CHI2004 will be held in Vienna, Austrias capital, which combines imperial tradition with modern creativity. Vienna is a city full of culture, history, art, music, fun, and much more. Its incomparable wealth of historical treasures, its great traditions and its exciting artistic and cultural scene makes Vienna as a major European tourist destination. Vienna ranks among the worldwide top international conference destinations.
Vienna, with its approximately 1.5 million inhabitants, spreads over 415 square kilometers and is divided into 23 districts. Almost half of the city is covered by parks Vienna has more parks than any other European capital. There are not only city greens, such as the Stadtpark (with the most photographed object in the city, the golden Johann Strauss monument), the woods and meadows of the Prater, and the spacious Schönbrunn Palace Park, but also the Vienna Woods, vineyards and farmland, and the expansive river banks of the legendary Danube. During summer, the temperature rarely rises above 30° C; during the winter it hardly ever falls below - 5° C.
From Roman Camp to Capital of the Republic
Viennas history goes back to the first century, when the Romans founded the military camp Vindobona. In 1137, the city of Vienna was first mentioned in documents, and around 1155 the Dukes of Babenberg chose it as their residence. From 1282 on, the Habsburgs reigned for more than six centuries. Todays cityscape is dominated by the Baroque, which for the main part originated during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia. Emperor Franz Joseph I also put his imprint on the city when he leveled the city walls in 1857 and saw to it that the splendid Ringstrasse boulevard was built. After 68 years as emperor, he died during World War I, and in 1918 Vienna became the capital of the Republic of Austria. After the so-called Anschluss of Austria to Hitlers Germany, Vienna was designated a Reichsgau (an administrative district of the Third Reich during the Nazi period) in 1938; after 1945, it once again became the capital of the Austrian Republic. Since 1967, the city has been one of only three United Nations cities (in addition to New York and Geneva) and in 1995 it became one of 15 capitals of the European Union.
Imperial Romance and World-Class Art
Tourists are eager to visit Vienna because of the citys exciting combination of the royal-imperial flair of the past with the latest trends, the responsible cultivation of a precious heritage and charming traditions. The Habsburg architecture is a suitable setting for this image: magnificent buildings date back to the baroque, to historicism (the so-called "Ringstrassen Style"), and to art nouveau. In Vienna, one still revels in the romantic center of a long-lost empire.
But much more than old buildings turn Vienna into a city of beauty: one also finds excellent museums, fine art collections and world-renowned works of art in the city. The Museum of Fine Arts offers the worlds largest collection of paintings by Bruegel. Many works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele are exhibited in the Austrian Gallery at Belvedere and in the Leopold-Museum in the new Museumsquartier.
In 2001 Vienna opened the MuseumsQuartier Wien in the center of the city, next to two renowned museums. Covering 45,000 square meters it is an architecturally fascinating combination of a baroque building (the former Imperial Stables) with future-oriented design. With 60,000 square meters of usable floor space on eight different levels, it is one of the ten largest cultural centers in the world, offering a unique combination of events. Among the highlights are the Leopold Museum with the largest collection of Schiele paintings in the world, and works of such renowned modern Austrian artists as Klimt, Kokoschka and Gerst. The MuseumsQuartier also houses the Museum of Modern Art, the Tobacco Museum, the Vienna Architecture Center, and the Kunsthalle Wien.
City of Music with Lifestyles from Gemütlich to Trendy
Vienna has traditionally placed high value placed on art, fostering creativity by its citizens, and attracting artists from other countries. Vienna boasts 50 theaters, including three opera houses and two theaters staging musicals, 100 museums, as well as renowned drama, music and dance festivals. In addition, outstanding exhibitions are shown all year long. This means that an extraordinarily rich cultural program is available throughout the year, which makes Vienna one of the leading cultural centers of Europe.
Vienna, as a city of music, enjoys a paramount reputation around the world. No other city has been home to so many composers of international renown: some, such as Schubert, Strauss, Schoenberg and Berg were born there; others, such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler chose to live there. The Wiener Philharmoniker is one of the worlds great orchestras, and the Vienna Symphony and several other orchestras and groups are not far behind. The Vienna State Opera is one of the finest opera houses anywhere, and the city is home to two additional opera houses. The Vienna Boys Choir enchants music lovers around the world. In addition to classical music, Vienna has also made its mark as a city of musicals, and recent successes in electronic music show that the avant-garde is also taken seriously in Vienna. A very special way to enjoy music is presented at the House of Music - a unique high-tech adventure journey into the phenomenon of music where sounds become visible, organ pipes may be walked on and visitors can be turned into virtual conductors or composers.
Lifestyle: Royal-Imperial Nostalgia and New Trends
This juxtaposition of such traditional gems as coffeehouses and Heurigen (wine restaurants), which demonstrate Viennas ability to enjoy life in a relaxed atmosphere, and ultra-modern events such as the Life Ball and the Festival for Electronic Music, conveys a lifestyle that is attractive to the modern tourist offering an array from which he or she may choose according to his or her mood: relaxation and serenity or action and stimulation.
Around the Naschmarkt, Viennas multi-national fruit and vegetable market — every Saturday, a Flea Market next to it adds a special flair — an extraordinarily diverse gastronomic scene has developed over the past years. Mariahilfer Strasse — the direct link between the historic old city and Viennas most popular sightseeing attraction, Schönbrunn Palace — has been transformed into an attractive Shopping Mile since the completion of the Underground line U 3. During the summer, Viennese and tourists alike visit not only the Prater with its Riesenrad (Giant Ferris Wheel), but also the Copa Cagrana on Danube Island — which boasts Europes largest open-air party. And the Heurigen regions on the hillsides of the Vienna Woods invite one and all to seriously study Vienna and its wines.
Vienna Waits For You 12 Tips to Experience and Enjoy Arts & Delights
Vienna is old and new, classical and trendy, nostalgic and dynamic. Here are 12 tips for the newcomer to help you explore, experience and enjoy the arts and delights of the city: a sort of check-list for your visit to Vienna:
A 1000-year-old crown and “Sissi's” bathtub: the Imperial Palace with all its treasures.
The “Ringstrasse” — a window on the former Habsburg monarchy and a splendid boulevard today.
The joys and frustrations of the Habsburgs: Schönbrunn Palace - witness to the history of the monarchy, from Maria Theresia to the resignation of the last emperor.
MuseumsQuartier: The vast new cultural premises attract visitors with the largest Schiele collection of the world, Warhol’s portraits and much more.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum, a delight for lovers of classical art housing works by Bruegel, Titian and more.
The Viennese coffeehouse: a traditional meeting place for romantic travelers and leisurely bon vivants.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Bank Austria Kunstforum and Kunsthalle Wien - three guarantees of first-class art exhibitions.
Cool & trendy: from shopping to clubbing — take a 24-hour trip through the Vienna scene of young people.
Art Nouveau & Secession: The golden luster of Vienna at the turn of the last century.
Vienna State Opera: a grand building with grand opera and the Opera Ball ...
Musikverein with its Golden Hall: home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vienna & wine: Heurigen inns invite visitors to the outlying districts where tall stories are told and much wine is drunk.