Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wein, A Magical City

Leaving the light heartiness of Bratislava we traveled north to Vienna.  Or Wein (Veen) as it's pronounced in German.  A magical city that has many different influences of architecture but one monarchy that lasted 600 years.  The Habsburg's ruled the Austria-Hungarian empire from 1218 with King Rudolf I.  When the Archduke Frans Ferdinand, a Habsburg, was assassinated in 1914 by a Serbian Nationalist, it led to WWI and affectively ended their dynasty and just about all monarchies in Europe.

The first ruling woman of the Habsburg dynasty, Queen Maria Theresa, had 16 children and sent them off to marry kings or queens in several countries on several continents.  A queen bee for sure, her method of uniting countries with marriages lead to an empire that stretched throughout Europe, with arranged marriages in South America and Mexico.  She ruled for 40 years. You may remember one of her daughters, Marie Antoinette.

The Schoenbrunn summer palace was build for the Habsburgs.  This 1,441 room summer home of  Rococo architecture built in the 1700's is now a tourist attraction.  It housed the British contingent after WWII.

A Christmas Market in the Schonbrunn Square 

Schonbrunn, The Habsburg Summer Palace

The day was concluded with music of Mozart and Strauss by a chamber orchestra in a fantastic hall just for the passengers of our UniWorld ship, River Beatrice.

An operetta from Mozart's Don Giovanni

A. J. Strauss Waltz
So much history and so little time in Vienna means we will have to return.

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