Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million (2.3 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria’s population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna is host to many major international organizations such as the United Nations and OPEC.
Vienna lies in the east of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region of 3 million inhabitants, referred to as Twin City. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In an objective study, 2005 an Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked the city tied with
Vancouver for first for the quality of life. This assessment was mirrored by the Mercer Survey in 2009 and 2010. Analytically, the city was ranked 1st globally for a culture of innovation in 2007 and 2008, and 2nd globally after Boston in 2009 from 256 cities on an analysis of 162 indicators in the Innovation Cities Index on a 3 factor score covering culture, infrastructure and markets. As a city, Vienna regularly hosts urban planning conferences and is often used as a case study by urban planners.
The city rates highly in popular opinion-based journalistic rankings from magazines such as Monocle, where it rated 5th in 2010.
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including theater, opera, classical music and fine arts. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theaters in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theaters, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Theater an der Wien, the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at well known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful musical by far was “Elisabeth”, which was later translated into several other languages and performed all over the world. The Haus der Musik (“house of music”) opened in 2000.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna, such as the Romanesque Ruprechtskirche and the Baroque Karlskirche. Styles range from classicist buildings to modern architecture. Art Nouveau left many architectural traces in Vienna. The Secession, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station, and the Kirche am Steinhof by Otto Wagner rank among the best known examples of Art Nouveau in the world.
The Hundertwasserhaus by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, designed to counter the clinical look of modern architecture, is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions.