Vienna is the federal capital, and the smallest of Austria’s nine provinces. It is located in the heart of Europe, stretching from the banks of the Danube to the north-easternmost foothills of the Pre-Alps (geographic coordinates: 48° 12’ N, 16° 22’ O). The city center (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) is 171 meters above sea level. Vienna’s climate is temperate with continental and maritime influences. Each year there are 67 days with temperatures of over 25°C, and 50 days with temperatures below freezing. Westerly weather systems prevail, the average air temperature is eleven degrees and precipitation is 600 mm/year.
The Austrian capital has always been an interface between different cultures, and marks the spot where ancient transport routes, the Amber Road and the Danube intersect. Archaeological finds go back to the Paleolithic era. Vienna’s history as a settlement dates back to Roman times and the erection of a military camp and civilian settlement called Vindobona on the site of what is now the historic city center. In 1156 Vienna became the ducal seat of the Babenberg family, and under the Habsburg dynasty the city served as the imperial capital and residence for over 600 years. The capital of culture and music’s historic old town was named a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.
The metropolitan area is divided into 23 districts, covering 415 km², and is home to 1.7 million people (the ninth largest city in the EU, population density approx. 4,100 per km²). Austria joined the EU in 1995, the national currency is the euro. The greater Vienna area has a population of 2.4 million, or a quarter of all Austrians. Vienna – like Austria in general – is German-speaking. Around 50 percent of Viennese are Roman Catholic, 8 percent Muslim, 6 percent various Orthodox congregations, 5 percent protestant and 0.5 percent Jewish. 26 percent of the population claim no religious affiliation.
In 2012 Vienna was named the world’s most livable city for the fourth time in a row by Mercer. Each year the international consultants conduct a quality of life survey in 221 major towns and cities worldwide. Criteria include the political, social and economic climate, medical services, education and infrastructure facilities including public transportation, power and water utilities. Leisure facilities such as restaurants, theaters, cinemas, sports facilities, availability of consumer goods ranging from food to automobiles, and environmental factors including green space and air quality are also taken into consideration.
Half of the city’s total area is accounted for by gardens, parks, woods and agricultural land. 39 percent of all journeys in the city are by public transport – a European record. Vienna is also the only major capital with a significant winegrowing industry within the city limits. Vienna is not just a federal province and capital city, it is also a winegrowing region in its own right, with around 700 hectares of land under vines (roughly 80 percent white wine varieties).
Just 60 kilometers from the Slovak capital Bratislava, Vienna played a leading role in the establishment of the Centrope region in 2003 and the expansion of international transportation links in the area. In 2012 Vienna International Airport reported some 244,650 flight movements and more than 22 million passengers. Major European trunk routes and interregional rail links all pass through Vienna. The new Hauptbahnhof central railway station (due to open at the end of 2012, scheduled to be in full operation in 2015) will be one of the most modern hubs in the entire trans-European rail network.
Vienna is also one of the four UN headquarters cities and the seat of numerous international organizations, including the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Vienna’s location also makes it the ideal choice as a headquarters for international companies working in Eastern Europe.
In 2012 the Vienna Convention Bureau registered 707 international conferences in the Austrian capital. Continuing the successes of the seven years before, Vienna topped the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings once again in 2012.
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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