Vienna – the city of imperial grandeur and once a hotbed of musical and artistic masterpieces – is a place that has way too much to offer for unsuspecting travelers. So, if you are thinking of visiting Vienna, prepare yourself with these 93 mesmerizing Vienna facts. We are sure, you are going to love them!
Yes, yes, we know! This list is never a complete list on Vienna facts. That’s because, it is virtually impossible to write everything. Who knows everything anyway? We don’t know! Do you?
Vienna Facts: Three Basic Facts
01. Vienna is the capital city of Austria. It is the largest city of Austria.
02. It is known as the City of Music and City of Dreams.
03. It is the second largest German speaking city. The largest German speaking city is Berlin.
Okay, now that we have laid down the three basic Vienna facts, let us turn our attention towards the name of the city.
Etymology of the Word Vienna
04. The English word Vienna is derived from French word Vienne.
05. The etymology of the word Vienna is a little debatable. Some scholars think that Vienna comes from vedunia which means forest stream.
06. Other scholars think that Vienna originated from Vindobona meaning fair village, white settlement.
07. Vindobona is a word from Celtic roots – Vindo means fair or white and Bona means village or settlement.
08. The Celtic word Vindo is related to Vindos, a Celtic God in the mythology of Ireland.
09. A variant of the word Vindo can be seen in Polish, Czech, Slovak names of the city of music.
10. The variation of the city name in Hungarian, Ottoman Turkish, Serbo-Croatian languages have Slovak origin.
11. Slovene speakers call Vienna as Dunaj – the origin of the name mostly came from the Danube River on which Vienna stands.
History of Vienna
When we talk of Vienna facts, how can we not talk about the history of Vienna? If you are a history buff, you are going to love this segment of our facts list.
12. It is proven that Vienna city is constantly inhabited from 500 BCE. The Celts settled near the River Danube.
13. Romans occupied the city in 15 BCE and called it Vindobona. They fortified the city to protect it from German tribes.
14. Later, Babenberg occupied Vienna from around 976 CE and in 1145 CE, Duke Henry II Jasomirgott moved Babenberg residency from Klosterneuburg to Vienna. From then, Vienna became the center of Babenberg dynasty.
15. Vienna became the capital city of Holy Roman Empire from 1437. Habsburg dynasty occupied Vienna from 1440.
16. From 1485 to 1490, Vienna came under the control of Hungary.
17. Ottoman Empire tried to invade Vienna in the 16th and 17th centuries but Christian forces successfully stopped the attacks of Ottoman Empire.
18. In 1804, Vienna was the capital of Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.
19. In 1814 and 1815, congress of Vienna was held in Vienna.
20. In 1867, Vienna became the capital city of Austro-Hungarian Empire.
21. In 1918, Vienna became the capital city of the Republic of German-Austria and Vienna became the capital city of the First Republic of Austria in 1919.
22. With invasion of Austria by Adolf Hitler, Vienna lost its status as a capital city.
23. In 1945, Vienna got its status of capital city back because of Soviet Union’s Red Army which launched Vienna Offensive. However, Austria was under the control of Soviet Union till 1955.
24. After the World War II, Vienna was divided into four sectors controlled by four powers – UK, France, Allied Commission and Soviet Union.
25. All was going well but in 1948 Soviet Union blocked railway, road connectivity etc. of Western Forces in Berlin.
26. Suspicions were raised that Soviet Union may repeat the same thing in Vienna and hence Western Forces started taking preventive measures.
27. Finally in 1955, Soviet Union gave up their area which they occupied in Vienna. In exchange to their ‘sacrifice’, they wanted Austria to be independent and neutral to both the sides forever.
28. After 1955, Vienna started regaining its lost glory.
Geography of Vienna
If you love traveling, staying abreast with a destination’s climate and geography is must. So, in this segment of Vienna facts, we are going to learn exactly that! Let’s begin…
29. Vienna is present in the eastern most part of Austria.
30. Vienna has an altitude from 151 meters to 542 meters or from 495 feet to 1,778 feet .
31. The city spans over an area of 414.65 square kilometers or 160.1 square miles.
32. According to Köppen classification, Vienna has an oceanic climate. It usually has warm summers. There is high precipitation in July and August and high temperatures from the month of June to the month of September.
33. Winters are cold and dry with an average temperature reaching freezing temperature. Spring has variable temperature and autumn is usually cool.
34. The wettest part of Vienna is its woods and the driest part of Vienna is the plains.
35. Snow in winters is common in Vienna.
36. Record high temperature of Vienna on an average annually is 39.5 degrees Celsius and record low temperature of Vienna on an average annually is -26 degrees Celsius.
37. Average high and low temperatures of Vienna annually are 14.9 and 7.0 degrees Celsius respectively.
38. Annual average mean temperature of Vienna is 10.4 degrees Celsius.
39. Annual average precipitation is 65.1 inches, annual average snowfall is 67 inches.
40. Annual average humidity of the city Vienna is 61.4%.
Economy of Vienna
Okay, we are going to keep this segment of Vienna facts small because we find it boring. If you need more, let us know and we shall rise out of our reservations and force ourselves into writing a few more. 🙁
41. Vienna is one of the richest regions of Europe. It constituted 25.7% of Austria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2013.
42. There are around 300 international companies and Hewlett Packard, Baxalta, Siemens, Henkel are few of them.
Vienna Facts: Art and Culture of Vienna
This list on Vienna facts remains truly incomplete if we do not the art and culture of the place. This is one aspect that makes Vienna the ultimate destination for those who we call the culture hunters.
Are you one? Let’s read on…
43. Vienna boasts pretty rich cultural heritage. Vienna is the homeland of many great artistes like Alban Berg, Joseph Lanner, Johann Strauss I, Joe Zawinul, Johann Strauss II etc.
44. Not just this, many great musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Joseph Hayden worked in Vienna.
45. Other famous persons born in Vienna are Sigmund Freud, Rudolf Dreikurs, Fred Zinnemann, John Banner, Senta Berger, Christine Ostermayer, Stefan Zweig, Karl Leopold von Möller etc.
46. Vienna also hosts numerous museums, buildings, operas, theaters, ball rooms etc.
47. Some of the notable museums in Vienna are Sisi Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum, Leopold museum, Museum of Art Flakes, Technical Museum, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna Clock Museum, Sigmund Freud Museum etc.
48. Burgtheater, Akademiethether, Volkstheater Wien, Theater in der Josefstadt, etc. are some of the famous theaters in Vienna.
49. Secession building, Baroque Karlskirche, Kirche am Steinhof, Hundertwasserhaus, Wotrubakirche, DC Tower, etc. are just few of the architectural marvels which can be seen in Vienna.
50. Balls may be a thing of medieval time for many of the European countries but not in Vienna.
51. Balls take place in many places of Vienna like Hofburg Palace, Opera Ball, Vienna State Opera, etc. Around 450 balls take place every year in Vienna!
52. These balls start at around 9 pm at night and continue till 5 am in the morning. Sometimes the balls continue even longer.
53. Thanks to Vienna’s prosperous history, there are numerous breathtaking palaces all over Vienna.
54. Some of the famous palaces in Vienna are Schönbrunn Palace, Lower Belvedere, Schloss Hetzendorf, The Hofburg etc.
Vienna Facts: Food and Drinks of the City
Are you a foodie? If you are, we are sure that you will fall in love with this segment of Vienna facts or perhaps, you just directly jumped to this part from the table of contents. Either way, you cannot miss out on Vienna food.
Either way, enjoy reading…
55. Wiener Schnitzel is a delicacy of Vienna. It is a cutlet of veal or pork. The traditional Wiener Schnitzel calls for veal not pork.
56. Other famous dishes of Vienna are Tafelspitz, Geröstete Erdäpfel, Ap felstrudel, Sachertorte, Palatschinken, etc.
57. Along with Paris, Canberra, Warsaw, Santiago etc., Vienna is one of the few capital cities in the world which has vineyards.
58. Wine is usually the first choice in terms of drinks for Viennese people. Wine is usually consumed as Spritzer with sparkling water.
59. Beer is the second best alcoholic beverage for Viennese people.
60. Almdudler is an extremely popular non alcoholic beverage and is as popular as Coca-cola in the US (if you go by the sales). Another popular non-alcoholic beverage is Spezi.
Vienna Fun Facts
You seriously thought we will not include fun Vienna facts in our list? Now that you stand corrected, it is about time you get busy reading these facts!
If you ever wanted to know what is Vienna famous for, here are a few things from a long list:
61. If you decide to go try a hot dog in Vienna (which is extremely famous), you need to mention whether you want sweet kremser mustard or a spicy estragon!
62. Did you know that the film “The Third Man” shot in 1948 is termed as the most important film about Vienna?
63. Schonbrunn Palace has a zoo, labyrinth, Neptune’s Fountain, Roman ruins, and many more and guess what? It is absolutely free!
64. Danube island is another recreational center which is as famous among the tourists as it is with the Viennese.
65. The life expectancy of Viennese was 81 years against the world average of 71 years in 2013. It is expected to grow to 89 years for women and 85 years for men by 2050.
66. Vienna is probably the only capital city which can boast of producing significant amounts of wine. Of all the wine produced in Vienna, 85% of it is white wine.
67. Did you know that Vienna’s coffee houses built in the 17th century are in the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List? They entered the list in the year 2011.
68. According to Economist Intelligence Unit, Vienna is the second most livable city in the world. The first one is Melbourne, Australia.
69. Wienerwald or Vienna woods is of 521 square miles. It contains over 2,000 plant species and over 150 bird species. This forest is home to two of the endangered species – Green lizards and Ural owls.
70. Did you know that Vienna is in two different climate zones? It consists of both Pannonian climatic zone and European transitional zone.
71. The Vienna Giant Wheel, also known as Wiener Riesenrad was built in the year 1897 so as to honor Franz Josef I, Emperor of Golden Jubilee. After few protests, a permit was passed to demolish it in 1916 but there weren’t enough funds to do that. It was burned down in 1944 and was rebuilt in 1945 and it became operational again in 1947. It is also the oldest ferris wheel in the world.
72. In the year 1900, Erwin Perzy invented snow globe. We know the rest of the history of it becoming extremely successful and popular till date.
73. Vienna is called the ‘City of Dreams’ because Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, worked almost his entire career in this city.
74. Vienna Zoo or Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the oldest zoo in the world. As you may know by now, the zoo along with the palace was a private property of Franz Stephen and Maria Theresa, Emperor and Empress.
75. The croissants of France has origins of Vienna. The pastry were made after the Vienna’s victory over Ottoman Empire.
76. Viennese gave the shape of crescent to the pastries which was the symbol of the enemy.
77. When Maria Antoinette of Austria married France’s King Louis XVI in 1770, she introduced the pastry to France. The French modified them and called them croissants.
78. It is interesting to note that Viennese can vote by the age they reach 16 years but can obtain driver’s license only when they are 18 years old.
79. World-famous PEZ candies were invented in Vienna in the year 1927. The original flavor was of mint and in German it was called Pfefferminz. They were invented so that they can be used as an alternative to cigarettes.
80. Here is one of the most surprising Vienna facts you will read today! Vienna Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in the world. It was founded in 1771.
81. Did you know that there are three categories of Vienna opera performances – A category for operal gourmets, B category for the lovers of music and C category for others?
82. Zentralfriedhof, a cemetery in Vienna, is the largest cemetery in the whole of Europe. It has around 3 million graves.
83. Vienna’s tram connection started in 1865. It is as of today 179 kilometers long. This tram network is one of the longest and the oldest tram networks in the world.
84. From January to March, Vienna Rathausplatz transforms into a skating rink. The skating rink is called Vienna Ice Dream. It opens in Town Hall in Vienna.
85. Wiener Zeitung is the oldest surviving daily newspaper of the world.
86. Did you know that one-fifth of the population of Austria lives in Vienna?
87. The most common serving size of wine in Vienna is ein Achtel (one eighth of a liter).
88. A residential building, Karl Marx-Hof of Vienna is over 1 kilometer in length. It is the world’s longest single residential building.
89. Viennese drink water from the Alps everyday. Spring water comes through taps of each house of Vienna.
90. Vienna is considered as the best city to live in this world thanks to its highest quality of living.
91. The city center of Vienna is a World Heritage Site.
92. Remember Sachertorte? It is one of the finest delicacies of Vienna. Prince Metternich’s chef was ill so the responsibility of creating a new dessert for the Prince fell on a 16-year-old trainee named Franz Sacher.
93. It was that day Franz Sacher created a new dish (in 1832) which came to be known as Sachertorte.
Alright, now that we have completed our promised list on Vienna facts, do you want to add a few more? Feel free to drop those facts in the comments section so that others can also enjoy them!
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