Lower Austria is the historical nucleus of present-day Austria and the site of archeological finds from the Stone Age to Roman times. A cruise along the Danube will give you a spectacular view of monasteries, castles, abbeys and churches from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque eras. Lower Austria is the home of the Weinviertel area, which produces about sixty per cent of all Austrian wines and is one of Europe’s most important grape growing regions. Visitors to the “vacation-land around Vienna” can enjoy everything from 12 health spas to wine tasting at local vineyards.
Burgenland (area 1530 sq miles; pop 273,000)
Austria’s easternmost province is also its newest. It was formed in 1921 from German-speaking border areas of what had been Hungary. It is a largely agricultural province which produces a variety of renowned wines; industry here consists mostly of canning factories. Its unusual landscape ensures a steady flow of visitors, especially around Lake Neusiedl, the only steppe lake in Europe. Burgenland’s small provincial capital is Eisenstadt, once the home of Josef Haydn.
Vienna (area 160 sq miles; pop 1.5 million)
Vienna is Austria’s federal capital, largest city and a federal province in its own right. Surrounded by the province of Lower Austria, it is only forty miles from the borders with Hungary and the Czech and Slovak Republics. For centuries Vienna was the capital of the Habsburg monarchy; today it is the seat of Austria’s federal government.
Vienna hosts numerous international conferences and is the headquarters of many major international organizations. The United Nations City in Vienna is the headquarters of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and other sub-organizations. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) made Vienna its permanent headquarters in 1965. The capital is also Austria’s economic focal point. It is the home of many specialized industries and the headquarters of most of the country’s large firms, banks and insurance companies.
Vienna’s university is the oldest in the German-speaking world. Often called “the real capital of Europe”, Vienna is an undisputed center of European culture and a city famous for its magnificent architecture, art collections, theaters and museums. The annual Opera Bail is OIK of Europe’s most dazzling cultural events. The New Year’s Concert, the Lippizan stallions of the Spanish Riding School, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir delight millions around the world. Shopping and dining rival cultural pursuits as absolute musts. Viennese cuisine (Wiener Kueche) is the only school of cooking in the world named after a city. An extraordinary blend of Slavic, Hungarian, Bohemian, Italian and German cooking unique to this area, it can be sampled in every restaurant from simple local eateries called Beisel to the chic Noblerestaurants. Vienna’s downtown district is a shopper’s paradise, offering everything from the latest fashions to priceless antiques. Little wonder that visitors from all over the world come to enjoy the incredible wealth of history, entertainment and atmosphere that is Vienna.