The City & its People
Vienna’s People are often described as a straight-forward and grumpy on the outside, but warm-hearted and jovial on the inside. Harmless grumbling and a chunk of black humor are very common with the Viennese and small-talk and randomly smiling a no-go. But as dark and morbid as that sounds, Vienna is in fact quite the opposite. The city is full of colorful festivals and happenings of any kinds, hidden treasures and people, with whom it might take an inch longer to get warm, but is definitely worth it!
The International Vienna
Austria’s political neutrality, its wealth and safety and the rich history have attracted many international Organizations. Vienna even has a special reputation as a “spy city” and not just in 007 movies. Along with New York, Geneva and Nairobi Vienna is one of the four headquarters of the United Nations. Since 1979 it is venue to numerous international conferences and meetings, which happen in the Vienna International Centre. The “Uno city”, how the district is called in Vienna is home to several UN Agencies.
Though Vienna’s past as a part of Nazi-Germany the Jewish Community is and has ever been an important piece of the city’s diverse culture. Many famous sons and daughters of Vienna – composers like Gustav Mahler, literates like Stefan Zweig, Karl Kraus, Hilde Spiel or Franz Kafka, scientists like Viktor Frank or Otto Loewy – have not just contributed all to the rich cultural background of the city, but share a Jewish Origin. Before the annexation to Nazi Germany 1938 Vienna inhibited the largest Jewish community in Europe. Today the second district is still the center of the Jewish Community in Vienna though there isn’t much visible evidence of its cultural heritage. Vienna’s main synagogue is located in the Seitenstettengasse in the first district.
Gay and Lesbian
A tenth of Viennas 1.7 million inhabtitants is homosexual by estimation and not without pride Vienna is the capital of gay and lesbian life in Austria. Vienna has a prominent history of homosexuality, Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) and the last emperor Charles VI are probably its most famous protagonists. Today Vienna inhabits a flourishing gay and lesbian community and numerous venues, which enjoy great popularity within the gay scene like the Café Savoy, the Village Bar or the Rosa-Lila-Villa at Linke Wienzeile, which is the unofficial center of the homosexual community.
Vienna’s gay dance club scene has been enjoying great popularity among the homosexual party crowd and the hetero’s as well. There are several events monthly or bi-monthly, which are a must on every party-calender.
Vienna is a city with many surnames. City of Wine, Capital of Culture, Vienna & Death, City of Coffee. With a rich and long history come many singularities, some more peculiar than others.
Vienna has a lot of both, history and tradition, which brought forth a city with a deep and unique cultural identity. Classical composers, famous painters, scientists and literates – Vienna has ever been a fertile soil for arts, philosophy and science to flourish and become famous all over the world.
The Viennese calendar is full of cultural acts and happenings traditional as well as modern and there are new events and exhibitions every year.
The Viennese cuisine is a hefty one, with strong bohemian influences. Who hasn’t heard of the “Wiener Schnitzel” with potato salad? But more famous than its main courses, are the Viennese pastries for dessert. And where would get those, if not in one of the city’s classy coffee houses? Though Beer is a very popular beverage in all-over Austria, Vienna is wine city surrounded by the finest wine regions of Austria. Vienna is home to many Wine taverns and has its own little traditional Wine commune in the 19th district.
Death has a distinct relation with the city’s atmosphere. The whole city has a slightly morbid and melancholic aura to it, but rather in a conscious than in a sad way, people in Vienna are aware that everything is ephemeral, but they don’t see a problem in that. Maybe that’s a reason the Viennese depreciate Smalltalk and cut right to the chase.