Originally built in 1620, this Baroque-styled Roman Catholic Church is certainly one of Vienna's most ornate in décor. In the early 1700's the Italian architect, Andrea Pozzo, redesigned the church and sculpted it into what you can see today. The pulpit features the Apostle Matthew in amazingly beautiful detail, the sanctuary is decorated with marble columns, intricately carved pews, and a spectacular domed and painted ceiling. This is a must see for all those who adore religious architecture and art!
Designed and built at the end of the 19th Century by Gottfried Semper and Karl Hasenauer, the Kunsthistorisches Museum houses the Habsburg family's art collection, widely regarded to be one of the finest in Europe. The Picture Gallery is literally a Who's Who of the old masters, containing works by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Dürer, Raphael, Titian and Velazquez, as well as a comprehensive collection of paintings by Breugel. One visit is hardly enough to take everything in - lots of people return for a second or third time. The Ephesus Museum - a collection of arms and armour - and the collection of ancient musical instruments in the Imperial Palace also belong to the Kunsthistorisches Museum and are worthy of a visit in their own right.
Schönbrunn Palace in its present form is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, hosting thousands of visitors a week. This Rococo Palace was finished in 1700 under Leopold I and is a smaller version of an imperial project first planned by Johann Fischer von Erlach. The palace was renovated and extended under Maria Theresia, and at that time had 2,000 rooms, a chapel and its own theater. Like all the imperial buildings associated with Maria Theresia, the Schönbrunn complex is today painted in yellow. Napoleon lived here from 1805 to 1809, and Emperor Francis Joseph I, who was born here in 1830, spent the last years of his life in the palace.
St. Stephen's Cathedral is considered one of the world's most enchanting Gothic cathedrals. A 12th-century construction, it was renovated in the Gothic style between 1304 and 1433. It's Northern Tower, standing at a height of 70 meters (229.6 feet), was redesigned according to Renaissance aesthetics in 1579 and the interior was given a baroque slant following the Counter-Reformation. St. Stephen's Cathedral's famed bell, the "Pummerin," weighing no less than 21 tons, suffered considerable fire damage in World War II. It has since been repaired and is now used to mark special occasions, such as to ring in the new year. For those who wish to explore a different side of the cathedral, guided tours of the underground crypts are available.
In 1752, Francis Stephen Lothringen, the husband of Empress Maria Theresia, founded Vienna's zoo in Schönbrunn. In former times the menagerie served as an entertainment and educational location for the court. Today, one of the main reasons behind the Tiergarten Schönbrunn's popularity is that it is one of the few zoos in the world that houses giant pandas. Some of the baroque style buildings are still used and some new enclosures have also been added. The Imperial Breakfast Pavilion in the historical center of the layout is the starting point for zoo walks. A visit to the zoo is the perfect family entertainment, especially on the weekends.
The magnificent Opernhaus am Ring, famous first and foremost for its annual high society ball, hosts productions of the very highest quality by the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Ballet Company and a host of world famous opera singers and directors. However, the opera house started its days on a less auspicious note, with architect Eduard van der Nüll committing suicide in 1868 because of intense public criticism of his design. The Opera House opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in 1869, and has been going strong ever since.
The architect Friedensreich Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser is very well known to tourists for the municipal lodgings he has built in the Löwengasse. His style presents color, nature, and a belief that nothing should ever be even! The suitability of the embellishments to the chimney of the neighboring heating plant was the subject of much discussion in Vienna. Finally, the plant's roof was crowned with a big hat, typical of Hundertwasser's work. It's a very bright, colorful building - well worth a look.
As the Praterstraße broadens out into the Praterstern junction, you will notice a splendid 16m high column topped by the statue of Admiral Tegetthoff, the Austro-Hungarian Empire's most glorious naval hero. The work of architect Karl von Hasenauer and sculptor Carl Kundmann, the column was built to celebrate Tegetthoff's 1866 victory over the Italians in the Battle of Lissa, with the columns of Place Vendôme and Trafalgar Square very much in mind.
Named after the Maltese Order, this church was built during the 14th century and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Malteserkirche reveals traditional architecture rich in Gothic, Baroque and Classisism elements. Besides it's awe-inspiring interior decor, visitors can enjoy musical performances featuring the works of such greats as Mozart, Bach and Haydn.
Improvised theater is always a hit-or-miss proposition. In the wrong hands, improv can be stultifyingly dull. Thankfully, this Vienna troupe has been at it for decades, honing their chops and divining the absolute best routes toward laughter and emotion. See website for schedule and more.
Kirche Gaußplatz is a Catholic church which was built in 1948. It is a complete wooden structure, and shows traces of Gaussian architecture. The interior of the parish is beautifully carved by sculptor Gretchen Einberger and in the middle of the foyer stands the crucifix dating back to the time the church was first built.The church sometimes hosts choir and concerts in its premises and provides a nice atmosphere for light jazz music.