VIENNA is truly the “the Opera House of Europe” and is my favorite city on the continent. VIENNA, IMHO, combines the ‘classic meets contemporary’ vibe of PARIS, the majesty, mystery, and magic of ROME, the beauty and splendor of PRAGUE, and the vibrant, happening nightlife of BARCELONA.

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.8 million (2.6 million within the metropolitan area, nearly one third of Austria’s population), and its cultural, economic, and political center It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC.

The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants.[ In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be “The City of Dreams” because it was home to the world’s first psychotherapist – Sigmund Freud. The city’s roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, and then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music center, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century.

The historic center of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

VIENNA however, offers musical enchantment like no other metropolis on earth, thanks to its prodigal sons, the greatest musicians the world has ever seen – MOZART, BRAHMS, STRAUSS, the BACHs (Sr. and Jr.) and BEETHOVEN (although born German, he composed and performed his best known works of music in Vienna). Only in VIENNA, can you walk into “MOZARTHAUS’ and experience the ambiance that inspired the dulcet sounds we celebrate to this day, from the Maestro who has been called “a magic flute in the hands of God”, or stroll into the mansion where BRAHMS lived, to hear an ensemble presentation of his timeless compositions!

VIENNA is truly “the Opera House of Europe” and indeed, a “place of pilgrimage” for music aficionados such as yours truly, especially the iconic ‘MOZARTHAUS’! The Baroque styled SCHONBRUNN PALACE, (Schonbrunn means “beautiful spring”) Vienna’s answer to the VERSAILLES PALACE (on the outskirts of Paris), was the imperial summer residence of the Hapsburg Dynasty who have enjoyed the longest reign in Austria, and is a must- see attraction in Vienna.