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, city and province, Austria

Vienna (vēĕnˈə), Ger. Wien, city and province (1991 pop. 1,539,848), 160 sq mi (414 sq km), capital and largest city of Austria and administrative seat of Lower Austria, NE Austria, on the Danube River. The former residence of the Holy Roman emperors and, after 1806, of the emperors of Austria, Vienna is one of the great historic cities of the world and a melting pot of the Germanic, Slav, Italian, and Hungarian peoples and cultures.

Located on a plain surrounded by the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) and the Carpathian foothills, it is a cultural, industrial, commercial, and transportation center. The city is divided into 23 districts grouped roughly in two semicircles around the Innere Stadt, or Inner City. Vienna's industries, mainly concentrated on the left bank of the Danube and in the southern districts, produce electrical appliances, machine tools, paper, and clothing. There are also large oil refineries, breweries, and distilleries. The annual Wiener Messe, an industrial fair (est. 1921), attracts buyers from all over the world. Vienna's musical and theatrical life, its parks, coffeehouses, and museums, make it a great tourist attraction; tourism is of great signficance for the city's economy.

The modern city dates from Francis Joseph's reign (1848–1916). By 1860 the old ramparts around the inner city had been replaced by the famous boulevard, the Ringstrasse. The principal edifices on or near the Ringstrasse are the neo-Gothic Rathaus, with many statues and a tower 320 ft (98 m) high; the domed museums of natural history and of art, in Italian Renaissance style; the Votivkirche, one of the finest of modern Gothic churches; the parliament buildings, in Greek style; the palace of justice; the famous opera house and the Burgtheater, both in Renaissance style; the Künstlerhaus, with painting exhibitions; the Musikverein, containing the conservatory of music; and the Academy of Art. Among Vienna's many other museums are the Albertina, a state museum housed in an 18th-century building, and the Kunstforum, a bold contemporary exhibition space. Near the Albertina is the famous Spanish Riding Academy and the Austrian National Library, completed in 1726. The city's educational institutions include the Univ. of Vienna (1365), the Vienna Univ. of Technology, the Vienna Univ. of Economics and Business, and the main campus of the Central European Univ. In the late 20th. cent, Danube Island was developed as one of the largest urban parks in Europe; the neighboring Danube City development includes many modern buildings.


Originally a Celtic settlement, Vienna, then called Vindobona, became an important Roman military and commercial center; Emperor Marcus Aurelius resided there and died there (A.D. 180). After the Romans withdrew (late 4th cent.), it rapidly changed hands among the invaders who overran the region. The Magyars, who gained possession of Vienna early in the 10th cent., were driven out by Leopold I of Babenberg, the first margrave of the Ostmark (see Austria). Construction on Vienna's noted Cathedral of St. Stephen began c.1135.

Several decades later Henry Jasomirgott, first duke of Austria, transferred his residence to the town, made it capital of the duchy, and erected a castle, Am Hof. The town was fortified by Ottocar II of Bohemia, who conquered Austria in 1251. In 1282, Vienna became the official residence of the house of Hapsburg. The city was occupied (1485–90) by Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and was besieged by the Turks for the first time in 1529. In the critical second siege (1683) by the Turks under Kara Mustafa and their Hungarian allies under Thokoly, the city, heroically defended by Ernst von Starhemberg, was on the verge of starvation when it was saved by John III (John Sobieski) of Poland.

Early in the 18th cent. a new circle of fortifications was built around the city, and many magnificent buildings were erected. Bernhard Fischer von Erlach drew up new plans for the Hofburg (the imperial residence) and built the beautiful Karlskirche; Johann von Hildebrandt designed St. Peter's Church, the Belvedere (summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy), and the Kinsky Palace; together they planned the Schwarzenburg Palace and the winter residence of Prince Eugene. Empress Maria Theresa (reigned 1740–80) enlarged the old university and completed the royal summer palace of Schönbrunn, started by her father, Charles VI (1711–40). Joseph II (1765–90) opened the Prater, a large imperial garden, which now contains an amusement park, to the public. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert lived in Vienna and gave it lasting glory.

In 1805 and 1809, Vienna was occupied by Napoleon. In the early 19th cent. Vienna was famous for the waltzes of Joseph Lanner and the Strauss family, and for the farces of Nestroy, the comedies of Raimund, and the tragic dramas of Grillparzer. During the revolutions of 1848, revolutionists in Vienna forced Metternich to resign, but they were eventually suppressed by Windischgrätz.

In the late 19th and early 20th cent., Vienna flourished again as a cultural and scientific center. Rokitansky, Wagner-Jauregg, and Billroth (to whom Brahms dedicated the string quartets Op. 51) worked at the General Hospital; at the same time Freud was developing his theory of psychoanalysis. Vienna attracted Brahms, Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Arnold Schoenberg and his disciples, who gave it a further period of musical greatness. Krauss, Werfel, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, and Wassermann dominated the literary scene.

Vienna suffered hardships during World War I. Amidst food shortages and revolution it became, at the end of the war, the capital of the small republic of Austria. In 1922, Vienna became an autonomous province (Bundesland) of Austria. The highly successful Social Democratic city government headed by Mayor Karl Seitz (1923–34) initiated a program of municipal improvements. In public housing Vienna set an example for the world. Model apartment houses for workers, notably the huge Karl Marx Hof, began to replace the city's slums. The projects were badly damaged in the civil war of Feb., 1934, between Viennese Socialists and the Austrian government of Chancellor Dollfuss.

On Mar. 15, 1938, Adolf Hitler triumphantly entered Vienna, and Austria was annexed to Germany. During World War II the city suffered considerable damage. The Jewish population (115,000 in 1938), residing mainly in the Leopoldstadt district (designated the official ghetto in the 17th cent.), was reduced through extermination or emigration to 6,000 by the end of the war. The Russian army entered Vienna in Apr., 1945. Vienna and Austria were divided into four occupation zones by the victorious Allies. The occupation lasted until 1955, when, by treaty, the four powers reunited Austria as a neutral state.

Vienna became the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1957; it is the headquarters for several other international organizations, including the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The city also has been a neutral site for international talks, such as those between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev in 1961.


See A. J. May, Vienna in the Age of Franz Josef (1966); I. Lehne and L. Johnson, Vienna—The Past in the Present (1985).


, town, United States
Vienna, town (1990 pop. 14,852), Fairfax co., N Va., a residential suburb of Washington, D.C.; inc. 1890. There is computer software research. Originally called Springfield, Vienna became the site of Fairfax county's first courthouse in 1742. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is on the city's outskirts. Nearby is the enormous Tysons Corner Center mall, which attracts shoppers from the N Virginia–Washington, D.C., area.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



capital city of Austria. Area, 415 sq km; population, 1,642,000 (1968). It is located at the foot of the Alps on the Danube, where the river emerges from the mountains onto the plain and where the Danube waterway and the historic trade route along its bank cross the trans-European route linking the Baltic and central European countries with the Mediterranean. It has a mild climate with an average January temperature of -1.5° C (although there are periods of temperatures from -12° to -18 ° C) and a mean July temperature of about 20° C. In the winter the Föhn (warm mountain wind) occurs. The capital’s territory has the status of a province and is at the same time the administrative center for the province of Lower Austria.

Administration The organs of the city administration of Vienna are also the administrative organs of Vienna as a province. Thus, the municipal council of Vienna also functions as a Landtag, the city senate as the provincial government, the burgomaster as Landhauptmann, and so on. The municipal council (Gemeinderat) consists of 100 deputies elected by the people of Vienna for a term of five years. The council elects the burgomaster, the city senate, consisting of the burgomaster, and not less than nine city councilors (12 were elected in 1967), two of whom act as vice-burgomasters. The municipal council sets up committees composed of deputies for the various branches of the city administration (Gemeinderatsausschüsse), of which there were 12 in 1967.

The magistracy of Vienna consists of a burgomaster, the town councilors, who are in charge of the separate branches of the administration, the director of the magistracy, and others. The burgomaster of Vienna and the organs subordinated to him also perform executive functions on behalf of the federation as a whole, in which capacity they are directly responsible to the government of Austria.

Vienna is divided into 23 urban districts, the inhabitants of which elect for a term of five years district representative bodies (Bezirksvertretungen), each consisting of 30 district councilors (Bezirksrat) and district administrators (Bezirksvorsteher).

History In ancient times Celtic and possibly also Illyrian settlements were located on the site of Vienna. In Roman times, from the first century A.D., it was the location of a camp of Roman legionnaires and was called Vindobona. In the 11th and 12th centuries Vienna (so named in sources for the first time in 881 and then in 1030), since it was situated on a major trade route, became the most important town in Austria; in the middle of the 12th century it was the residence of the Austrian dukes. Vienna had the status of a princely town and at times enjoyed the rights of an imperial town; it had self-government, exercised by a patriciate. In 1529 and 1683, Vienna was unsuccessfully besieged by the Turks. In the 16th century it became important as the capital of the multinational state of the Hapsburgs. From the 17th century and especially in the 18th century it became the focus of a large court bureaucracy. From the 18th century a textile manufacturing industry developed in Vienna, particularly for the production of luxury articles. In the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, Vienna was one of Europe’s main cultural centers, particularly with regard to music.

In 1805 and 1809 the troops of Napoleon I entered Vienna. The Vienna Congress of 1814-15 was held there.

During the revolution of 1848-49 in Austria, Vienna was the center of the revolutionary struggle. From 1867 to 1918, Vienna was the capital of Austria-Hungary. In the second half of the 19th century, as a result of the rapid development of capitalist industry, the population, which had numbered 175,500 inhabitants in 1754, grew to 476,000 in 1857 and to 704,700 in 1880. The workers’ movement during the same time gained in strength. In January 1918 a general political strike was held in Vienna, and it became the main center of the Revolution of 1918 in Austria. The Austrian Communist Party was founded on Nov. 3, 1918. On Nov. 12, 1918, in Vienna, Austria was proclaimed a republic. In July 1927 a mass antifascist workers’ demonstration took place, which was dispersed by the government with the help of the armed forces. In February 1934 the workers and members of the disbanded Schutzbund, which had been dissolved in 1933, offered armed resistance to the fascists, who were attacking social democratic and trade union organizations. On the night of Mar. 11, 1938, fascist German troops entered Vienna, which, like the rest of Austria, was seized by fascist Germany. After bitter fighting, Vienna was liberated by the Soviet Army on Apr. 13, 1945. In July of that year, an agreement was signed regarding the occupation zones of Austria and the administration of Vienna. Vienna was divided into four occupation sectors—Soviet, American, British, and French; joint four-power occupation was established in the central part of the city. From Dec. 12 to 19, 1952, the Congress of Peoples for Peace was held in Vienna. On May 15, 1955, the State Treaty for the Reestablishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria was signed there. The Austrian parliament meeting in Vienna passed a law on Oct. 26, 1955, providing for the permanent neutrality of Austria.

Mozart, Beethoven, as well as other well-known composers, the romantic poet F. Grillparzer, the writer S. Zweig, the naturalist G. J. Mendel, and many other prominent figures in the world of art and science lived and worked in Vienna.


Quellen zur Geschichte der Stadt Wien [vols. 1-18.] Vienna, 1895-1937.
Urkunden und Regesten aus dem Archive der Stadt Wien, vols. 1-3. Published by K. Uhlirz. Vienna, 1895-97.


Economy Vienna is one of the largest transport centers in Europe and an important transit junction; most of the 12 railway lines that radiate from it are major trans-European routes. The Schwechat airport is also an important transit point. Vienna is the second largest Austrian port (after Linz) on the Danube.

Vienna is at the center of the most densely populated and agriculturally and industrially most developed area of Austria. Almost one-fourth of the Austrian population, about two-fifths of its industrial production, and more than four-fifths of the bank capital of the country are centered in Vienna. Industry is the most important form of economic activity, in which (including handicrafts) about half of the gainfully employed population was engaged in 1967; only about one-fourth was employed in trade and transport. In the past, Vienna was a center for the production, mainly in small enterprises, of high-quality luxury goods which, termed “Viennese chic,” acquired a considerable reputation on the world market. After World War II the situation changed, although there are still in Vienna some 40,000 handicraft shops; in four-fifths of such qualified enterprises, the average number of employees is less than 100. In 1968 about 40 percent of industrial production consisted of machine building, particularly of transport machinery (Austro-Fiat, Steyr-Daimler-Puch, Simmering-Graz-Pauker), electrical engineering (Siemens-Schuckert), radio electronics, precision machinery and optical instruments, instrument-making, machine-tool construction, and others. A petrochemical industry has been set up, which processes the products of nearby oil fields discovered not long before World War II and which utilizes them in such traditional processes as the production of photochemical, pharmaceutical, and other refined chemical products. The production for export of fashionable women’s clothing and fine knitted fabrics, hats, fashionable shoes, fine furniture, musical instruments, toys, and other products characteristic of Vienna has retained its importance. The various branches of the food industry have been developed to meet the requirements of the capital’s population.

Among the many financial institutions, the largest and leading banks are the Creditanstalt and Länderbank.

The urban forms of transportation include a subway.


Architecture and city planning Most of the city lies on the right bank of the Danube, between the river and the spurs of the Eastern Alps (the Vienna Woods). Within the city itself there is a great variation in altitude; the highest point, Hermannskogel, is 542 m and the lowest, Essling, is 155 m above sea level. The hilly surroundings are picturesque.

The integration of the architectural composition of the city, its spacious ensembles, well-proportioned and elegant buildings, parks, and numerous monuments and fountains have earned Vienna its well-deserved fame as one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. The right bank has retained features of medieval centrifugal planning. Two semicircles of boulevards—the Ring (Ringstrasse, 1856-88, on the site of the city walls of the 13th to 14th century) and the Gürtel (1894, on the site of the outer city walls of 1704) abut on the Danube and are crossed by radiating main streets. In the picturesque and densely constructed center, the Old, or Inner, City encircled by the Ring, there are narrow, twisting side streets and architectural monuments, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with a Romanesque western facade (1137-47), a Gothic choir hall (1304-40) and nave (1359-1454), and a south tower, about 136 m high (1359-1433); the Gothic Church of Maria Stiegen (1330-1414); the former residence of the Hapsburgs, the Hofburg (the Swiss Gate, 1552, and the Neue Hofburg, 1881-1913, designed by the architects G. Semper and C. Hasenauer; the National Library designed by the architect J. B. Fischer von Erlach); the baroque palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1695-98, architect Fischer von Erlach; 1708-24, architect L. von Hildebrandt); and the baroque Palais Daun-Kinsky (1713-16, designed by Hildebrandt). Between the Ring and the Gürtel are the so-called inner districts—the business quarters and residential areas thickly populated mainly by the petite bourgeoisie and office workers; there are spacious terraced parks laid out mainly during the baroque period—the Lower (1714-16) and Upper (1721-22) Belvedere designed by Hildebrandt, the Palais Schwarzenberg (1697-1704, Hildebrandt; 1720-23, Fischer von Erlach), and the Church of St. Carlo Borromeo (1716-39, Fischer von Erlach). Beyond the Gürtel are the Schönbrunn Palace and Park (architects Fischer von Erlach, 1695-1700, and N. Pacassi, 1744-49). In the northern outskirts of the town, near the Vienna Woods, are the villas and private houses of the wealthier classes; in the southern, eastern, and western outskirts, more particularly on the left bank of the Danube (Floridsdorf and Leopoldau), are situated the factories and working-class quarters. On the island of Prater are the Prater and Augarten parks. Among the imposing buildings of various styles about the Ring are the Opera House (1861-69, designed by the architects A. Siccard von Siccardsburg and E. van der Nuell), the Parliament building (1873-83, architect T. E. von Hansen), the Rathaus (1872-83, architect F. Schmidt), the Art History and Natural History museums (1872-81) and the Burgtheater (1874-88, designed by Semper and Hasenauer), as well as various shops, hotels, and restaurants. Buildings in the Jugendstil include the Vienna Secession building designed by J. Olbrich (1897-98), the Steinhof Hospital (1904-07) designed by O. Wagner, and the Austrian Museum (1913) designed by J. Hoffmann. Among buildings in contemporary style are the Loos-Haus on the Michaelerplatz (1910, architect A. Loos), the workers’ building Karl-Marx-Hof, now known as the Heiligenstädterhof (1927-29, architect K. Enn), the Western Station (1950-54, architect R. Hartinger), the tall Ringturm building (1953-55, architect E. Boltenstern), the multipurpose Stadthall (1955-58, architect R. Rainer), and the building of the Garden Exhibition of 1964. A number of efficiently planned settlements have been built, including the Per-Albin-Hansson settlement, (1949-53, designed by F. Schuster) and Maurerberg (1963, by the architect R. Rainer). Some transport junctions have been rebuilt, and underground passages for pedestrians have been constructed with public services, such as the Opern-passage (1955) and the Südtirolerplatz (1959).

Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. The city’s educational, scientific, and cultural institutions include the University of Vienna, the Higher Technical School, the Institute of World Trade, the Academy of Fine Arts, and other institutions of higher education, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and many scientific institutes and societies; the National Library, which has more than 1.9 million volumes; museums—the Natural History Museum, the Art History Museum, the Albertina, the Austrian Gallery, the Collections of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Vienna Historical Museum, the houses of Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and others made into museums, and theaters—the Vienna State Opera, the Volksoper, the Burgtheater, and others.


Ledovskikh, S. I., and I. E. Rabinovich, Vena. Moscow, 1959.
Geschichte der Stadt Wien, vols. 1-7. Published by Alterthumsverein zu Wein. Vienna, 1897-1918. Vol. 7, part 2. Vienna, 1955.
Schmidt, J., and H. Tietze. Wien, 3rd ed. Vienna-Munich [1954].
Bibliographie zur Geschichte und Stadtkunde von Wien, vol. 1. Vienna, 1947.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital and the smallest state of Austria, in the northeast on the River Danube: seat of the Hapsburgs (1278-1918); residence of the Holy Roman Emperor (1558--1806); withstood sieges by Turks in 1529 and 1683; political and cultural centre in the 18th and 19th centuries, having associations with many composers; university (1365). Pop.: 1 590 242 (2003 est.). Area: 1075 sq. km (415 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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