The hub of Vienna’s art and culture scene is up there amongst the world’s best. The Austrian capital is best known for its many balls (including the world famous Vienna Opera Ball), the graceful Viennese waltz, its famed coffeehouse culture, and superb architecture from yesteryear. Visit the Schloss Schönbrunn, the former imperial summer residence, and the Hofburg (Imperial Palace), the base of the Habsburgs, one of the most influential European royal houses. Take in the brilliance of the Baroque Belvedere Palace, the Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral and the giant ferris wheel in the Prater, Vienna’s old recreational park.
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St. Stephen's Cathedral (more commonly known by its German title: Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen's Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history and has, with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizable symbols.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn (literally, "Schönbrunn Zoo"), or "Vienna Zoo", is a zoo located on the grounds of the famous Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. Founded as an imperial menagerie in 1752, it is the oldest zoo in the Western world [Moctezuma's amazing aviary, zoo and botanical gardens in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), was described by Spanish conquistadors, who first saw it in 1519]. Today, Tiergarten Schönbrunn is considered and regards itself as a scientifically administered zoo which sees its main purpose as a centre for species conservation and general nature conservation as well as in the fulfillment of the education mandate given to it by the legislation. The still preserved buildings of the baroque era, which have been complemented in the last years by elements of modern zoo architecture, still convey a good impression of the 18th century menagerie-buildings after the Versailles model.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum (English: "Museum of Art History", also often referred to as the "Museum of Fine Arts") is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It is the largest art museum in the country.
The Imperial Crypt (German: Kaisergruft), also called the Capuchin Crypt (Kapuzinergruft), is a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632, and located on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace. Since 1633, the Imperial Crypt has been the principal place of entombment for members of the House of Habsburg. The bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The visible 107 metal sarcophagi and five heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. Some of the dozen resident Capuchin friars continue their customary role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt, along with their other pastoral work in Vienna. The most recent entombment was in 2011.
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