Stephansdom cathedral at the heart of Vienna.
Vienna’s Gothic cathedral was mostly completed in the 12th century and sports a brilliantly chevron-tiled roof (Habsburg choice) while inside there is unique and artistic detailing such as the Gothic stone pulpit with a hand railing embellished with salamanders and toads fighting an battle of good versus evil.
The baroque altar shows the stoning of St Stephen while the chancel has a winged Wiener Neustadt altarpiece dating from 1447 and the right has a Renaissance red marble tomb of Friedrich III.
An elevator gets you up the tower for great city views, at a modest price.
One of the fine details inside Stephansdom is this portrait of the master sculptor by the master sculptor, Anton Pilgrim. Note that the nave is closed during mass which may take place up to eight times a day, depending on the season.
Karlskirche pool photo by LMih. Completed in 1737.
Romanesque columns illustrate the glorious life of St Karl Borromeo, patron saint of plague-prevention and treatment. Karlskirche was built to give thanks for the end of Vienna’s 1713 plague. The twisted baroquery of this masterpiece is superb, but inside is a marvel too. The baroque altar depicts St Karl being escorted to heaven by angels, as do the ceiling frescoes.
A small section of the astonishing Karlskirche ceiling fresco. We believe the saint in red is St Karl Borromeo. Bring your glasses or even binoculars with you, it’s a long way up!
The Art Nouveau Secession art gallery built in 1897. The Secession cube, known locally as ‘The Golden Cabbage‘, was a very unpopular design at the time.
The Vienna Secession was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who withdrew from the conservative Association of Austrian Artists. The movement included painters, sculptors and architects. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt and the association magazine was called Ver Sacrum.
Vienna’s MQ, Museumsquartier. Photo by Wien Hubertl.
The MuseumsQuartier is a huge and impressive collection of stylish museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars set inside the old imperial stables.
The best way to deal with this zone properly is to get a reasonably priced MQ Kombi Ticket which includes entry into all museums and galleries and a discount on some shows.
The Upper Belvedere Palace
The Upper Belvedere Palace. Yes, one is just not enough for some people. The two palaces were built for a successful Hapsburg general 1714-1723 and visiting them both should satiate any desire to see more gilt, frescoes, formal gardens, marbled body builders and baroque art.
The ceiling of the Marble Hall in the Upper Belvedere Palace. The sides are part of the illusion. Only the window left and the four hanging lamps are real. Photo by Alberto Fernandez Fernandez.
Rainfall is moderate year round with June and July getting most precipitation but that’s balanced by perfect summer temperatures, with average lows of 15C and highs of 25C.
Winters are drier, with snow, and not too cold, normally just above or below freezing.
So. . . very best: May, September and pretty good though busy in summer months, but Wien tourism is possible all year.
n. b. The Lipizzaner Horses (Spanish Riding School) and the State Opera House are both out of action during July/August, tho’ there’s plenty of other music around.