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Things to do Austria
Vienna is the capital and the largest city in Austria, serving as the political, cultural, and economic center of the country. It started out as a Celtic settlement on the banks of the Danube and became one of the Roman's most important central European bases. Its central location on the strategic river contributed to the city becoming a mighty empire, reaching its peak during the tumultuous reign of the dazzling Hapsburg dynasty. This resulted in Vienna evolving into many styles oscillating between classicism and modernity, and ranging from elaborate baroque monuments to twentieth century innovations.
It is noteworthy to mention that music, in Vienna is part of the culture and heritage. Therefore, Viennese musical inspiration has continued for centuries, from one great composer to the next, from Haydn to Mozart, from Mozart to Beethoven, from Beethoven to Schubert and onward far into the twentieth century. Today the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Opera House help keep alive the city's tradition by offering more classical music performances than any other city in the world.
In addition, Vienna has a strong tradition as a major conference site which dates back to the year 1800s. This destination hosted the peace talks following the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Following that time, Vienna has established itself as a leading conference location and is a favored destination for conferences, conventions, exhibitions, meetings and more for delegates throughout the world. It has the infrastructure and professionalism required to hold a successful conference or convention.
The Imperial Palace in Hofburg was the seat of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation for as much as 600 years. It also encompasses twenty two separate museums which include: Volkerkunde museum, Schatzkammer, Nationalbibliothek, Albertina, Theater museum, Prunksaal, Lippizaner museum, Spanische Hofreischule and Keiserappartments and many others. In addition to these, the Hofburg complex offers tourists many places to see and explore. There are two public gardens; they are the Volksgarten and the Burggarten. There is also a riding school called The Winter Riding School where you can view the Lippizzaner stallions. We can mention also The Butterfly Garden a large area full of greenhouses and wherein the visitor can go to the Albertina which contain one of the finest art collections and the Prunksaal Baroque library the largest in Europe. The Burgkapelle or Hofburg chapel is open on Sundays to the Vienna Boys Choir. The Treasury (Schatzkammer) is also one of the most visited places in Hofburg. It holds many ecclesiastical items, including the Holy Lance (reputed to be the lance that was used to savage Jesus during his crucifixion), as well as other religious relics and art.
Vienna’s classical concert repertoire is dominated by two great concert halls: Vienna Musikverein and Vienna Konzerthaus. Millions of music lovers all over the world are familiar with the Vienna Musikverein as a traditional concert venue. Here, from its Golden Hall, the annual New Year’s Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic is telecast internationally. An additional center of concert life is the Vienna Konzerthaus with its art nouveau ambiance. Its musical scope is not limited to the classical repertoire but ranges from the middle Ages to the most progressive sounds of the present time.
The Belvedere has something for all tastes and all budgets. Indeed, the gardens of the belvedere provide a pleasant stroll of the upper Belvedere. The Belvedere is divided into Upper and Lower sections. The former one holds the permanent collection while the latter contain the temporary exhibits. Speaking of that amazing art, the Klimts brought into light the gallery , but there are also some good Schieles and Kokoschka and the Market in Cairo by Mueller which are just amazing. The sculptures by Messerschmidt are also something not to be missed. There are also numerous paintings of Vienna and you can see how much (or how little) the city has changed over the centuries.
Graz is the second largest city in Austria after Vienna. It is located on the Mur River, in the southeast part of the country. The 2003 European Capital of Culture has a lot to offer to tourists and business travelers. This destination combines a great modern life and historical architecture in a beautiful mix of past and present, providing a wide range of historical monuments, churches, squares, impressive buildings, museums and galleries. The most popular site is undoubtedly the Old Town which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list due to the blend of typical buildings from different time periods and architectural styles. Several festivals, street theater and jazz summer nights enrich the cultural scene in addition to the Graz opera, theaters and philharmonic orchestras.
Moreover, Graz is an ideal setting for successful meetings, international conventions, incentives and corporate activities. More than 120 international congresses, with over 40 000 participants from all over the world, take place in Graz every year. The event organisers are highly enthusiastic about the beautiful Old Town, the attractive cultural program, the quality and diversity of the restaurants and the excellent infrastructure of the conference venues.
Graz Cathedral (Domkirche)
The cathedral is considered one of the top sights in Graz. Built by the Emperor Frederick III in the XVth, this impressive Gothic church stands on the site of an earlier XIIth century cathedral dedicated to St Giles. Graz Cathedral is in an excellent state of preservation. Its main doorway is decorated with the coat of arms of Frederick III. Inside the edifice, you can see Gothic frescoes depicting scenes from the plague. The wide nave is separated from the choir by a narrow triumphal arch, flanking which are two fine reliquaries of 1477. The choir is dominated by the high altar of colored marble.
Riegersburg Castle is a remarkable landmark in Graz. This majestic fortress was built over eight hundred and fifty years ago on a volcanic hill, which overlooks the lush vineyards of Southeast Styria. First mentioned in 1138, the edifice was expanded in the XVIth and XVIIth centuries and became a frontier fortress guarding against the Turks. Today, it houses two historical museums, one devoted to witches and witch hunts and the other to the castle itself and its former occupants.
The Schlossberg is a hill located on the east bank of the river Mur. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Graz, rising up to a height of 375m over the city center. At the top of the hill are a castle and a 28-meter clock tower, one of the landmarks of Styria’s capital. This site offers various panoramic viewpoints overlooking Graz. In springtime, it impresses with fresh green, in summer welcomes with shady trees and open-air performances, in autumn provides visitors with a blaze of colors, and in winter one can escape to it from the dull routine in the city.
Austrian Open-Air Museum
Founded in 1962, the Austrian Open-Air Museum is among the ten largest open-air museums in Europe and the only one in the world dedicated to farm architecture from all over Austria over a period of six centuries. Around 100 historic rural buildings, spread across an extensive 60 hectare-area, offer a unique overview of the wide range of Austrian rural architectural styles and cultures.
Salzburg is located on the northern border of Austria, 113km southeast of Munich, in a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains. It has a reputation for beauty and refinement that makes it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Central Europe, welcoming hundreds and thousands of visitors throughout the year. Salzburg is a picturesque city with small alleyways, quaint colorful town houses, rich castles and palaces, with styled gardens and a large number of churches and monasteries. Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you can satisfy many hours exploring its streets, and trips to the outlying countryside reveal some of the best alpine views in the world.
Moreover, Salzburg is most certainly a city of music, home and birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, known for its annual cultural Festival which offers a variety of operas, concerts and theatrical plays, ranging from classical to contemporary styles. Even the non-musically minded will find it difficult to avoid Mozart's impression on the town, his image is on every postcard and chocolate box and both his birthplace and family house are now museums offering detailed insight into his life and work. In addition, Salzburg is an ideal business travel destination. For years, the city has been placing emphasis on consolidating its status as a stage for international congress tourism. The style and standard of venues vary and range from small meeting rooms to large conference centers.
Hohensalzburg Castle was constructed by Archbishop Gebhard in the XIth and was significantly enlarged by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach between 1495 and 1519 and has become one of the largest, fully-preserved fortresses in central Europe. Throughout Hohensalzburg’s long and colorful history, the castle was never conquered by enemy troops and remains one of the few castles to achieve this status in Austria. Its interior was richly decorated and intricate Gothic wood-carvings and ornamental paintings used to decorate the Golden Hall and the Golden Chamber. The 58 insignia and coats of arms with the beetroot are in memory of Leonhard von Keutschach. Today the fortress is open to the public all year round and artists from around the world meet here for courses at the International Summer Academy. Besides, the medieval rooms, the romantic courtyard and the bastions regularly serve as scenery for events like the Fortress Concerts.
The Salzburg Museum is one of the most visited museums in Salzburg, featuring insights into the city’s history, art and culture. Displays cover Salzburg’s development from the Bronze Age to a medieval town to the baroque city which has been designated as a World Heritage Site. This includes the period up until 1803, when the important principality of Salzburg was ruled by Archbishops. The museum houses an important collection of paintings by romantic artists of the early XIXth century. These, coupled with the fame Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart brought to the city, formed a basis for Salzburg’s growth as a tourist destination and cultural Mecca. Other highlights include amazing archeological finds, such as the world-famous Celtic beaked pitcher, the Bronze Age helmet and Austria’s only painted house wall from Roman times.
The house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on the January 27, 1756 is now one of the most frequently visited museums in the world. In the newly designed permanent exhibition spread over three floors, visitors can learn about the details of Mozart's life. The first floor is dedicated to everyday life at home and whilst travelling. XVIIIth century travel utensils, everyday items, original documents, and paintings tell of the Mozart family's circumstances in Salzburg and abroad. One room is furnished with original furniture from the ‘time of Mozart’, recreating the atmosphere of the age. The exhibition on the second floor focuses on Mozart as a composer of operas. There are historic and contemporary set models and designs, as well as costumes, to be seen, and excerpts from his famous operas to be heard. On the third floor of the former residence of the Mozart family, the individual family members are introduced. This is also the location of the famous ‘birth room’, in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came into the world.
Klagenfurt, the charming capital of Austria's most southern province Carinthia, is located on Lake Woerthersee, one of Europe's largest and warmest alpine lakes. The city boasts one of Austria’s prettiest old towns and was thrice awarded the prestigious Europa Nostra Diploma for its lovingly restored arcaded Renaissance courtyards which today accommodate modern boutiques, trendy bars, and rustic beer gardens. Picturesque landscape of rolling hills with numerous buildings of historical significance can be found here. Klagenfurt is also well worth a visit because of its many parks and the lake Wörthersee, as well as Gothic style architecture. Besides many cultural activities, the town also offers various gastronomy and reams of shops and boutiques.
In addition, Klagenfurt is an ideal destination for business tourists. It is the venue for countless conventions, congresses, meetings etc. The Klagenfurt exhibition centre is one of Carinthia's most popular event locations, welcoming some 150 guest events, from concerts and TV shows, product presentations and exhibitions to conferences and meetings, every year.
Southeast of the Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt rises the Cathedral, built by the Protestant Estates of Carinthia in the XVIth century. The interior is well preserved and adorned with stucco. The paintings that decorate the ceiling date from the XVIIIth century; adjacent to the cathedral is an interesting museum containing a remarkable collection of religious art from the XIIth to the XVIIIth centuries. Sculpture, tapestries, jewelry, artwork, and stained glass are on display here, including the oldest extant stained-glass window in the country, a portrait of Mary Magdalene from 1170. Some works of art in the museum are truly remarkable, including one-of-a-kind pieces such as a rare processional cross made of iron with traces of gilt dating from the XIIth century.
Landesmuseum displays Carinthia's history from prehistoric times to the present. At this museum one can see various Roman artifacts, featuring some votive stones, gleaned from excavations in Carinthia. The XVth century and XVIth century are represented by numerous works of religious art, including the outstanding St Veit altarpiece. The most notable feature is an exhibition of ecclesiastical art. Moreover, here one can behold the skull of a rhinoceros, said to have been a model for the famous Dragon Fountain in Neuer Platz.
Minimundus is a miniature amusement park in Austria , covering an area of 2.6 hectares. More than 170 models of the most beautiful buildings in the world are displayed in this open-air park such as the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, St Mark's Basilica in Venice, using original material. These copies are so precise that some monuments can take up to five years to be completed.
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