I thought it something of a surprise that , proportional to the number of tourists in Vienna, the Kunsthistoriches Museum (let’s just call it KHM) seemed relatively less popular than the Louvre in Paris, although there are distinct parallels. Both house stunning collections of art, both have great displays of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. OK, the KHM isn’t as large and hasn’t featured in any well-known stories, but it is up there with the best and certainly deserves to feature on the “must visit” list of all visitors to Vienna.
Not only are the collections stunning, so is the building itself (and, no doubt, also the matching Naturhistorisches Museum facing it across the park). Both opened in 1891, but it is the KHM which now draws the attention. It was raining when we visited, so we didn’t linger to admire the outside façade and details (main photo). Step inside though, and be amazed at the richness of the marble columns and the painted ceiling in the central atrium area (vertical panorama, photo 2) with its ‘trompe d’oeil’ effect. Then stroll through the Egyptian antiquities section on the ground floor (photo 3) and you’ll be overwhelmed. That feeling continues as you visit the Roman antiquities collection. As enthusiastic collectors, the Hapsburgs also gathered a vast array of carved ivory: the quality of some of the work is ethereal (photo 4), though I must admit being quite uncomfortable about the slaughter of wildlife necessary to have produced it. Finally, the art collection is world famous, and justly so, with a huge array of works by Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio, Bruegel, Van Dyck… and on it goes! (photo 5). What’s more, apart from a ban on using flash or tripods, there is no restriction on photography – our Australian galleries might well care to take note!
Continuing around the Ringstrasse just a little further from the Rathaus, you’ll find another impressive Gothic building. It looks the part of something from the 1300s, with its gargoyles, flying buttresses, arches, stained glass windows and all – but it’s actually from the late 1800s and was designed by the same Heinrich Von Ferstel who designed the Palais Ferstel (separate tip).
Going by the number of assassinations attempts, successful and unsuccessful, over the years, it seems that being a member of Habsburg royalty was a risky business! The failure of an attempted assassination of Franz Josef 1 in 1853 led to the construction of this superb cathedral, as an act of thanksgiving.
We visited on a rainy weekend day and the interior appeared to be closed for maintenance – certainly cleaning and maintenance was very much in evidence, going by the scaffolding and by the contrast in cleaned/uncleaned sections of stonework (as may be seen in the photos). As a personal opinion, the exterior appealed to me more than St Stephan’s, mainly because of the uniform styling – though my guidebook suggests the interior is vast and empty, so that may have been a disappointment.
As you wander around the Ringstrasse from the Kunsthistorisches Museum to the Rathaus, you’ll pass the Austrian Parliament building. The columned façade is very much “Ancient Greece meets Baroque” and the overall effect is very impressive (second photo). I’m sure there is a substantial security presence somewhere, but from outside it certainly was not obvious – unlike the French Parliament which has what seem to be permanent mesh barricades!
Most of all, while you are here, you’re certain to be struck by the superb statue of Pallas Athenas, the Greek Goddess of Heroic Endeavour. When we visited, it seemed the gilding on her helmet and accoutrements really gleamed (main photo). This is listed in our guidebook as a fountain, but there wasn’t any watery stuff splashing around when we visited – great statue though!
The Ring is called this way because it has a circle shape,it limits the old town of Vienna with Danube river.Walking by the ring,you'll see some of best and most beautiful buildings of the city.A good point to start the ring is the Opera House (Staatoper) and the only thing that you must to do is follow the cars on the big avenue.
There are three lanes of just one way,so all cars are running at same direction.You never get lost just looking at the cars directions.It is a nice and large walk to finish the whole ring,about 2,30 hours,it depends of your speed of course! :-) but I am sure that you'll spend lots of time taken pictures of all beautiful buildings along the ring!.
Now I'll show you some of best places to see along the ring.
This is a picture of Art History Museum.
The Ringstrasse was started in the middle of the 19th century when the inner fortifications around the heart of the city were removed. This wide and mostly tree lined boulevard runs through that what can be called World's most important ensemble of Historism. The various parts of the Ringstrasse have different names even including the full academic degrees of the historical persons which makes US students to write letters to the University's admission department starting with "Dear Dr. Karl Renner Ring..." Along the Ring you can find really impressive fakes of all European styles from Greek Temple (Parliament) via Gothic Cathedral (Rathaus and Votivkirche) to Renaissance (University) and Baroque, all built at the same time and often by the same architects.
The both tram lines 1 and 2 run all around the Ring (which is closed by the Kai along the Donaukanal) and you have the choice to do the tour clockwise or counterclockwise and can excellently watch all through the windows of the tram. Highly recommendable!
The giant edifice was created by the architect Theophil Hansen, and it was built into the year 1874 until 1884.
The massive construction is a splendid concept in classic style, with a unique architecture.
The main facade is built as a temple, with white column, beautiful sculptures and paintings and the entrance to the parliament is attainable over a wide driveway ramp.
A lot of marble sculptures, that represent Greek and Roman historians stand along the ramp.
In front of Parliament stands the Athena-well that was created by Karl Kundmann in the year 1902.
During the World War II, the Parliament was destroyed, and it was reconstructed until 1956.
The building of Parliament is a very important edifice on the Ringstrasse, a construction that means very much for the historic and socially lives of Austria.
The Austrian Parliament looks like an old greek temple, but in fact it dates back to the end of the 19th century and was constructed by Theophil Hansen as a part of the Ringstrassen-architecture. You may visit the parliament with a guided tour and after the reconstruction-works that ended in 2005 they even have a shop for parliament-souvenirs there. Take a closer look at the great monument of Pallas Athene and various fine details, like the door-handle on one of my pictures. The entrance-hall is beautifully decorated with mosaiques and even the street-lamps are decorated with swans and sculptures out of the greek mythology.
The new City hall is a splendid construction, with an exclusive architecture, placed in the middle of Vienna.
It is place of the Viennese city and country parliament.
The edifice was built by architect Friedrich Schmidt, in years 1872 until 1883, in the New Gothic style.
The middle tower of the main facade is 98 meters high, and in the peak of the tower is placed a statue (3,5 meters), a knight with lance" that is named “town hall man":
The building has seven yards and many statues by Austrian personalities are placed around the building.
In the front court of the town hall are organized film festivals, summer concerts, the Christmas market, and other events, the whole year long.
Of the German theatres around town, the best to visit is the Burgtheater.
The precious interiors of the theatre are created in the style of the French baroque.
The solid staircases show paintings from Gustav and Ernst Klimt and from Franz Matsch.
This part of the building is remained intact, after the bombardments of the world war.
The Austrian Parliament Building, (German: Parlament or Hohes Haus, formerly the Reichsratsgebäude), is where the two Houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sittings. The building lies at the Ringstraße in the first district Innere Stadt in Vienna, close by the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Palace of Justice. Coordinates: 48°12′29″N, 16°21′29″E
The main construction lasted from 1874 to 1883. The architect responsible for the building was Baron Theophil von Hansen, the building is an example of Greek revival. The architect von Hansen designed the building as an ensemble, where each piece harmonised with the rest. He was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and other elements. One of the building's most famous features is the statue of Athena and the fountain, a notable Viennese tourist attraction. Despite heavy damages and destruction during World War II, most of the interior has been restored to its original appearance
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