Vienna Things to Do Tips by morgenhund
Vienna Things to Do: 3,352 reviews and 6,663 photos
The "Mad people's tower" - or Narrenturm - is a circular building that I overlook from my office in the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. It was part of the old Vienna General Hospital complex (altes AKH) and is now the national anatomy and pathology museum. A guided tour lasting 40 minutes can be taken. Its collection is broken down into four different types of exhibit:
1) Maceration Preparations: Dry preparations of bones and other body parts with pathological changes
2) Wet Preparations: Human and animal cadaveric parts preserved in formaldehyde.
3) Moulages: Castings of pathological body parts in wax or paraffin.
4) Devices: Old and new medical devices illustrating specific diseases.
Entrance costs EUR 2. It is not one for the faint-hearted but is of great interest for people with an interest in pathology.
Address: Uni Campus, Spitalgasse 2 A-1090 Wien
Directions: In the "Altes AKH" complex - close to the University.
Opening hours: Wednesdays 15.00-18.00, Thursdays 08.00-11.00, every first Saturday of the month 10.00-13.00. Closed on public holidays.
The Anker Uhr - so called because it was paid for by the Anker-Versicherungsgesellschaft (Anker insurance - now Helvetia) is located on Vienna's oldest square - the Hoher Markt. It portrays twelve historical characters - ranging from Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor when Vindobona (Vienna) was first a Roman settlement, through to Joseph Haydn. The clock strikes every quarter of an hour with a special "display" on the striking of the hours. It is a very popular attraction with tourists and worth timing your visit to see it strike the hour.
Address: Hoher Markt
Directions: Hoher Markt (walk up the Lichtensteg from Rotenturmstrasse)
Kennedy Memorial - 1st district
Whilst walking up from the Stephansdom along Rotenturmstrasse, many people don't notice the John F. Kennedy memorial. Vienna has a special affinity with JFK - in Hietzing the Underground station is at Kennedybrücke - the other permanent memorial to Kennedy in Vienna after his assassination in 1963. This memorial is somewhat overlooked - very simple but as a result so unobtrusive.
Address: The old part of Vienna inside the Ringstrasse
Directions: On the corner of Lichtensteg and Rotenturmstrasse.
From the middle
The maze at Schönbrunn costs €2.90 for adults to get in and once in you can wander the maze to your heart's content - hopefully reaching the middle, where a tree and viewing platform await. The maze is popular with guests, despite being relatively small and it took me a good twenty minutes of indecision, false turns etc. to get to the middle. There is now a second maze with some new variations on the traditional box hedge approach - mirrors forming a kaleidoscope in the middle, stepping stones, springloaded platforms etc. - whilst is also worth tackling, even if the hedging in the second maze is not nearly as advanced as that of the original maze.
Address: Schloss Schönbrunn, A-1130 Wien
Directions: Take the U4 to Schönbrünn. The maze is located behind the palace.
Typical Stand at Rathausplatz
The Rathausplatzweihnachtsmarkt is the biggest one - although possibly not the best. It is certainly though the more touristy one of all. There are a large number of stands selling, jewellery, picture frames, toys, chocolates, balloons and of course the Punsch stands.
The process for buying Punsch is the same at all Christmas markets - you pay a deposit for a cup, which you pay with your first drink. Thereafter you can take the cup back to any stand or have a refill. A lot of people tend to take the mugs home with them (hence the necessity of the deposit - this year it is €2). There are also a number of fairground style roundabouts and rides for children - for whom wandering through the hordes is not the funnest experience.
From twilight on the market is usually packed with people - regardless of what day of the week You are advised to take good care of your personal possessions - there are apparently pick-pictures circulating and the densely crowded square is a perfect haven for them.
Address: Rathausplatz, A-1010 Wien
The Secession - which features on the Austrian 50c
The Austrian 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are adorned with:
Stephansdom (St Stephens Cathedral)
Belvedere gates (Schloss Belvedere)
Sezession (The Secession)
The easiest way to take in all three sights is by Underground. Take the U1 or U3 to the Stephansdom. From there take the U1 to Karlsplatz and take the exit Sezession - otherwise you can easily walk to the Secession building. To get to Belvedere you are best off taking the D tram in direction S?dbahnhof from Karlsplatz.
Directions: Central Vienna
Museum der Stadt Wien
Whilst the Museumsquartier receives a great deal of plaudits, the Museum der Stadt Wien seems to go largely unnoticed, with its premises in Karlsplatz being in a fairly nondescript post-war building, whilst the Museumsquartier basks in architectural magnificence. The museum focuses on the art history and geographical history of Vienna through the ages with a wide range of paintings and artefacts from through the ages, as well as reconstructed displays from items such as Adolf Loos' living room or Grillparzer's apartment. On the artistic side there are pieces by Klimt and Schiele on display as well as work from the Wiener Werkstätte. There are also other items which plot the development of the city - such as models of the city. The museum is due to be shut for much of the first half of 2006 for renovation work (end of January until end of April 2006). As well as the permanent collections there are also a lot of temporary exhibitions - in particular photographic ones.
Directions: Open Tue-Sun 9am-6pm with extended opening hours.
Near the Karlskirche and the Musikverein.
U1, U2, U4 Karlsplatz
The Theseus-Tempel is now a building "without portfolio". It is now used as an exhibition space, in particular for young and up-and-coming artists. It was originally commissioned by Napoleon to be a replica of the Theseion in Athens, and was intended to house the statue of Theseus and the Minotaur by Canova. However, the statue now resides in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where it has been since the KHM opened. The colonnade is a favourite meeting place for students and people on blind dates (although I have never had a blind date meeting here!).
Address: Main entrance from Heldenplatz
Directions: Volksgarten: U3/U2, Trams 1,2, J and D. Park open 6am-8pm in winter or 6am-10pm in summer.
The Karlskirche, which is dedicated to St Charles Borromeo, the Saint associated with the relief from the plague, was built as thanks for the end of the plague in Vienna in 1713. It was designed and built by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach and his son, Josef Emanuel and took 26 years to build. The columns, which are freestanding on either side of the Cathedral, have reliefwork depictions and for all its grandeur externally, the church is refreshingly plain inside. In winter the pond in front of the church is drained, in summer it is a rather fine duck pond. It can be seen across the Resselpark and looks equally impressive by night when it is usually lit up.
Directions: U1, U2, U4 Karlsplatz/Oper - 1,2, 62, 65, J and D trams
Phone: +43 1 5056294
The Swiss Gate (Schweizertor) in the Hofburg, Vien
The Schweizertor is the gateway, dating from the early 16th Century which leads to the oldest part of the Hofburg. There, in the Schweizerhof (Swiss Courtyard), you can reach the State Apartments and Schatzkammer - the Treasury, where the treasures of the Holy Roman Empire are on display.
Address: Schweizerhof, 1010 Wien
Directions: In the middle of the Hofburg complex
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