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by Natalie Rooks, staff writer
 

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 entire city.
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 to leave.
A historic city, a romantic city, and very unique, Vienna is absolutely beautiful.




 

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