Thursday, June 28, 2007


"Anyway, down I came, all the way to old Vienna, happy as a lark and without a dime", line of Holly Martins character in the film The Third Man.

Vienna is a cosmopolitan city with 2,000 years of history. Founded by the Romans, it has played an important role in the history of Europe during the Holy Roman Empire, later as the capital of the Empire of Austria and Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century and as the capital of the Republic of Austria in the 20th century. Besides, Vienna has been a center of arts and music for centuries.

Vienna was the initial point of an itinerary made by train in Austria and Switzerland in May 2007. The historical center can be explored on foot or by using the excellent network of public transportation which can take you everywhere in the city.

Situated at the historical center of the city, the Hofburg - the former winter palace of the Habsburgs - is a complex of buildings constructed in different times since the 13th century. There you can find the imperial apartments of the archduke Franz Joseph and his wife the archduchess Elisabeth of Bavaria (the Sissi) as well as a museum especially dedicated to Sissi.

The Church of the Augustinians is situated at the Hofburg complex. Throughout history, several royal weddings have taken place there, like the weddings of Maria Antoinette and Louis XVI of France, Marie-Louise of Austria and Napoleon (by proxy) and Franz Joseph and Elisabeth of Bavaria (the Sissi).

The Kunsthistorisches Museum, close to the Hofburg, possesses an extraordinary collection of art gathered by the Habsburgs. The museum houses works of art of great European masters, besides an exceptional collection of Egyptian and Greek ancient art.

The cathedral of St. Stephan, in the historical center, began to be built in the 12th century. It is one of the symbols of Vienna. The cathedral has suffered with fires and wars throughout its existence. During the Second World War, the construction was damaged by bombings. It was reopened in 1948 after works of restoration.

The Belvedere Palace, southeast of the historical center, houses an extraordinary gallery of art of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The sumptuous Schonbrunn Palace, situated outside the historical center, was built to be the summer palace of the Habsburgs. There, the archduke Franz Joseph was born and lived his last days. During his long reign, he occupied the imperial apartments with his wife, the archduchess Elisabeth of Bavaria (the Sissi).

The palace is situated amongst a giant garden, inspired in the Versailles Palace. A peculiar construction in marble, the "Gloriette", stands out in the gardens of the palace.

Situated at the Prater amusement park, the "Riesenrad" giant wheel is one the symbols of Vienna. It has been going around since 1897 and reaches 67 meters at its highest point.

Vienna is not, essentially, a photogenic city. Nevertheless, impressive public buildings around the historical center offer great motives for capturing exceptional images.

Other Voyages:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tour 2007

In May 2007, I crossed Austria and Switzerland by train from Vienna to Geneva, following an itinerary among an exuberant natural environment - a photographer's dream come true...

The next posts will describe the trip which left pleasant memories and thousands of photographs that will need months to be organized.

Have a good trip!

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