Vienna

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Vienna

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GPS N48.194472°,E16.355896°
Vienna (Wien) is the capital city of Austria. It lies on the east part of the country, only 60 kilometres from Austria’s Eastern borders. It is close to Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

The area that is now called Vienna started to be settled by people of Celtic origin in the 5th century BC. Also the name of the city is derived from Celtic word “Vedunia”, meant river in the woods – this river was of course Danube. In the 1st century AD the Romans established the garrison camp Vindobona here. Vienna began to rise in importance in the Middle Ages, when it became the seat of the Babenberg Dynasty and in 1440 it became the residence of the Habsburg Dynasties. It was the capital of Habsburg Empire for almost seven centuries. This part of its history is visible also today, mainly as with the buildings on Ringstrasse, or Hofburg and Schonbrunn castles. After the WWI (so after the fall of the monarchy) Vienna became a province on its own right (there are 9 provinces (or states) in Austria). In 1938 Austria was annexed to Germany and just after the end of WWII and many years of Allied occupation it got back its independence in 1955. During the Cold War years Vienna continued to build its international role – it became a seat of UN and was chosen as headquarters for the OECD.

The city itself is composed of 23 districts (Bezirke). They have their own names but also numbers are used (1.Innere Stadt (city centre), 2.Leopoldstadt, 3. Landstrasse, 4. Wieden, 5. Margareten, 6. Mariahilf, 7. Neubau, 8. Josefstadt, 9. Alsergrund, 10. Favoriten, 11. Simmering, 12. Meidling, 13.Hietzing, 14. Penzing, 15. Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, 16. Ottakring, 17. Hernals, 18. Währing, 19. Döbling, 20. Brigittenau, 21. Floridsdorf, 22. Donaustadt, 23. Liesing). Districts are not administrative bodies in a way of having their own explicit powers (as it is with the rest of Austrian states), but there are elections on the district level. Representatives of districts can make decisions of some levels, for example in matters of planning or traffic.

The very central part of the city – Innere Stadt was surrounded in past by walls. They were torn down in 1857 and the city joined surrounding villages under its patronage. Here the most famous boulevard in Vienna – Ringstrasse was built. It is not Danube its but Danube canal (Donaukanal) that flows through city centre. Vienna's second and twentieth districts are located in between the canal and the Danube River. Across the Danube are the newest districts, which include the location of the International Center. Industries are located mostly in the southern and eastern districts.

As far as Vienna's cultural life is concerned, it can be said that it is multi-faceted. One can choose between 50 theatres, four opera houses, two stages for musicals, 100 museums and numerous theatre, music and dance festivals. The museum quarter (Museumsquartier) with its baroque facade is home to one of the biggest cultural districts in Europe. Moreover Vienna is worldwide known as a city of music. The most famous theatres are the Castle theatre (Burgtheater), Academy theatre (Akademietheater), the Vinna people’s theatre (Volkstheater Wien) or the Theatre on Joseph square (Theater in der Josefstadt), opera houses: the State Opera House (Staatsoper) and the People’s opera (Volksoper). In recent years, the Theatre in Vienna (Theater an der Wien) has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals. As far as museums are concerned, one cannot miss the Hofburg, the Schatzkammer (treasury holds the imperial jewels), Sissi Museum or Natural History Museum (Naturhistoriches Museum) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthishorisches Museum) or the Museum of Modern Art.

In Vienna one can admire many architectural styles, starting with Romanesque through Baroque and classicist to modern architecture.

Vienna is famous for its many parks and gardens. Many of them include monuments, such as the Stadtpark and Belvedere Park with its baroque-style castle where the State Treaty was signed. The principal park of Vienna is the Prater, which is situated on an island formed by the Danube River and the canal. Schönbrunn, the beautiful Imperial Summer Palace, includes an 18th century park and the world's oldest zoo (1752).

Vienna is the seat of a number of United Nations offices and various international institutions and companies, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law's secretariat (UNCITRAL).

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