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Must-See-Sights in Vienna

Soviet War Memorial – Vienna

The Soviet War Memorial in Vienna, more formally known as as the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee – Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army, is located at Vienna’s Schwarzenbergplatz. The semi-circular white marble colonnade partially enclosing a twelve-meter figure of a Red Army Soldier was unveiled in 1945. The Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army in Vienna was built to commemorate 17,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle for Vienna of World War II. Near the end of World War II, Soviet forces of the 3rd Ukrainian Front were ordered by Joseph Stalin to capture Vienna, both for strategic military purposes and for use as a post-war bargaining chip with the Allies. After intense urban fighting, Vienna finally fell firmly into Soviet hands on April 14, 1945. While the Soviet assault forces generally behaved well during the immediate aftermath, the second wave of Soviet troops to arrive in the city were badly disciplined: looting and raping in a several-week orgy of violence that has been compared to the worst aspects of the Thirty Years War.

The memorial includes a triumphal arch and is dominated by the figure of a soldier with a Shpagin submachine gun on his chest. The soldier wears a golden helmet and holds a Soviet flag and a golden Soviet coat of arms. The Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee has generally been an unpopular reminder for Viennese of the painful Soviet occupation in the weeks following the war, often referred to with derisive names including “Looter’s Memorial” and “Memorial to the Unknown Rapist”. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the memorial in 2007 to lay flowers and specifically give thanks to Austria for not demolishing it. Despite its continued controversy, the city paid to refurbish the memorial, even as the local press regularly complain of the memorial and a unusual role it has played in several crimes.

Zentralfriedhof – Vienna

The Zentralfriedhof – Central Cemetery, is the largest and most famous cemetery among Vienna’s nearly 50 cemeteries. The cemetery’s name is descriptive of its significance as Vienna’s biggest cemetery, not of its geographic location, as it is not situated in the city centre of the Austrian capital, but on the very outskirts, in the outer city district of Simmering, and its address is Simmeringer Hauptstraße 230–244, Vienna 1110, Austria. Interred in the Zentralfriedhof are notables such as Beethoven and Schubert who were moved there in 1888, and Johannes Brahms. The church in the centre of the cemetery is named Karl-Borromäus-Kirche (Charles Borromeo Church), but is also known as Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Gedächtniskirche (Karl Lueger Memorial Church) because of the crypt of the former mayor of Vienna below the high altar. In addition to the Catholic section, there is a Protestant cemetery, a small Russian Orthodox burial area, and two Jewish cemeteries. Although the older of the two, established in 1863, was destroyed by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht, around 60,000 graves still remain intact. Prominent burials here include those of the Rothschild family and that of the author Arthur Schnitzler.

Due to the size of the cemetery, private car traffic is allowed on the cemetery grounds every day of the year except November 1/All Saint’s Day, although a toll has to be paid. Car traffic is not allowed on November 1 (All Saint’s Day) due to potential traffic jams. Also, a public “cemetery bus” line (no. 106) exists, with several stops inside the cemetery grounds. The old Simmering horse tram was replaced by an electric tram, running from Schwarzenbergplatz to the Zentralfriedhof, in 1901 and it was renumbered as “71” (der 71er) in 1907: it remains the most popular route to the cemetery using public transport. Among the Viennese, a popular euphemism for a death is that the deceased person “has taken the 71” (“Er hat den 71er genommen”). The metro suburban railway (Vienna S-Bahn) also has a stop called “Zentralfriedhof” close to the old Jewish part of the cemetery. The closest underground stop is “Simmering” (Vienna U-Bahn, line U3), about 2 km away from the cemetery.

Naturhistorisches Museum – Vienna

The Naturhistorisches Museum Wien – Museum of Natural History of Vienna, is a large museum located in Vienna, Austria. The collections displayed cover 8,700 square metres (94,000 sq ft), and the museum has a website providing an overview as a video virtual tour. The Museum of Natural History in Vienna is one of the important museums of the world, and the earliest collections of artifacts were begun over 250 years ago.

The main building of the Museum is an elaborate palace that has accommodated these constantly growing collections, since opening to the public in 1889 as the Imperial Natural History Museum. However, some of the collections had been moved from even older buildings, such as the Hofbibliothek which contained the Zoology Cabinet (German: Tierkabinett) collections. The interaction of the building, the ornate decoration, the furniture, and precious exhibits makes the museum also a “museum of the museum” for the cultural-historical preservation.Famous and irreplaceable exhibits, for instance the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf, and a skeleton of a Diplodocus dinosaur, plus extinct animal or plant specimens from 200 million years ago such as the Steller sea-cow, are displayed along 39 halls. Contemporary presentation by means of modern exhibition technology has been possible without destruction of the historical structures in the building.

Official Website

Museumsquartier – Vienna

The Museumsquartier is a 60,000 m² large area in the 7th district of the city of Vienna, Austria; it is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. The Museumsquartier contains Baroque buildings as well as Modern architectureby the architects Laurids and Manfred Ortner (Ortner & Ortner Baukunst). The renovation of the former court stables began in April 1998. Three years later, the Museumsquartier opened in two stages (June and September 2001). The total cost of the construction was 150 Million Euro (two billion Schilling).

The MQ is home to a range of installations from large art museums like the Leopold Museum and the MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna) to contemporary exhibition spaces like the Kunsthalle Wien and festivals like theWiener Festwochen, an annual summer event that is headquartered in the MuseumsQuartier Wien. Additional highlights include the Tanzquartier, an international, state-of-the-art centre for dance, the Architektur Zentrum Wien, production studios for new media, artist studios for artists-in-residence, outstanding art and cultural facilities designed for children, and a variety of other events and festivals such as the renowned Viennale film festival, the ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival, and many others. The Museumsquartier also hosts quartier21, which features a number of alternative art groups.

More than 210 discounts and unlimited free travel by underground, bus and tram for 72 hours. Available in hotels and at the tourist information centre on Albertinaplatz (open daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm) and the tourist information point at the airport (open daily from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm), at sales and information points of the Vienna Lines (e.g. Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstraße/Wien Mitte) or by credit card on tel. +43-1-798 44 00-148.

The information, and photos, on our Vienna pages has been compiled with the help of Wien Tourismus – http://www.wien.info/en– to ensure quality, up-to-date information on the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.

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