With its grand palaces and museums, the magnificent city of Vienna is known as an international cultural capital. However, unbeknownst to many, the city is also home to an exceptional array of small, fascinating sites that miss tourists’ radar time and time again. If you’re planning a trip to Vienna, ensure that a visit to the following five ‘hidden’ treasures is on your to-do list:
- Jesuit Church (also known as University Church) – Although it’s nothing special to look at from the outside, the inside of this church tells a whole different story. The jaw-dropping Baroque interior is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful churches in Vienna with dazzling ceiling frescoes, opulent gilding, and marble pillars. The church, built in the 1600’s, is adjacent to the Aula (great hall) where Beethoven premiered his Seventh Symphony. The Jesuit Church is located on Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz, next to the old University of Vienna buildings.
- Vienna Opera House – People come from all over the world to watch the renowned performances at the Vienna Opera House but watching a show is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this place offers. The Opera House offers tours that tell the fascinating history of the building as well as the intrigue and exploits of the artists, royalty, and politicians that have roamed its halls. Comedy and tragedy come to life in the halls of this landmark. The Vienna Opera House is at Opernring 2 in the city centre.
- Mozart’s Grave, Cemetery of St. Marx (Friedhof St. Marx) – Many people visit Zentralfriedhof while in Vienna but few make it to the quiet lovely cemetery to see Mozart’s actual resting place. Although no one knows for certain where his remains lie – rumour has it he was buried in a mass grave – a monument exists on the shady and peaceful grounds. This cemetery was laid out in the 18th century and has conserved the ambiance of a more romantic era. It is the perfect place to bring a packed lunch and get away from the city crowds. The Cemetery of St. Marx is at Leberstrasse 6-8.
- KunstHausVien – This small museum, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, lives in a renovated 1892 building which stands as a seminal icon of Hundertwasser’s eclectic style. Often compared to Gaudi, there are few straight lines to be found. An unevenly winding staircase ties undulating floors together. Bright colours, bold mosaics, and extensive foliage spark the imagination. The world’s only permanent exhibit of Hundertwasser’s art can be found here along with excellent modern art exhibitions. The museum also features a charming café serving vegetarian food. KunstHausVien is slightly away from the main tourist sites at Untere Weissgerberstr. 13. Huntwasserhaus is just down the road and is also worth seeing.
- Ephesos Museum – This modest but interesting exhibit features antiquities from the Aegean city of Esphesos, one of the largest cities of the ancient world. Now a popular tourist destination in Turkey, Ephesos was famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which was built in 550 BC and later destroyed by the Goths. The collection on display in Vienna is from seven expeditions conducted from 1896-1906. The major exhibits include Amazon from the Artemesion Alter and Parthian Monument. The Esphesos Museum is located on Heldenplatz in Neue Burg.
As you can see, Vienna is so much more than just the Schonbrunn Palace and the Hofburg Palace, so make sure to include some of the above pearls of Vienna in your visit to the city.