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Vienna, a great pick for art, history and architecture lovers


Photo: personal archive.


Vienna is one of the European capitals that certainly warrants a visit, even though it’s not as commonly sought after as Paris, London or Rome. Charming, beautiful and full of attractions to delight art, history and culture lovers, it should be on your destination list, if you haven’t visited yet.


While the pandemic is still raging and travel is not on the horizon for many, we’ve prepared for list of online resources for you to check out some of the best attractions from the comfort of your own couch.




Awe-inspiring churches


St. Stephen's Cathedral - Stephansdom


Photos: personal archive.



Right in the heart of Vienna, Stephansdom is probably the city’s most famous landmark. Building began as early as the 12th century, but the church has been renovated, damaged and rebuilt several times. The cathedral is home to the Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna, and inspired by Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It also features prominently in the history of Vienna.


Besides going inside to admire the beautiful gothic arcs, visitors can also explore the catacombs (it’s a guided tour and totally worth it!) or go up the 343 steps of the South Tower to marvel at the beautiful view of the city from the top of the tower.


Interior:


Catacombs




St. Peter's Church - Peterskirche

Photo: personal archive.


To contrast with the austerity of gothic architecture, you can visit St. Peter’s church, within walking distance of Stephansdom. Besides admiring the splendor of the baroque interior of the church, try to attend one of the pipe organ concerts that often take place there.


Photos: personal archive.


Virtual tour in 360o photos




Lavish Castles and Palaces


Schönbrunn

Photo: personal archive.


Castle Schönbrunn used to be the Summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty. The vast complex of the castle includes museums, gardens, a zoo and a maze and playground area for kids. You can easily spend an entire day at Schönbrunn. The main museum allows you to visit state rooms and private rooms that were used by the imperial family.


If you bring kids along, make sure to check the Zoo, the Children’s Museum and the Maze. It is better to visit in the Spring or Summer, so that you can experience the gardens and fountains in their full splendor (fountains are emptied and turned off until the Spring). If you have extra time to spend there, pack yourself a picnic to enjoy on the lawn in front of the Gloriette, while enjoying the gorgeous views of the Palace Gardens and the city below.

Photos: personal archive.


Virtual tour (English, French, Italian and German)

Schönbrunn collection in Google Arts and Culture

Schönbrunn 4k

Video tour showing the inside of the castle


Hofburg

Photo: personal archive.


The Hofburg Palace was built in the 12th century and served as the Winter residence of the imperial family. Today it’s the residence and seat of government of the President of Austria.


If, like me, you’ve watched the movies on Empress Sisi’s unconventional life starring Romy Schneider, you will be interested in visiting the Sisi museum located at the Palace.


Guided video tours of the Sisi Museum (in German, with subtitles in English, French or Italian)




Fun and enlightening museums


Haus der Musik - House of Music


It’s hard to think of Vienna and not remember the plethora of classical music composers that flourished in the city’s scene, like Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, to name a few. The city is also home to one of the most revered orchestras in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic.


Considering all this, it comes as no surprise that Vienna has museums dedicated to music. One of them is Haus der Musik. The museum boasts 4 floors of exhibitions, where visitors can learn about the history of music and the life and works of the great composers as well as experience sound and music interactively. You can compose your own waltz or be the conductor of a virtual version of the Vienna Philharmonic! If you have kids in tow, don’t miss out on visiting, there are several exhibits focused on kids.





Belvedere Palace


Art lovers will enjoy visiting the Belvedere Palace complex. There are 3 museums: the Lower Belvedere (presently closed for renovations), the Upper Belvedere and Belvedere 21. In the Upper Belvedere, the art is displayed in the magnificent baroque halls of the Palace. It host the largest collection of Gustav Klimt works, including the famous “The Kiss”. Belvedere 21 hosts contemporary art in a post-war modernist building.


Approximately half of the collection of the Belvedere can be seen online. Some of the text is only available in German, though (nothing Google Translate can’t handle!).


You can also find videos of guided tours, performances, artist lectures and concerts here, in German or English.





Natural History Museum of Vienna

Photo: personal archive.


I really enjoy visiting natural history museums: they mix history and science and are usually a good pick for kids.


Photo: personal archive.


Vienna’s Natural History Museum has the added bonus of being located in a gorgeous baroque building from the 19th century. If you visit, make sure to stop by the café: the vaulted ceilings are magnificent!


Photo: personal archive.


The museum’s collection spans over 250 years and contains, among others, objects brought to Austria through famous expeditions ordered by the Emperor in the 19th century to all corners of the world. Brazilians will be delighted to know that one of these famous expeditions accompanied princess Leopoldine of Austria on occasion of her wedding to D. Pedro I.


Photo: personal archive.


You can make a virtual visit to the museum at Google Arts and Culture and check the official YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages (in German). Here you will also find games and other virtual resources (German only).



Last but not least


Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (National Library of Austria) - Prunksaal (State Hall)

Photo: personal archive.


I’m a big fan of libraries (check my favorite ones here) and the National Library in Vienna is one of the prettiest. It’s the largest library of Austria and there are 5 museums you can visit there. If you have time for nothing else, make sure to at least walk around the State Hall. You can do it in about 30 minutes and marvel at the beauty of the baroque hall.


Photo: personal archive.


You can visit the State Hall online here.



Vienna State Opera


Photo: personal archive.


Opera and music lovers will enjoy visiting one of the most famous opera houses in the world: the Vienna State Opera. Home to over 50 opera and ballet productions per year, the Vienna Opera is a beautiful example of renaissance revival architecture.


It’s possible to watch some of the amazing performances online, through streaming. You just need to register and pick your chosen production from the calendar.


You can also experience the Opera virtually:

Behind the scenes, in 360o video

Interior panorama, in 360o photos

Virtual visit in Google Arts and Culture




These are just a few of the many delights Vienna offers! We tried to provide you with interesting resources to experience them from home, while you wait for better times to travel.


Did you enjoy your virtual visit to Vienna? Which other cities would you like to visit virtually?




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