Beautiful was the only word I heard
used to describe Vienna before I came here. And after living
in Vienna for five months, I have to agree with that. From
the palaces and the museums to the city hall, and the vineyards
surrounding the city, this remarkable city really is beautiful.
However, there is much that encompasses this beauty, and it
comes from its centuries-old culture and natural landscape.
Vienna is in the northeastern part of Austria with the Danube
River running through the city. As the country’s capital,
it has a population of approximately 1.7 million. In addition,
Vienna is a major cultural center in Europe, and the music capital
of the world. Geographically, the city is divided into 23 districts,
of which the first district is in the center and then the districts
spiral out. The first district is inside “the ring” in
which all roads and major trams circle. The city center has most
of the major historical sites, including Museums Quartier, Rathaus,
Parliament, the state opera, the city park, the Hofburg Imperial
Palace and gardens, and St. Stephan’s Cathedral.
In the very center of the city lies St. Stephan’s Cathedral,
the place where I generally would begin all tours and visits.
From there I often take friends up one of the main shopping streets
towards Karlsplatz where the state opera is located. Just down
the street on the ring is Stadt Park, the city park—famous
for many statues of composers. Following along the ring is the
University of Vienna, Parliament, and Rathaus—the city
hall of Vienna. Major events, from concerts and film festivals
during the summer to Christmas markets and iceskating in the
winter, take place there all year around.
A subway trip away is Shonbrunn Park, home to Shonbrunn Palace
and a part of the UNESCO’s world heritage list. The park
also includes a zoo, botanical gardens, and access to the palace.
Since being under the Habsburgs rule in the 1500’s, the
site has been continuously renovated; many different rulers have
lived there and created many different expansion projects.
Finally, surrounding the city are the vineyards in the northwestern
part of the city. Even my apartment in the 17th district is only
a 10-minute walk from a vineyard. During the fall people take
hikes throughout the vineyards and dine at small restaurants
that overlook the city.
Vienna is a city full of postcard scenes at almost every turn,
as the city has been created through centuries of different architectural
styles. Easily accessible by buses, trams, and subways connecting
you to every place in Vienna, it’s possible to see the
But, the sights are only a part of what makes this city so beautiful.
Visiting here—and more so living here—has the feel
of what most people envision as being “European.” With
operas, ballets, ball season, seasonal festivals, spending hours
in coffee houses, and attending mass regularly in cathedrals,
it’s impossible to not be in awe of day to day life in
Vienna. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement
and the culture of the city. In fact, it makes it that much harder
A historic city, a romantic city, and very unique, Vienna is