by NAOMI DOSHI Staff Writer
From Hapsburg-era palaces to astonishing cathedrals, Vienna has more than enough to offer tourists who are looking for adventure.
When I arrived in Vienna, Austria last July, I was taken aback by the intense heat and beauty of the city. I had to prepare myself for three days of walking and catching the U-bahn, Vienna’s subway system.
One of the best places to start is in Stephensplatz, the main square of the city. Here, tourists gather around St. Stephen’s cathedral, which is known for being one of the tallest churches in the world. The interior is filled with ornate Gothic statues.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was walking through Karntnerstrasse, the adjacent street. The street performers paired with the bustling atmosphere are unforgettable, and there are a handful of great restaurants scattered around the street corners.
At the end of the street is the Viennese Opera House. Here, tourists can take tours of the breathtaking building. I was able to visit the stage, the ballroom, and the auditorium. Each room was decorated with gold, and the whole experience made me dream of being able to witness the famous Viennese Opera Ball.
“When I went to Vienna, the best part of the whole city was the Opera House. It was a beautiful building with lots of history and interesting stories behind it. Both the inside and outside were gorgeous, and the halls were filled with gold. It was like a fairy tale,” said freshman Sravya Vegunta.
One of Vienna’s several palaces is Schönbrunn Palace. The enormous palace is second only to Versailles. It has 1,441 rooms. The rooms open to tourists are the royal apartments where the Hapsburg dynasty once lived.
The Grand Tour includes 40 rooms, each of which has dazzling furniture and objects placed exactly as they would have been centuries ago. It is amazing to see how some of the most powerful monarchs in the world lived, and although the palace is located slightly farther from the center of the city, the lengthy subway ride is worth it.
After exploring the interior of the palace, I was able to walk around the huge garden. It is filled with ice cream vendors and excited children, which makes the whole area very relaxing.
Freshman Kaitlyn Guo said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna because some of my friends have told me about the beautiful palaces there.”
Another exciting destination is the Sisi Museum at the Imperial Apartments. Although it is not as intricate as Schönbrunn, the museum is extremely interesting. It showcases the life of Sisi, the Empress of Austria and wife of Franz Josef I. The exhibit shows how she became depressed because she hated her imperial life and husband. It also displays Sisi’s elaborate dresses, jewelry, and furniture.
The Sisi Museum is part of Hofburg Palace, which has another set of imperial apartments, ballrooms, and dining rooms to tour.
The best way to witness the whole city is to walk or take a tram along the Ringstrasse, a road that circles around the center of the city. The tram provides a necessary break from walking, and it is easy to get off at the stops you like. The path goes past a park, the main canal in the city, huge barracks, a century-old amusement park, Hofburg Palace, the Opera House, and much more.
However, my favorite spot in Vienna is probably the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It was filled with art to rival that of the Prado, Uffizi, and Louvre. I enjoyed the Hapsburg collection of paintings from all over the world, but the best part of the building was the room filled with delicate Viennese art. Each porcelain masterpiece was painted intricately, and showcased the splendor of the city’s history.
At the end of the trip, I ended up back in Stephensplatz to grab some ice cream and absorb the grandeur of the city.
If you had a chance to go to Vienna, what would you enjoy most – the architecture, palaces, or art?