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Guided Vienna Tour - Districts 1 & 4

Updated: Feb 24

Today is the day I get to explore Vienna's charm in the 1st and 4th districts on a nice little city tour; a perfect blend of history and culture with my certified and experienced tour guide Mrs. Ilse Heigerth from Austria.

We started the tour from Hotel Amauris Vienna, and proceeded to walk along the Music Concert Hall a venue termed the Vienna Music Society, or Musikverein Wien, a renowned classical music venue with a packed program including local & international performers, and then to Wien Museum Karlsplatz, a quaint Museum with exhibits on city's history from Roman times to the present, plus art by Klimt & Schiele. We next saw St. Charles's Church, which is otherwise known as the Karlskirche, an extraordinary 18th-century Habsburg domed cathedral with a 32.5-meter platform for views of the ornate frescoes.

We next walked past the Vienna University of Technology (Technische Universität Wien)

a University with a grand 19th-century main building, known for its science & engineering programs, where Vivaldi was buried... we then traversed into the environs of Naschmarkt, which is a local flea market with a bevy of antiques, artwork, household goods, used books and records along with restaurants, cafes, groceries and market. Next on the journey was the Secession Building with a lovely golden dome (full of domes in Vienna yah!), an exhibition hall that features the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt and nouveau artists.

Vienna State Opera was the next pit-stop, aka as the Wiener Staatsoper, absolutely marvellous and since it was Ball Season in Vienna, there are famous Vienna Ball sessions almost every night here, during end-January 2024. It truly is a world-famous opera house offering major productions, original decor & multilingual guided tours.

The route brought us to the Albertina museum, a 19th-century Habsburg palace with staterooms & collections of old master prints & 20th-century art, with a whole collection of Monet, Picasso and many artists (a separate post on this will be showcased)

At this juncture, Ilse showed me a nice traditional cafe which she liked, called the Cafe Tirolerhof, which I actually visited as well, to assess the quality and standard within a Viennese traditional cafe setting, complete with elderly and family types from Vienna and of course, tourists (but not too many of them) and it was at the junction that I chanced upon Joseph Brot, which is a well-designed modern trendy and happening" cafe chain complete with cakes, pastries and bread, jam, all sorts, and a hidden secret that only the Viennese know... so I like this sort of "chance-upon" opportunities..

Imperial Crypt otherwise known as the Kapuzinergruft, which sits along Neuer Markt, is a dynamic Crypt structure beneath the Capuchin Church housing tombs of Hapsburg royalty, including emperors & empresses. Cafe Frauenbuber, one of the oldest Viennese Cafe appeared next on our route coverage, and also we passed by Mozart's last demise location and also Mythos Mozart (a special post will feature this attraction).

Krapfens are huge culinary delights in Vienna, and there are multiple places that offer this like Cafe Demel, which is a graceful 1786 salon that serves specialties such as cream cakes, scones & strudels, with a cool shady terrace. Featured here is the Butterkrapfen - there are many types of krapfens, all over Vienna, and they are SO Yummy!

We walked along the Kohlmarkt - the most prestigious shopping zone in downtown Vienna – also called the “Golden U” – which stretches from Hofburg Palace and Kohlmarkt via Graben to Kärntner Strasse. Formerly the location of numerous court-appointed jewelers, international luxury brands such as Cartier, Chopard, Tiffany (nice), Bulgari and Wellendorff are some of the high caliber brands we can find here, along with

a high density of jewelers, upscale stores and branches of international fashion labels.

St. Stephen's Cathedral or Domkirche St. Stephan is the tallest church and most iconic attraction that is a Medieval Roman Catholic place of worship with an ornate spire, catacombs & a treasury museum, with the North and South Tower. We went up the North Tower and captured a spectacular view of the entire city, along with some wineries in the distant hills, which apparently is a superb place to chill in summer.

St. Stephen's Cathedral is the symbol of Vienna and also the very center of the city. At 136 meters in height, it is the tallest church in Austria. The tallest of its four towers is the south tower at 136 meters. The tower room, from which there is a gigantic view across Vienna, is reached via 343 steps. A total of 13 bells hang here. However, the best known of them, the Pummerin hangs in the 68 meter-tall north tower. It is the second-biggest free-swinging chimed church bell in Europe. On the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral, colorful roof tiles were laid to create the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna.

We walked along the Graben, that is one of the most famous squares in Vienna's first district, the city center. It begins at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz next to the Palais Equitable, and ends at the junction of Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben and also sighted the iconic Trinity column, the Pestsäule, which is a highly important monument along this stretch of the pathway. Situated in the Graben in Vienna, it was built as a result of Emperor Leopold I's vow in 1679 to erect such a memorial in honour of the Holy Trinity in order to hasten the end of the plague.

The grandest building of them all, Hofburg Palace was next and this Habsburg palace complex is superb, magnificent and truly iconic adorned with ornate, baroque interiors, imperial apartments & a silver museum. The Hofburg is the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty in Austria. Located in the centre of Vienna, it was built in the 13th century and expanded several times afterwards. It also served as the Imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence. Since 1946, it is the official residence and workplace of the president of Austria.

It is also known as the The Imperial Palace and has been the heart of power in Vienna since 1279. Visitors can catch a glimpse of Hofburg Palace’s Imperial past and aristocratic life; the illustrious quarters; the richly decorated Imperial apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the lavish silver collections

Founded in 2004, the Sisi Museum is dedicated to the enigmatic Empress Elisabeth. The wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth (called Sisi), was an unconventional and spirited woman who never quite fit into the courtly society in the capital. During her life, she was the object of fascination, rumour, and admiration, and after her tragic death by assassination in 1898, the myth of Sisi only grew. Featuring over 300 hundred objects, this museum gives guests an insight into her eventful life and death while dismantling the myth in order to reveal the woman underneath.

We also passed by the Imperial Apartments and the Spanish Riding School (a dedicated post on this lovely attraction and the training of the Lipizzaner horses will be shared).

We proceeded to traverse the mighty grounds of the Heldenplatz, complete with its definite posture of public square & gardens which stood right in front of the old imperial Hofburg Palace, with imposing statues all over. Many significant events and activities take place at this location, even to present day.

We then traversed the Volksgarten, which is huge park in the City of Vienna, and Strauss & Lanner once played in this manicured public park with temples, fountains & rose gardens. We then saw the Austrian Parliament - Parlament Österreich, which conduct guided tours of the lavish chambers (for visitors) in this imposing neoclassical building and comes equipped with a visitor center.

The Rathaus or City Hall at the Rathausplatz is an amazing building and my favourite in Vienna, and the area consists of a 19th-century park with statues, mature trees & fountains, plus summer cinema & winter ice rink (and we could see locals ice skating around this rink - just so comforting and fun!) - this is the local venue and Hhome to several of Vienna’s biggest events, including the Christkindlmarkt, Rathaus Film Festival, and Vienna Ice World. Nearby, we also saw the Café Landtmann which is yet another iconic and popular Classic cafe-restaurant with an illustrious clientele from Freud to McCartney, and comes with a shaded terrace.

For a beautiful tour guiding experience in Vienna, pls contact:

Ms Ilse Heigerth

Company : Red Umbrella

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