Vienna

I saw a lot of Europe back in 2006, unfortunately before I had a decent camera or ability to use it. I did enjoy a weekend in Vienna though, home to some wonderful museums and architecture, making up for grey October weather.

To avoid the obvious and start with the places that I remember enjoying the most at the time (though memory is notoriously unreliable…). The Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History) was one of the best I’ve visited, filled with every kind of animal stuffed and put on display. The distinctive coelacanth in particular caught up my eye, much larger than expected. They’re very unusual fish that were thought extinct until rediscovered in 1938.

The Museum of Military History also remains strong in my memory, thanks to the imposing building, and bloodied shirt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination triggered WW1.

Directly opposite the Naturhistorisches Museum, across Maria-Theresien-Platz, is an almost identical building home to the wonderful Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) which had an amazing collection of Bruegals, and this beautiful Vermeer. The interior was also quite stunning (though may actually have been in the Naturhistorisches Museum, they’re very similar!)

Stephansdom (St. Stephens Cathedral) is the icon of the city, with it’s distinctive roof.

Another famous church is the distinctive Baroque Karlskirche at Karlsplatz.

Not far away is the elaborate glassware shop of J. & L. Lobmeyr, founded in 1823 and still family owned.

The Wien Museum (Vienna Museum) provided a good history of Vienna, with a decent city model, and the Imperial Armoury had some wonderful suits of armour on display.

Belvedere Palace is a huge Baroque palace with extensive gardens.

Relatively close by was the historic Karlsplatz metro station, no longer in use but a lovely Art Noveau design.

To end with the other icon of the city thanks to the film The Third Man, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel. The film is still shown daily at the Burg Kino cinema. I didn’t have time to see it unfortunately, but read the book instead…

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