Vienna, Austria



Sights in Vienna

A Ringstrasse Tour

Vienna's Ringstrasse or Ring Road- In the 16th century, bastions were built around the city of Vienna to serve as an even better defense than the earlier medieval walls.  In 1858 these walls were torn down to build a ring road around the central core of the city.  The area within this ring road is considered the old city of Vienna. 

Today cars and tram lines move around the city center on this ring road.  This works to the advantage of the tourist as there are many sights along the road.  Tram lines #1 and 2 make a complete circle around the city center and make a nice relaxed sightseeing venture.  Below are sights you will see on this Ringstrasse, starting at, but not including the sights of the Hofburg, and going in a clockwise direction.

Just after the Hofburg you will see the Volksgarten on your right.  This large garden is the people's garden and includes fountains, memorials, including Sisi's, and of course flowers.

On the opposite side of the street is the Parliament Building.  This building was built between 1874 and 1883 and is in the Greek style to symbolize the fact that Greece was the cradle of democracy.  There are several grand statues in front of the building which also depict democracy.

Next you see the neogothic style Rathaus or Town Hall.  This building was modeled after Brussels' Town Hall in 1872 and features a central tower that rises nearly 300 feet above the main entrance.  There are free guided tours (Monday through Friday at 1:00 PM) of the Grand State Hall, which, because of it size, can hold 1,000 dancing partners on its dance floor. 

Directly across from the Town Hall is the Burgtheather, or National Theater.  In addition to wonderful performances, a highlight is the grand staircase which features busts and statues of famous actors and ceiling frescos depicting scenes from theater history including: Dionysos Theater in Athens, the Globe Theater in London and the Molière Theater in Paris. 

Next on the left is, Vienna University's main building.  The University dates back to 1365 and today has about 80,000 students.

Soon your tram will travel along the Danube Canal where you can see buildings of modern Vienna.  As you move away from the canal you will soon see Vienna Stadtpark.  The park includes an outdoor venue for waltz concerts and performances, the Johann Strauss Memorial and the Kursalon, a popular concert coffee house.

Shortly after the park is the Music Society Building (on your left) which was built in 1867 and is accepted around the world as the concert hall with the best acoustics.  It is the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Next on the right is the Vienna State Opera House.  In a city known for its music, this is a very important building.  It was the first building built along the Ringstrasse (1861 to 1969).  Except for July and August there is a performance every night of the year.  Classical, opera and ballet fill the bill.  There are guided tours available during the day, but for an evening performance, you should buy tickets well in advance.

Shortly after the OperaHhouse you will be back to Burggarten and the Hofburg. 

Please also visit our pages on the Top Sights of Vienna, The Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palace.

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