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage as of 2019.

Eighteen-century composers dubbed the Viennese classics are associated with Vienna.

These include Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonio Salieri, and others. Also associated with the city are Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss - father and son, Franz Lehar, Gustav Mahler, and others.

Vienna is home to Austria’s famous Wiener Philharmoniker orchestra and the Wiener Sangerknaben boys’ choir.

Every year on 1st January, the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concerts are broadcast from Vienna. The concerts have been continuously performed every year since the beginning of World War II and are mainly dedicated to composers from the Strauss family.

Vienna is home to the oldest university in the German-speaking are - the University of Vienna, founded on 12th March 1365.

The university was founded by Rudolf IV, and the modern organization of the university was introduced by Franz Joseph. The university library has more than 2 million volumes. At the University of Vienna, Galeazzo de Sancta Sophia of Padua and his Austrian student J. Aygel conducted the first groundbreaking autopsies in 1365.

The oldest secondary school in Vienna is the Akademisches Gymnasium, founded in 1553.

The capital is also home to Austria’s largest technical university, the Technical University, founded in 1815 by Franz II Habsburg.

Vienna is home to one of the two largest teaching hospitals in the world-the Allhemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien.

With its scientific achievements and worldwide reputation, the AKH Public Hospital attracts numerous congresses to Vienna. The world’s smallest inner ear implant was implanted at this hospital. Four doctors at this hospital won four Nobel Prizes in the 20th century.

The Museum of Art history in Vienna, opened in 1891, contains a collection of paintings of European painting from the 15th to 18th centuries, including works by Pieter Bruegel, Rubens, Titan, Rembrandt, Velázquez, among others.

The Neubau district (7) is home to the 90.000-square-meter Museum Quartier (Museum Quarter) architectural complex, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. More than three million tourists visit it annually.

The Austrian capital also houses one of the largest technology museums in Europe-Technisches Museum Wien.
The first completed building on the Ring was the Vienna State Opera.

The opera house opened on 25th May 1869, with a production of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.”

Vienna has the largest public park in central Europe and one of the largest in the world, the Wiener Prater.

Emperor Joseph II made the former Habsburg hunting grounds available to the public in 1766, which gave rise to the park. It currently covers an area of about 1700 hectares. The Prater is home to a sports stadium and a funfair, which is Europe’s largest amusement park. Near the entrance to the park is a large-scale carousel in the form of a Ferris wheel. It is one of the oldest devices of its kind-erected in 1897.

On 9th August 1918, the flight over Vienna took place - a propaganda action by Italian pilots who, during World War I, dropped propaganda leaflets in the districts of Vienna, calling on the Austrians to end the war.

This flight had no military significance, only propaganda, both in Italy and abroad. In addition to the dropped leaflets, the pilot took about 60 aerial photos of Vienna. The inhabitants of the city collected leaflets and their price immediately after the raid was 20 crowns and more. Policemen and soldiers also collected them, and the press reminded them that possessing them was high treason. A few days after the raid, leaflets became more expensive and their price was 100 crowns.

The historic city center, full of monuments from all historical eras, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.

Vienna is one of the most visited cities in Europe.

The history of the waltz, also known as the “Viennese” waltz, is also connected with Vienna.

Its existence as a salon dance began in 1815, during the Congress of Vienna (due to the numerous balls that accompanied it, it was ironically called the “dancing congress”). When this faster version of the waltz (tempo: approx. 60 bars/min), full of fast swirls, was danced in front of the court in Vienna for the first time, the reactions were different. Ladies ostentatiously left the ballroom, considering it immoral to embrace each other in public while dancing, others believed that constant spinning while dancing could cause various diseases and even lead to death. Despite these reservations, until the mid-19th century, the Viennese waltz was an integral part of balls at courts in almost all of Europe, except for England and Switzerland, where it was long forbidden. The music created by Johannes Strauss (Imperial Waltz, The Blue Danube) had a special contribution to the development of the waltz. The Viennese waltz is the oldest competition standard dance.

In the 19th century, a chocolate cake was created in Vienna by Franz Sacher, which is a kind of showcase of the city, and its characteristic elements.

In 1832, in the chef’s absence, the junior cook at Prince Matternich’s court, Franz Sacher, was ordered to create a new dessert for the prince and his guests. He then developed a recipe for a chocolate cake layered with apricot marmalade and covered with chocolate icing. To this day, this cake is called the “king of desserts” by many. Currently, the Sacher Hotel has the exclusive right to use the name “Sacher Torte,” and the recipe for the original cake is the hotel’s best-kept secret.

One of the most famous addresses in Bienna is Berggasse 19-the house and now the Museum of Sigmund Freud.

For almost half a century (1891-1938), Sigmund Freud lived and worked in a classic tenement house in Vienna’s Hochgrunderzeit. During these years, Freud’s family moved many times to different floors of the tenement house. The greatest works were created here (“The Interpretation of Dreams,” “On Psychoanalysis,” “Ego and Id” and others). The famous Psychological Society of Wednesdays-the first psychoanalytic study group was held here. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, Freud had to escape from Vienna to London, where he died at the age of 83 (suffering from cancer)-he ended his life with an overdose of morphine with the help of a doctor friend.

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