Vienna City Centre in Austria
The city centre of Vienna or Innere Stadt is bordered to the northeast by the Danube canal and surrounded on a all other sides by the majestic sweep of the Ring Road.
In the 16th century, bastions were built around the downtown city of Vienna to serve as an even better defense than the earlier medieval walls. In 1858 these walls were torn down to build a ring road around the central core of the city. The area within the Ringstrasse or ring road is considered the old city of Vienna. The Vienna Ring Boulevard is 4 kilometres long and circles the Vienna city centre.
Most of the important historic sights and landmarks of the city are concentrated in this district and along the Ring road. The old historic downtown city centre of Vienna Austria is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. Central Vienna is named a UNESCO World Heritage Centre Landmark in 2001.
The most significant and grandiose buildings in central Vienna, Innere Stadt, were constructed under the legendary Viennese emperors – for example the Hofburg Imperial Palace (Wiener Hofburg) complex, where Sisi once lived. The world-famous Spanish Riding School with its noble Lipizzaners Horses is also located there. Very close to the Hofburg, the Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft) calls to mind the Austrian capital’s former rulers. St. Stephan’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) forms the precise focal point of the city of Vienna, located exactly in the dead centre of the city, it is one of the most famous Viennese sights and was built in 1147.
The inner city centre of Vienna is the place for shopping. The Kärntnerstraße, Graben and Kohlmarkt, with their elegant fashion boutiques such as Hermes, Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Burberry & Co., are considered the luxury shopping streets of Wien. The luxurious grocery store Meinl am Graben is a Mecca for gourmets, where delicacies from Vienna as well as from around the world are available for purchase. Mariahilferstraße and to the Neubau quarter are very popular among the younger shoppers.
Main squares located in Vienna City Centre, Austria
Stephansplatz — central downtown square and an ideal starting point to discover the city’s sights on foot. The plaza is the site of the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral or Stephansdom. Opposite the Stephansdom is the Haas-Haus. The exclusive shopping streets Graben and Kärntner Straße are located nearby. The square is surrounded by plenty of excellent places to stay like the DO&CO Hotel Vienna. This accommodation lies directly on St. Stephen’s Square in the iconic Haas-Haus building.
Karlsplatz — major transport hub in Vienna. On the south side of Karlsplatz is The St. Charles’s Church or Karlskirche.
Ballhausplatz — city centre square in the Innere Stadt, a few minutes walk from the Austrian Parliament Building and on the edge of the grounds of Hofburg Imperial Palace. Ballhausplatz 2 is the residence of the Chancellor of Austria (Prime Minister).
Freyung — downtown Vienna square in the historic centre bordered by several palaces and Schottenkirche church. The most famous palace at the square is the Ferstel Palace, built in 1860 to a design by Heinrich von Ferstel. Other palaces include the Palais Porcia, Palais Kinsky, and Palais Harrach. The fountain at the center of Freyung is known as the Austriabrunnen (Austria Fountain).
Heldenplatz or Heroes Square — outer plaza of the Hofburg. The square is named for two Austrian war heroes: Prince Eugène of Savoy, the victor over the Turks in the 17th century, and Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen, who defeated Napoleon in 1809 in Aspern, near Vienna. It’s the site where Hitler announced the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria by the German Third Reich.
Josefsplatz — center square with in the middle a monument of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor mounted on a horse.
Judenplatz or Jewish Square — Innere Stadt square which was the center of Jewish life and the Viennese Jewish Community in the Middle Ages. In the middle of the northern end of the square stands the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial.
Maria-Theresien-Platz — large square dominated by the Naturhistorisches Museum or Natural History Museum, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum or the Art History Museum.
Minoritenplatz — one of the oldest squares in Vienna city centre. It’s dominated by the Minoritenkirche church.
Friedrich-Schmidt-PLatz — square in Josefstadt district, in front of Vienna’s City Hall or Rathaus and site of an annual Christmas Market. The Rathaus is the seat of the City Council of Vienna. There is a large choice of cheaper hotels and hostels within easy walking distance of the sqaure.