Alternate meanings: See places and things called after Vienna

Vienna (German official name: Wien, Hungarian: Bécs, Czech: Vídeň, Slovak: Viedeň, Serbian Beč ) is the capital of Austria, and also one of Austria's nine federal statess (Bundesland Wien). It is situated on the river Danube, and is surrounded by the Austrian federal state of Lower Austria. With a population of about 1.8 million, Vienna is the largest city and the cultural and political centre of Austria.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency are situated in Vienna.

The Austrian state of Vienna on the map of Austria

Table of contents
1 History
2 Districts
3 Intellectual Life
4 Culture
5 Events
6 External links


Vienna was originally a Celtic city founded around 500 BC. In 15 BC, it became a frontier city guarding the Roman Empire against the German tribes to the north. In the Middle Ages, it became the home of the Babenberg and, later, the Habsburg dynasties and through the latter the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Ottoman Turkish invasions of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries were stopped at Vienna. See the Battle of Vienna (1683). In 1815, Vienna was the site of the Congress of Vienna which redrew national boundaries in Europe after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

During the Cold War, Vienna was a hotbed of international espionage owning to its location in neutral Austria, between the Western and Eastern blocs.

Other famous Viennese items include the Lippizaner stallions, the Vienna Boys' Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben), Wiener Schnitzel, Sachertorte, and Danish pastries. Viennese cafes claim to have invented the process of filtering coffee from the captured baggage after the second Turkish invasion of 1683.

Memorial against War and Fascism (1981-1991) by Alfred Hrdlicka
at Albertinaplatz in Vienna's city centre

Historical population

1800: 231,900 inhabitants
1830: 338,700
1850: 446,400
1880: 724,800
1900: 1,675,000
1925: 1,869,000


The city itself is composed of 23 districts (Bezirke), which although they all have their own names are numbered for the sake of convenience:

  1. Innere Stadt (city centre)
  2. Leopoldstadt
  3. Landstraße
  4. Wieden
  5. Margareten
  6. Mariahilf
  7. Neubau
  8. Josefstadt
  9. Alsergrund
  10. Favoriten
  11. Simmering
  12. Meidling
  13. Hietzing
  14. Penzing
  15. Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus
  16. Ottakring
  17. Hernals
  18. Währing
  19. Döbling
  20. Brigittenau
  21. Floridsdorf
  22. Donaustadt
  23. Liesing

Looking at the postal code one can easily find out in which district the given address can be found; 1XXA - 1 denotes Vienna, XX the district number (if it is a single digit then with a leading zero), A is the number of the post office (irrelevant in this case, usually zero). Example: 1070 for Neubau (which, incidentally, is the only place in Austria with a Green majority).

To the south-east of the city is the Prater amusement park. This park is the site of a large Ferris wheel, built originally in 1897, and made famous as the location where Orson Welles, in his role as Harry Lime in the film The Third Man, looked down upon the people beneath and compared them to ants.

Trams are widely used in Vienna.

The "Sezession" building. (See also the Austrian € 0.50 coin)

Intellectual Life

Turn of the century Vienna was home to a thriving intellectual scene. Most prominent was the father of psychonalysis, Sigmund Freud. Other famous products were the philosophers Franz Brentano, Bernard Bolzano, Ernst Mach and Edmund Husserl.

The University of Vienna was the cradle of the Austrian School of economics. The founders of this school who studied here included Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, Joseph Schumpeter,Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. von Hayek.

They were a somewhat more liberal crowd compared to other German speaking intelectuals in Prussia (indeed the very term Austrian was a term of abuse used to suggest a provincial outlook, see Methodenstreit). Simply put in Germany the influence of Hegel led academics to try to "overcome" the ideas of Western Europe, Austrian scholars used these ideas as a basis for their own theories.

See also the Vienna Circle.


For many centuries, Vienna has been a center of classical music and opera. Christoph Willibald Gluck, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner among others, worked in Vienna, and Antonio Vivaldi died there. Johann Strauss II and his family created their waltzes here. Later, the city became the home of the so called Second Viennese School, with Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern all being born there. It's also home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Vienna is also noted for its art and architecture. Many Baroque buildings exist although every time period is represented. The summer palace of the emperors, Schönbrunn, was built to rival Versailles but while huge and ornate, never quite became as large. Tiergarten Schönbrunn Zoo Vienna is located in the palace area. The Cathedral of St. Stephen (or Stephansdom), which was built in the 12th century, is also notable. The modern architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser has constructed some buildings in the city in his idiosyncratic style.

"Sezession" and Jugendstil were twentieth century art movements related to art nouveau important in Vienna. Gustav Klimt worked here.

Many of Vienna's great individuals are buried at the Zentralfriedhof


  • 1873 - Weltausstellung 1873 Wien

See also: Vienna International Airport

External links