Vienna, Capital on the Danube

According to allunitconverters, Vienna is the capital of Austria and at the same time its smallest federal state. Located on the Danube between the Vienna Woods and the Vienna Basin, the city is the dominant political, economic and cultural center of Austria. An abundance of historic buildings, world-class cultural sites and a very special flair make Vienna a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Since 1979 Vienna has been the “third UN city” alongside New York and Geneva with numerous international institutions.

Vienna lies at an altitude of around 171 m and covers an area of ​​415 km². It has 1.615 million residents (2001) and is divided into 23 municipal districts and the extra-territorial area of ​​the UN City on the left bank of the Danube. More than 20% of the country’s population live in the Vienna metropolitan area.

Cultural and economic metropolis

Vienna lies at the foot of the Vienna Woods, one of the foothills of the Eastern Alps, extends southeast into the gravel plain of the Vienna basin and extends on the left bank of the Danube into the western Marchfeld. Today’s Danube Canal corresponds to the location of the former main stream. The city is the political, economic and cultural center of the country with the seat of the federal government and parliament as well as the Viennese state government. Numerous international organizations are based in Vienna, such as the UN Special Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO)and other UN agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency and OPEC. A Catholic archbishop, a Protestant bishop and a Greek Orthodox metropolitan also reside in the city. In addition to the Alma Mater Rudolphina University, which was founded in 1365, Vienna has numerous other universities, colleges, academies and institutes. World-famous cultural sites are the State Opera and the Burgtheater. Vienna’s reputation as a city of music is borne primarily by the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Symphony. The cultural performances take place every year with the Wiener Festwochen peak in May and June. The most important of the more than 60 museums are the Albertina graphic collection, the showrooms of the Hofburg, the Museum of Art and Natural History, the Imperial Crypt, the Austrian Museum of Applied Art, to name just a few. In June 2001, the Museums Quartier Wien, one of the ten largest museum quarters in the world, was completed on the 60,000 m² site of the former imperial stables, which not only houses several museums, but also festival halls and an architecture center.

Vienna is the seat of many headquarters of major banks, savings banks, wholesalers and trade associations as well as the stock exchange. The city is also the most important industrial center in Austria with machine and steel construction, metal processing and chemical industry, food and luxury food, electrical, textile and wood industries. Vienna is the center of the Austrian fashion and applied arts industry and an important congress and trade fair city. It is a road and rail junction, has an international airport in Schwechat, several Danube ports and an underground railway.


Tourism is of paramount importance. The old imperial capital and residence of the Habsburgs is rich in historical buildings of world class. Examples are St. Stephen’s Cathedral (from the 14th century), the Karlskirche (from the 18th century) and the Hofburg (from 12th century) in the inner city, the 1st district. The circular inner city is surrounded by a ring that replaces the former fortifications in the form of a boulevard. The town hall and parliament stand on the outside as monumental buildings from the 18th century. Art Nouveau and Expressionism were pioneering for building in the early 20th century. Examples are the secession building and the Karl-Marx-Hof, a workers’ housing complex. Newer, much-visited buildings are the residential complex of FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER, the Haas-Haus near St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the converted gasometer in the industrial district of Simmering. The Schönbrunn palace complex, in whose park one of the oldest European zoos is located, the Prater with the ferris wheel and the bathing area on the Danube floodplains are further destinations not only for tourists. There are also gastronomic attractions with a long tradition, such as the coffee houses in the city center and the Heurigen restaurants on the edge of the Vienna Woods.

Brief history

Vienna goes back to the Celtic settlement Vindobona and the Roman military camp of the same name with a civil town. The settlement, from 1137 a city, developed into an important trading center in the Middle Ages. The expansion into a residence began in 1156. Important historical events were the sieges by the Turks, which were successfully repulsed each time. After the first siege in 1529, Vienna was surrounded with a fortification belt, which was only demolished in 1858. In 1683 the city was again besieged by the Turks. In the battle of the Kahlenberg the Austrians defeated the enemy army. After 1683, Vienna rose to become a baroque imperial residence and a European cultural center. It experienced rapid population growth. After the disintegration of the Danube Monarchy after the First World War, almost a third of the population of Austria lived in the now heavily industrialized city which had lost large parts of its economic hinterland. In 1922 Vienna became a separate federal state. From 1945–1955, the city captured by the Soviet army, like Berlin, was divided into four zones of occupation.

Vienna, Capital on the Danube