Vienna, First District: The "Innere Stadt", Part II
The National Opera is next to the Albertina. Crossing the Ringstraße, you get to the twin-museums of the Kunsthistorisches (Art History) and Naturhistorisches (Natural History) museum, both world-class institutions worth a visit. A hidden corner to the opposite of the Main University is the Dreimäderlhaus, a Biedermeier building and the Pasqualatihaus, where Beethoven composed his opera Fidelio.
The Ballhaus north of the Hofburg serves as the chancellery, and here you will also find the Minoritenkirche Church, one of Vienna′s finest Gothic buildings. It is surrounded by old Palais or city palaces, now mostly used by Federal Ministeries. Note the Palais Niederösterreich, home to the ministery of foreign affairs; Palais Dietrichstein; and Stadtalais Liechtenstein. Others include Palais Porcia, Palais Starhemberg, Palais Esterhazy and the nearby Hochhaus Herrengasse.
Keep on going towards north-east and you get to the Freyung, a medieval market square. Here you can stroll over a farm market, visit an art exhibition at the BA-CA Kunstforum or visit the Schottenstift Abbey. Note the Baroque Palais Kinsky, Palais Harrach, Palais Batthyany-Schönborn or the historicist Palais Ferstel.
Around the corner, you will find the Am Hof Square with again churches (such as the Kirche am Hof), the armoury Zeughaus, a bunch of museums and shops. Cross it to get to the Judenplatz Square, with the Jewish Museum and the baroque Böhmische Hofkanzlei. For a piece of 19th century neo-Gothic architecture, see the church Maria am Gestade - for a Romanesque building, the Ruprechtskirche nearby, Vienna′s oldest church. Other attractions of this part of the first district include the Ringturm tower, the Börse Stock exchange and the New University (which was built in the 19th century, so isn′t all that new anymore).
More to See in the First District of Vienna
Further up and down the first district, you can enjoy the Anker Uhr (a Jugendstil clock) and Vermählungsbrunnen fountain, the memorial against fascism and war, the legendary Hotel Sacher, the House of Music, Palais Coburg, the baroque Peterskirche Church by Lukas von Hildebrandt, the Neuer Markt with the Donner fountain and the Imperial Tomb at the Capuchin Church, the Urania, the Stadtpark with the Kursalon pavilion and with Vienna′s most distasteful memorial (the one for Johann Strauss Jr.).
And Otto Wagner′s Postsparkasse (an Art Deco building). Not to forget the tacky but expensive "Bermuda Dreieck", a cluster of bars and pubs that attract a young and wannabe-fashionable crowd at night, and a few borderline-brothel topless bars - with the Stadttempel, the main synagogue, in its centre. Here you will also find the Renaissance Salvatorkapelle, the Bohemian Chancellery, the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall), the Gothic church Maria am Gestade, and the Romanesque church St. Ruprecht.
If you wander through the first district, you will pass by many bars, pubs and restaurants - they range from authentic small bars to fashionable, snobbish places to touristy rip-off sites. It is worth to have a closer look at the people who are there - besides, the first district is rather diverse in terms of over-all atmosphere, ranging from rather poor immigrant areas near Schwedenplatz to the ultimate luxury around the Graben. Bars and restaurants usually reflect the neighbourhood in which they are. Smaller churches inlcude the Dorotheerkirche, Annakirche, Griechenkirche, the Malteserkirche or the Deutschordenskirche, the Ursulinenkirche, Kirche St. Barbara and the Griechenkirche St. Georg.
Somewhat unexpectedly, half of the Karlsplatz belongs to the first district, too. Here you will find iconic buildings of Vienna, such as the Künstlerhaus, the Musikverein, the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, the Secession or the Verkehrsbüro.
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Vienna: Innere Stadt - Part I"
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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna's Districts
District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margarethen) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)