Sunday, May 21, 2006


The capital of Austria, with a population of about 1.6 million, Vienna is by far the largest city in the country, as well as its cultural, economic and political centre. Situated on both sides of the River Danube, and only 60 km off Austria's Eastern border, Vienna lies in the South East corner of Central Europe and is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Vienna is the seat of a number of United Nations offices and various international institutions and companies, including the OPEC, the IAEA and the OSCE.

Originally a Celtic settlement, Vienna became a Roman frontier city guarding the Roman Empire against German tribes to the north, in 15 BC. In 1440, became residence city of the Habsburg Dynasties and a cultural centre for arts and science, music and fine cuisine. In 1804 Vienna became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, in 1918, capital of the First Austrian Republic. After 1945 and during the Cold War, Vienna was a hotbed for international espionage and, since its end, is actively rebuilding ties with its Eastern neighbours.

Vienna is also one of my favourite cities in Europe. I love it for the music, the museums and the architecture, but also for the public transportation system, the nightlife, the coffeehouses, the parks and gardens, the "schnitzel" and the "apfelstrudel". Should go there more often!


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