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  • HI, I'M RICK STEVES, BACK WITH MORE OF THE BEST OF EUROPE.

  • THIS TIME, WE'RE HANGING WITH THE HABSBURGS IN VIENNA.

  • THANKS, FOR JOINING US.

  • VIENNA HAS BEEN CALLED A HEAD WITHOUT A BODY.

  • FOR OVER 600 YEARS, THE CAPITAL

  • OF THE ONCE-MIGHTY HABSBURG EMPIRE,

  • IT STARTED AND LOST WORLD WAR I,

  • AND WITH THAT, ITS FAR-FLUNG HOLDINGS.

  • TODAY, YOU'LL FIND AN ELEGANT CAPITAL

  • RULING A RELATIVELY INSIGNIFICANT

  • LITTLE LAND-LOCKED COUNTRY -- AUSTRIA --

  • HISTORICALLY, CULTURALLY,

  • AND FROM A SIGHTSEEING POINT OF VIEW,

  • VIENNA IS THE SUM OF AN ILLUSTRIOUS PAST.

  • WE'LL EXPLORE THE PALACE,

  • PICNIC ON THE DANUBE,

  • BAKE A STRUDEL,

  • VISIT AN EXTRAORDINARY GOTHIC CATHEDRAL,

  • CHASE BUTTERFLIES,

  • MARVEL AT THE CROWN JEWELS,

  • AND, OF COURSE, DO A LITTLE WALTZING.

  • VIENNA HAS LONG BEEN

  • THE EASTERNMOST CITY OF THE WEST.

  • IN ANCIENT ROMAN TIMES,

  • IT WAS VINDOBONA, ON THE DANUBE,

  • FACING THE GERMANIC BARBARIANS JUST BEYOND.

  • IN THE MIDDLE AGES,

  • IT WAS EUROPE'S BASTION AGAINST THE OTTOMAN TURKS --

  • A KIND OF CHRISTIAN BREAKWATER AGAINST A RISING TIDE OF ISLAM.

  • THROUGHOUT THE COLD WAR,

  • NEUTRAL VIENNA GINGERLY MAINTAINED ITS FREEDOM

  • WHILE NEARLY SURROUNDED

  • BY COMMUNIST AND SOVIET-DOMINATED STATES.

  • BUT NOW, WITH SO MANY OF THOSE EASTERN BLOCK NATIONS

  • JOINING THE E.U.,

  • VIENNA FINDS ITSELF FIRMLY IN THE MIDDLE OF EUROPE.

  • THE GERMAN-SPEAKING LOCALS CALL THEIR TOWN WIEN.

  • IT'S THE MELTING-POT CAPITAL OF A NOW-COLLAPSED EMPIRE

  • THAT ONCE HAD OVER 50 MILLION PEOPLE.

  • BUT OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE,

  • ONLY ABOUT EIGHT MILLION WERE AUSTRIAN.

  • THE TRULY VIENNESE PERSON

  • IS A SECOND-GENERATION HABSBURG COCKTAIL,

  • WITH GRANDPARENTS

  • FROM THE DISTANT CORNERS OF ITS OLD EMPIRE --

  • HUNGARIANS, CZECHS, SLOVAKS, POLES, SLOVENES, JEWS,

  • SERBIANS, ROMANIANS, ITALIANS, AND MORE.

  • AFTER THE DEFEAT OF NAPOLEON,

  • VIENNA HOSTED A HUGE DIPLOMATIC CONVENTION IN 1815.

  • THAT CONGRESS OF VIENNA

  • STABILIZED AND SHAPED 19th CENTURY EUROPE.

  • AND THAT'S THE AGE THAT SHAPED OUR ROMANTIC IMAGE

  • OF THE CITY --

  • SWIRLING ORCHESTRAS,

  • EIFFEL-ERA FERRIS WHEELS,

  • AND GRAND ARCHITECTURE.

  • A CENTURY LATER, AFTER LOSING WORLD WAR I AND ITS EMPIRE,

  • VIENNA'S JUST MORE LAID-BACK.

  • TODAY, ENJOYING THE FACT THAT ITS SUPERPOWER DAYS ARE OVER,

  • VIENNA IS SIMPLY AN EXPERT AT GOOD LIVING,

  • AND THAT INCLUDES PERHAPS EUROPE'S FINEST CHOCOLATE CAKE,

  • THE SACHER TORTE.

  • DEMEL'S CAFE AND BAKERY

  • IS MUCH-LOVED FOR ITS CAKES AND PASTRIES.

  • THIS PLACE WAS THE EMPEROR'S CHOICE BACK IN THE 19th CENTURY.

  • CUSTOMERS ENJOY A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT THE COOKING.

  • THE FAMOUS SACHER TORTE

  • IS MADE TO ORDER FOR CHOCOHOLICS.

  • APART FROM ITS APRICOT FILLING,

  • THE RECIPE SEEMS PRETTY SIMPLE --

  • CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE.

  • VIENNA'S TASTY CUISINE, LIKE ITS OLD EMPIRE,

  • IS MULTINATIONAL.

  • THE VIENNA SCHNITZEL, OR WIENER SCHNITZEL,

  • IT SHOULD BE AN ITALIAN SCHNITZEL, IT'S FROM MILAN.

  • THE DUMPLINGS, THEY'RE FROM BOHEMIA.

  • GOULASH, THAT'S HUNGARIAN,

  • AND THE APPLE STRUDEL -- THAT'S A MIX OF EAST AND WEST.

  • THE STRUDEL DOUGH -- A WHEAT-BASED FILO --

  • IS FROM THE TURKS -- THINK BAKLAVA.

  • AND THE APPLES, THEY'RE FROM GERMANY.

  • ADD SUGAR, CINNAMON, AND RUM RAISINS.

  • ROLL IT UP.

  • GLAZE WITH LEMON SAUCE,

  • POP IN THE OVEN, AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT,

  • YOU'VE GOT YOUR APPLE STRUDEL.

  • TO ENJOY CAFE DEMEL CALORIE-FREE,

  • SAVOR ITS CHOCOLATE AND MARZIPAN WINDOW DISPLAYS.

  • THEY CHANGE REGULARLY,

  • AND REFLECT CURRENT HAPPENINGS IN TOWN.

  • THIS MERMAID CELEBRATES THE SUMMER --

  • TIME FOR SOME FUN IN THE SUN.

  • AND AS IF PROVIDING A FINE VENUE

  • TO WALK OFF THE CITY'S SWEET TEMPTATIONS,

  • A BIG PART OF VIENNA IS ITS FINE PARKS,

  • FILLED WITH STATUE-MAKER MEMORIES

  • OF AUSTRIA'S GLORY DAYS AND HIGH CULTURE.

  • THE ENTICING SHOPPING STREETS OF THE OLD TOWN

  • HAVE BEEN TRAFFIC-FREE SINCE THE 1970s.

  • WITH ITS ELEGANT STOREFRONTS AND LIVELY PEOPLE-WATCHING,

  • JUST TAKING A STROLL IS A DELIGHT.

  • HALT!

  • HISTORY IS EVERYWHERE.

  • EVEN IN THE STREET MUSICIANS.

  • THIS WELL-DECORATED MUSICAL GANG GOES BACK TO A DAY

  • WHEN AUSTRIA'S MILITARY MARCHING BANDS

  • HAD A MORE SERIOUS JOB TO DO.

  • ONE OF THE CHARMS OF VIENNA

  • IS HOW THINGS ARE SO CLOSE TOGETHER.

  • FOR GENERATIONS, SHOPPERS HAVE GRABBED

  • A QUICK LUNCH JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

  • BUFFET TRZESNIEWSKI IS AN INSTITUTION,

  • FAMOUS FOR ITS CHEAP AND CHARMING FINGER SANDWICHES.

  • SIMPLY POINT TO WHATEVER LOOKS TASTY.

  • THREE DIFFERENT SANDWICHES MAKE A LIGHT LUNCH.

  • I'M HAVING HAM AND EGGS, HERRING WITH ONION,

  • AND CHICKEN LIVER.

  • EIN PFIFF, BITTE.

  • THE TRADITIONAL DRINK HERE IS A TINY BEER CALLED A PFIFF.

  • FAST FOOD -- VIENNA-STYLE.

  • THE MASSIVE SAINT STEPHEN'S CATHEDRAL

  • IS THE GOTHIC NEEDLE AROUND WHICH VIENNA SPINS.

  • WHILE HEAVILY DAMAGED IN WORLD WAR II,

  • THE CHURCH SURVIVED.

  • TODAY, IT SYMBOLIZES THE CITY'S FREEDOM AND PROUD SPIRIT.

  • IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE WAR,

  • THE ORIGINAL TIMBERED GOTHIC ROOFTOP

  • WENT UP IN FLAMES.

  • SHORTLY AFTER THE WAR,

  • WITH A FINANCIAL OUTPOURING OF CIVIC PRIDE,

  • THE ROOF WAS REBUILT

  • IN ITS ORIGINAL, COLORFUL SPLENDOR.

  • THE CERAMIC TILES ARE PURELY DECORATIVE.

  • LOCALS WHO CONTRIBUTED,

  • EACH SYMBOLICALLY "OWN" ONE

  • FOR THEIR DONATION.

  • THE ORNATE NAVE IS GOTHIC WITH A BAROQUE OVERLAY.

  • WHILE THE COLUMNS SUPPORT THE ROOF,

  • THEY ALSO TELL A STORY.

  • RICHLY POPULATED WITH STATUES,

  • THEY MAKE A SAINTLY PARADE

  • THAT LEADS RIGHT UP TO THE HIGH ALTAR.

  • IN THIS STATUE OF MARY --

  • CALLED, "THE MADONNA WITH THE PROTECTIVE MANTLE" --

  • PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE SEEK AND FIND

  • REFUGE IN THE HOLY MOTHER.

  • NEARBY, SAINT SEBASTIAN --

  • WHO NEVER GOES ANYWHERE WITHOUT HIS ARROWS --

  • REMINDS THE FAITHFUL OF HIS MARTYRDOM.

  • THE CENTERPIECE OF THIS CATHEDRAL

  • DEDICATED TO SAINT STEPHEN IS A PAINTING

  • DEPICTING THE STONING

  • OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MARTYR HIMSELF.

  • WORLD WAR II DAMAGE WAS HEAVY INSIDE AND OUT.

  • PORTABLE TREASURES,

  • LIKE THIS 15th CENTURY ALTARPIECE,

  • WERE HIDDEN AWAY IN LOCAL CELLARS BEFORE THE BOMBS FELL.

  • BEFORE THE WAR, THE ENTIRE CHURCH WAS LIT

  • WITH WINDOWS LIKE THESE.

  • BUT MOST OF THE CHURCH'S FINE GLASS WAS DESTROYED.

  • THE TUPPERWARE-COLORED REPLACEMENTS

  • DATE FROM 1950.

  • THE GOTHIC PULPIT, CARVED FROM SANDSTONE, IS A MASTERPIECE.

  • ITS BUSY SYMBOLISM LEGITIMIZED THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

  • WHICH WAS READ FROM ITS LECTERN.

  • READINGS WERE LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY

  • SUPPORTED BY THE FOUR LATIN CHURCH FATHERS.

  • BELOW IT ALL IS A SELF-PORTRAIT

  • OF A SELF-ASSURED ARTIST PROUD OF HIS CREATION.

  • MOST GOTHIC ART WAS CREATED ANONYMOUSLY,

  • FOR THE GLORY OF GOD, NOT THE ARTIST.

  • BUT MUCH OF THE ART HERE WAS SCULPTED

  • AROUND THE YEAR 1500

  • WHEN THE RENAISSANCE SPIRIT, SO STRONG IN ITALY,

  • WAS CREEPING NORTH.

  • WITH THE HUMANISM OF THE RENAISSANCE,

  • MAN WAS ALLOWED TO SHINE --

  • AND ARTISTS -- LIKE ANTON PILGRAM,

  • A MASTER BUILDER OF THIS CATHEDRAL --

  • WERE RECOGNIZED AS CREATORS ALSO.

  • VIENNA'S OLD CENTER IS CORRALLED

  • BY ITS GRAND CIRCULAR RINGSTRASSE.

  • IN THE 1860s, EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH

  • HAD THE CITY'S INGROWN MEDIEVAL WALL TORN DOWN.

  • HE REPLACED IT WITH THIS IMPRESSIVE BOULEVARD

  • WHICH ARCS NEARLY THREE MILES AROUND THE CITY'S CORE.

  • ONE OF EUROPE'S GREAT STREETS,

  • THE RINGSTRASSE IS LINED

  • WITH MANY OF VIENNA'S TOP SIGHTS.

  • FOR A HANDY DO-IT-YOURSELF BUDGET TOUR,

  • HOP ON TRAM NUMBER ONE AND MAKE THE LOOP.

  • IN MY GUIDEBOOKS,

  • I LIKE TO DESCRIBE SELF-GUIDED TOURS

  • THAT TAKE ADVANTAGE

  • OF HANDY PUBLIC TRANSPORT ROUTES LIKE THIS.

  • BECAUSE THIS RING ROAD

  • IS ACTUALLY OLDER THAN ALL THE BUILDINGS THAT LINE IT,

  • WHAT YOU SEE IS VERY "NEO" --

  • NEO-RENAISSANCE, NEO-GOTHIC, AND NEO-CLASSICAL.

  • THE CHOICE OF STYLE

  • SEEMS TO FIT THE BUILDINGS' FUNCTION.

  • THE AUSTRIAN PARLIAMENT IS NEO-CLASSICAL --

  • BECAUSE DEMOCRACY CAME FROM ANCIENT GREECE.

  • THE CITY HALL IS NEO-GOTHIC --

  • RECALLING THE AGE WHEN LOCAL MERCHANTS

  • RAN THE GOVERNMENT.

  • MUSEUMS ARE NEO-RENAISSANCE -- FOR A SPIRIT OF LEARNING.

  • AND VIENNA'S COURT THEATER IS NEO-BAROQUE --

  • THE AGE WHEN OPERA AND THEATER FLOURISHED.

  • FROM THE RINGSTRASSE, AN EFFICIENT SUBWAY SYSTEM

  • TAKES US FARTHER AFIELD.

  • LIKE TO THE BEACH, THE DANUBE BEACH.

  • IN THE 1970s, VIENNA DUG A CANAL

  • PARALLEL TO THE MIGHTY DANUBE RIVER

  • CREATING BOTH A FLOOD BARRIER

  • AND A MUCH-LOVED ISLAND ESCAPE.

  • THIS SKINNY, 12 MILE LONG ISLAND

  • PROVIDES A NATURAL WONDERLAND.

  • ALL ALONG THIS TRAFFIC-FREE, GRASSY PARK,

  • YOU'LL FIND THE VIENNESE AT PLAY.

  • FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T AFFORD

  • THEIR OWN CABIN OR FANCY VACATION,

  • IT'S AN IDEAL PLACE

  • FOR A GOOD OLD FASHIONED BARBECUE.

  • AND THE APPEAL OF THE ICE CREAM CART IS UNIVERSAL.

  • [ BELL RINGS ]

  • FOR CENTURIES, VIENNA WAS RULED BY THE HABSBURG FAMILY.

  • THEY HAD TWO LUXURIOUS PALACES IN VIENNA.

  • THE SCHONBRUNN PALACE,

  • WITH ITS EXPANSIVE GROUNDS STANDING AT THE EDGE OF TOWN,

  • WAS THEIR SUMMER RESIDENCE.

  • THEIR MAIN PALACE, THE HOFBURG, DOMINATES THE TOWN CENTER.

  • THIS IMPOSING

  • AND SPRAWLING COMPLEX

  • GREW WITH THE FAMILY EMPIRE FROM THE 13th CENTURY

  • UNTIL JUST BEFORE WORLD WAR I,

  • WHEN THIS LAST "NEW WING" OPENED.

  • WHILE THE LAST HABSBURG CHECKED OUT IN 1918,

  • THE PALACE IS STILL PLENTY BUSY.

  • IT HAS THE OFFICES OF THE AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT

  • AND IT'S HOME TO HUNDREDS OF GOVERNMENT WORKERS,

  • THE SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL, VIENNA BOYS' CHOIR,

  • AND THE PALACE ITSELF WELCOMES THE PUBLIC.

  • THE LAVISH IMPERIAL APARTMENTS SEEM DESIGNED

  • TO GIVE THEIR ROYAL RESIDENTS

  • GRANDEUR FIT FOR A GOD.

  • AFTER ALL, IN THE AGE

  • OF DIVINE MONARCHS,

  • KINGS AND EMPERORS

  • LIKE THE HABSBURGS

  • CLAIMED GOD HIMSELF ORDAINED THEM

  • TO RULE WITH UNQUESTIONED AUTHORITY.

  • THE HABSBURG'S WERE ONE OF A HANDFUL OF ROYAL FAMILIES

  • WHO RULED NEARLY ALL OF EUROPE UNTIL WORLD WAR I.

  • THE WALLS BETWEEN THE ROOMS

  • ARE WIDE ENOUGH TO HIDE SERVANTS' CORRIDORS.

  • THE BIG, ORNATE STOVES, WHICH SERVANTS FED FROM BEHIND,

  • HEATED THE ROOMS.

  • THE DECOR IS SPLENDID BAROQUE --

  • THE PREFERRED STYLE OF DIVINE MONARCHS

  • AS IT SERVED AS A KIND OF PROPAGANDA

  • TO SELL THE OLD REGIME NOTION

  • THAT SOME WERE BORN TO RULE

  • AND OTHERS WERE BORN TO BE RULED.

  • WHEN THE EMPEROR AND HIS EXTENDED FAMILY