Am Bratach No. 308
There is no doubt in my mind
that Vienna is one the most beautiful cities in Europe. I was
visiting the Imperial City last month with work, attending the
Associations World Congress basically an association for
associations to discuss industry best practice. As part of my
job I attend these events to sell Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
as the perfect destination to hold a conference or event.
Its common practice during these events to be hosted at a city reception, and this one was no different; in fact it went above and beyond by welcoming us to the famous Hoffburg Palace. If youve been fortunate enough to visit Vienna youll appreciate how grand and palatial this impressive building is.
We arrived to a state drinks reception before being ushered up the marble staircase to the ballroom by two horn players the atmosphere of the evening was incredible. The ballroom was simply out of this world, with marble carvings of angels looking down from the supporting columns, renaissance paintings covering the ceiling and large crystal chandeliers embellishing the atmospheric lighting of a baroque banquet hosted by the Habsburg family the family of Austria.
Known as the House of Austria, the Habsburg family were among the most influential royal houses in Europe, producing emperors and kings for many of the great families of Europe. Their wealth had no boundaries, which explains the multiple adjoining palaces and their opulent hunting lodge a few miles away at the Schonbrunn Palace and gardens. When I say hunting lodge, I mean a perfectly symmetrical 1,441 room Baroque Palace complete with Palm House, Gloriette (large summer house) and an orangery: your average hunting lodge!
If this place is anything to
go by, the Habsburgs were not to be messed with! It was here
that the last of the House of Habsburg, Maria Theresa, lived
for most of her 40-year reign. The final Emperor of Austria,
Franz Joseph I, died at Schonbrunn Palace in 1916 before the
house fell to the hands of the state in 1918. Franz Joseph was
the uncle of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was assassinated
in 1914 in Sarajevo. This resulted in Austria-Hungarys
declaration of war against Serbia, leading to the various alliances
that resulted in World War One.
Everywhere you turn in Vienna, the place is dripping with beauty, architecture, design and history basically its a city for me! The legacy of the Habsburg family has left a clear mark on the city, and on history, and Im looking forward to a return visit to learn more. Three days was simply not long enough!
If history isnt your thing, then fear not. Vienna is also known as the city of music and gave the world famous composers including Mozart, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Strauss. It is no wonder then that you find some of the greatest acoustic venues in the city for orchestras and operas including the Vienna State Opera House and the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, where the Vienna Philharmonic is based. The city is proud of its musical heritage and so it should be: it has continued to provide the world with memorable and timeless pieces from the finest musicians ever to have lived.
Vienna has something for everyone and I only managed to scratch the surface of this historic city. I particularly enjoy the café culture, serving the famous Viennese coffee (but not the whirls they are apparently a British creation) and apple strudel delicious! I need to come back for more more Schnitzel, more history and more architecture. There are apparently vineyards close to the city that I never got to sample, so its safe to say Ill be booking my return flight to this beautiful city soon.