The Historic Center of Vienna
Dec 7 , 2011
The buildings of the historic center of Vienna epitomize the best of medieval, Baroque, and Gründerzeit design. While it may be tempting to observe the architecture from outside, you won't get the complete picture until you actually venture inside these cultural attractions.
The very first thing you do in the historic center of Vienna should be a visit to the Hofburg, or the Imperial Palace. The Hofburg was constructed in the 1200s and was the seat of the Hapsburg rulers. Today, the Hofburg also houses the Sisi Museum, which is devoted to the story and artifacts of the famous Empress Elisabeth, who lived from 1837-1898. We also highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Imperial Apartments, which will let you peek into the lives of the country’s former sovereigns.
After touring the Hofburg, grab a pastry and some coffee from a café and linger by the Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The Stephansdom’s history extends back to the twelfth century, and the sheer size of the building and the intricacy of its Gothic architecture are sure to astound you.
A popular area of the historic center of Vienna is the Ringstrasse, or the Ring Boulevard. Just as the name suggests, the Ringstrasse forms a ring around the historic center of Vienna. Having been built in the mid-nineteenth century, the Ringstrasse provides an interesting contrast of Viennese architecture compared to the Hofburg and Stephansdom.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum
While you’re visiting the Ringstrasse, head to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, a stunning building that houses a vast collection of artwork spanning different centuries and countries. The museum’s collections include the Coin Cabinet, the Vienna Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities.
Also located on the Ringstrasse is the Burgtheater, which became a performance space in 1741 under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia. Even if you’re not interested in seeing an actual play there (the performances are in German, after all), you’ll benefit from the guided tours that are offered in English.
There are many fantastic hotels near the historic center of Vienna. The Hotel Imperial, DO & CO Hotel Vienna, and the Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof are just three options for hotels that put you within walking distance to the cultural attractions of the historic center of Vienna.
After taking in the historic sites of Vienna, check out other top attractions in Vienna.