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Vienna - a historic beauty

Vienna has played a role in history for a very long time. The first Celtic tribes arrived there over 4000 years ago, it was seized by the Roman Empire over 1900 years ago, there were dozens of wars between different tribes in the early middle ages, and it was one of the most influential cities from 1000AD until the early 1900s. Most importantly, it was the capital of the Austrian Empire and thus the residence of their emperor for almost 1000 years. For all that time, Vienna ruled over large parts of Europe, over an area that now coveres six countries completely and seven countries at least partially. Unfortunately, they also played a role between 1914 and 1945, actively partaking in both world wars, a civil war, and enduring three fascist dictators. After this dark era, Austria was declared neutral by the allied forces and became a wealthy and highly developed industrial nation with one of the highest standards of living. Vienna might not be a highly important city like it used to be, but it's still the capital of Austria and harbours several headquarters of UN, IAEA, and OECD.

Enough of history, though. Why would you want to go there today?

The city has plenty of green spaces. No matter where in Vienna you are, there is at least one park within 15 minutes of where you live. All of them are kept clean and in good condition throughout all seasons. Which makes them very attractive for all kinds of activities. Meet friends, have a picnic, take a sunbath, or just chill out. But the three biggest green spaces have more to offer. With a size of six square-kilometres, the Prater is a very huge park in the middle of the city. It harbours a very old, yet highly popular theme park, as well as the famous Viennese Ferris wheel. The Donauinsel is a 22 km long and up to 250 m broad island in the middle of the Danube. Every year it's the location of the so-called Donauinselfest, which is a yearly series of concerts that attracts millions of visitors. Another very historic green space is the park of Schönbrunn palace. As the garden of the emperor's main residence, you get to walk on the same paths that were once reserved for Emperors and Empresses.

There are also a lot of museums for every imaginable topic. There is the museum of natural history (Naturwissenschaftliches Museum), the museum of historic art (Kunsthistorisches Museum), the Albertina, the Jewish museum, the technical museum, the museum of applied art, the museum of military history, and so on. No matter what you're interested in, there surely is something for your taste. On top of that, pretty much all history places, for example the St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) or the Parliament, offer guidances in countless languages.

Something worth visiting is also the vicinity of Vienna. The Viennese Forest (Wiener Wald) is a 1000 square-kilometres large natural habitat with plenty of nature and hills. It's a very common recreational area for the inhabitants of the city. It's just a few kilometres outside of the city borders, but you won't notice the rush of the modern city anymore. With its diverse landscape it allows visitors to pursue a lot of different hobbies. Hiking, mountain biking, climbing, or just going for a walk in the woods.

Austria's countryside is very catholic-conservative, but Vienna is the literal opposite. This makes the city the perfect place for any typical left-wing ideals. Do you want to engage in the protection of nature, cultural diversity, or simply stand up for human rights? Vienna will help you with that!

--- Katie

[1] https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wasserbau/donauinsel/geschichte/
[2] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Sch%C3%B6nbrunn#
[3] http://i01.erlebnisgeschenke.de/products/image_1/777.jpg
[4] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Naturhistorisches-Museum-Wien-Totale.jpg
[5] https://www.wien.info/de/sightseeing/ausfluege/wienerwald
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