Vienna (Wien), Austria:
Settled In: By the Celts in 500B.C., fortified by the Romans as Vindobona in 15B.C.
Became Austrian Capital: In 1156 A.D.
Suggested Stay: 2 to 3 Full Days.
Guten Tag (Good Day) and welcome to the beautiful Austrian capital of Vienna. Our first trip to Vienna was purely on accident when a train we were taking to another city was canceled, but it let us discover one of the most underrated cities in Europe. We love Vienna’s vast history, its mighty architecture, wonderful culture, amazing museums, and of course a Viennese Ball of two.
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Top 10 Things To Do In Vienna:
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Historical Overview of Vienna:
Although Vienna’s robust history goes all the way to Celtic and Roman settlements dating back to 500B.C., it finally started hitting its stride in the Middle Ages. The city had begun to grow from a small village on the edge of the Danube Rive to a seat of power on multiple trade routes. A large wall was built to protect the compact city center and Vienna was off and running. The Hapsburg family, who first came to power in 1440, used generations of arranged marriages and consolidations of power to move the city into its Golden Age from the mid-1700s through the 1800s.
Through this Golden Age, iconic royals in the Hapsburg family like Maria Theresa and Sissi quickly boosted Vienna’s cultural influence as well. Classic music from Mozart and Strauss, events like the Viennese Ball, over the top architecture, and royal opulence made Vienna a place people wanted to be. Mix those cultural desires with the formation of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Hapsburg Dynasty and cemented their places in history. Vienna’s growth was impressive over the years and it remained the largest German speaking city in the World until about WWI. If you are confused my most locals don’t use Vienna as the name of the city it is because in German it is called Wien (pronounced “Veen“).
This diverse capital started to lose its identity when the Nazis took Austria over during WWII and much of the culture was pushed into the shadows for bland 3rd Reich rule. Through the War much of Vienna was bombed, but luckily the Nazis were forced out before total destruction. Since WWII Austria as a whole, and specifically Vienna has been having a huge renaissance. Damaged buildings have been restored, Vienna’s old town has been turned into a magically place to visit, modern transportation conveniences have like trams and subways have been added, and the city has been resorted as a retreat for Christmas markets, music, and dining. In a city that got a post-WWII reputation as being rather blah, it hasn’t taken Vienna very long to come full circle to its Golden Age roots as an amazing city to visit.