The heart of Europe – Vienna
January 1, 1970
by Ivana Lazic
The heart of Europe – Vienna
[single_map_place] Vienna [/single_map_place]
Our first trip together. Europe. The heart of Europe – Vienna. It took us almost nine hours to arrive to our desired destination. Finally we were there – in the “city of music”, the hometown of grand composers such as Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. Exhausted due to the long overnight journey, we got off the bus filled with enthusiasm for what was ahead of us.
Maria Theresa Square
We followed the tourist guide who walked through the center showing us the most important attractions of this amazing city. We started out tour from Maria Theresa Square, which is the very center of Vienna. It is situated between the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art History. Right across the street there is Museumquartier. The famous Maria Theresa monument, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, was put up in 1888 in the presence of empress Sissi. From the very beginning I noticed that the city was overflowing with tourists. Various languages could be heard at Maria Theresa Square, among them- mine, Serbian. I was so extraordinarily excited at the unknown. A new country, a new city, new people, a new language, new history- everything in front of me bore the sense of newness. And it filled me with some sort of awe and reverence. We were following the tourist guide avidly listening to the history lecture she was providing us with.
The Vienna Parliament
The next impressive attraction was The Vienna Parliament located on Wiener Ringstraße. It is one of the most visited Vienna sights. The splendid building was built in Greek style in the late 19th century.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
However, St Stephen’s Cathedral maintains overwhelming dominance in this area. Constructed in Romanesque and Gothic style, it makes this place even more appealing and attractive. It is the most significant religious building in Vienna.
Hofburg Palace is worth mentioning, as well. It traces its history back to the 13th century when it was built and over the centuries it housed a lot of important people, among them monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty. This sumptuous palace was the royal winter residence whereas the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace was their summer residence.
Learn more about Hofburg Palace here:
There is a park next to Hofburg Palace. Since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was tightly connected to Vienna, it is no surprise to see his statues in beautiful Vienna. One of them is located just here, at Burggarten park.
Learn more about Mozart here:
So many different, amazing things to see. So many diverse stories about amazing people. I rushed to see more, to know more, to get more. Thoroughly immersed in what the guide was talking about, I hardly found the time to take some photos there. I was not a photographer at the time, however. I was just a tourist. My photos were not great, but they were dear and they still are since that was my first adventure abroad.To be honest, I did not expect Vienna to be so alluring. I liked it. Yes, I did. Very much. I don’t know if it is for its urbanity or royal looking or something else. What I do know is that I was lost in the grandeur of this Austrian jewel. Its insurmountable beauty overwhelmed me. I gave in.
The next day two surprises awaited us. The one was Belvedere and the other Schönbrunn Palace. Had it not been for these short excursions over the wider center of Vienna, I would not have discovered its priceless historical treasure. Belvedere consists of two Baroque palaces which are located in the vast garden in which there are ornamental fountains, a plethora of sculptures and the inspiring Baroque gate.
Learn more about Belvedere here:
Crowds of tourists flocked there to see the immense beauty of this luxurious palace bathed in the yellow rays of the afternoon Vienna sun in the late September of year 2013. Suddenly, a few white ducks attracted my attention. They were swimming in the water in front of Belvedere palace enjoying the opulence of the garden and posing for the photographs of boring tourists in a venturesome way. The alleys were adorned with a carpet of exotic and brilliantly-coloured flowers. I ran from one corner to another admiring whatever my eyes fell onto.
And last, but not the least- Schönbrunn Palace. We remained speechless at the enormity of the place in the first place. The huge palace with a museum inside is steeped in far history. As mentioned before, the palace was used as a summer residence of the ruling family. Baroque style of architecture dominates this building as well. It has 1,441 rooms and a gigantic garden with numerous fountains, sculptures, the Gloriette, the Roman ruins, the Palm house, the zoo and a lot more. Leaving Vienna without previously coming here to reveal the tremendous mansion in neoclassical style is unforgivable. We paid quite a lot of money to enter the museum which was inside the Palace, but it was worthwhile. We learnt much about Viennese dynasty. We visited the picturesque rooms of empress Sissi, saw her furniture, beauty salon and her famous long hair. The wonderful room of mirrors in which Mozart played his first performance as a child attracted my special attention. Designed completely in gold Rococo style, it is covered with huge paintings and decorated with crystal mirrors. The view is really spectacular. I felt as an empress at one moment or a Hollywood star walking over the red carpet surrounded by splendor and lavishness. What a feeling! What an excitement! The audio guide was incessantly speaking about interesting stories and I tried to listen to it meticulously even though my head was in clouds. My neck turned from one side to another making unceasing movements. Wherever it turned to, my eyes caught something interesting to see. Observation caused appreciation. And so I walked in circles, from left to right, up and down until it was time to leave. From Schönbrunn to Belgrade- directly.
Learn more about Schönbrunn Palace here:
The end of the trip
We got on the bus and headed home. A lengthy journey allowed for us to dwell on the marvel we had just seen. Looking at the copious photographs we had taken was a kind of summary of the great trip. Being in Vienna, you will get the feeling of being in Europe for it is Europe, the gist of it. Every time one travels, one learns something new. Travel broadens your mind and provides you with different perspectives on life. It shows you that you are not alone on this planet. Actually, you live in a big world and you are a global citizen. Or, you should be one.