Linz: The city of change – life on the colourful Danube
The European Cultural Capital of 2009 is genuinely unique: Linz is home to Europe‘s most modern opera house and a vibrant contemporary culture scene, as well as having a flourishing economy with leading international companies. The superbly-preserved Old Town isn’t the only place where the connection between this legendarily eco-friendly city and its long history is evident. Yet people in Linz prefer to look to the future – and find the joy of living in the here and now.Linz is an exciting city, and a successful one at that. Its history has been long and eventful; the expanded city core is architecturally unique – especially its Baroque Hauptplatz or main square. However, in Linz one prefers not to harp endlessly on the past: far more attention is paid to the present and the future.
In the middle of Europe
Linz is not only situated in the middle of Europe, at the centre of the Danube-Moldova region of Europe, but is also easily reachable from all directions (and by all forms of transport). Linz and the Danube are connected by a special relationship. Linz lies so literally on the Danube that the ships on Europe’s largest waterway sail right through the middle of the city. The city owes its Roman and Celtic names “Lentia” and “Lentos” to the fact that, here, the course of the Danube bends and changes direction. And it seems that the ability to change is part of the very essence of Linz.
The area by the Danube is also the stage for the Visualised Linz Klangwolke in September, which tells musical-theatrical stories to an audience of ten thousand. It’s also the setting of the Linz Fest at Whitsun, offering a select programme of music and culture that’s slightly off the mainstream.
The summer Pflasterspektakel, presenting magnificent international street art, the Linzer Krone Fest, staging popular music acts throughout the city centre and the Classics at the Cathedral open-air series, featuring world-famous stars at the foot of Austria’s biggest church, are all real crowd pullers.
The two-yearly Schäxpir festival is one of the best children’s and youth theatre gatherings in Europe, while comedy-lovers will find everything they’re looking for at Nextcomic, the first Austrian comedy festival.
The Schlossmuseum time machine
Linz Schloss towers over the city, linking yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Schlossmuseum, housed in this historical castle and occupying the spectacular modern south wing, combines presentations on the early history of Linz with various collections, ranging from musical instruments to vintage cars, and special temporary exhibitions.
Famous Pöstlingberg, the emblem of Linz, with its pilgrimage church, offers an equally superb view of the city and the windings of the Danube. The historical mountain track railway, one of the steepest in Europe, carries guests and city-dwellers up Linz’s local mountain in unique style.
Recreational areas, parks and the Botanical Garden invite one to linger, making an essential contribution to the quality of living and working in these surroundings. Roughly half the urban area of Linz is green area.
What would a visit to Linz be without the famous Linzer Torte? It is a classic that was already mentioned by name as early as 1653. Well known far beyond the borders of the city and the country, for many it is a sweet reminder of Linz.
In Advent Linz shows itself from its most enchanting side. The baroque Main Square of Linz is a successful symbiosis of old and new with the modern booths of the Christmas Market. The fairy-tale worlds at the Christmas Market of the Volksgarten public gardens delight not only children.The two markets are connected by the Landstrasse – the shopping mile of Linz – which is lit up at Christmas time with a modern dream world of lights.
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