Vienna’s architecture is as varied as its rich history. From medieval and Baroque churches to Art Nouveau subway stations, Austria’s capital is an architecture lovers playground. Not as fascinated by architectural styles and motifs? Don’t worry, as Vienna’s iconic monuments will draw you in even if you don’t know the difference between a barrel vault and a corbeled arch. In fact, architecture can be a central way to understand the history of this city and is used to teach a wide range of themes in our Secessionist architecture tour and First District walking tour. We’ve dug through our photo archive to look beyond the Schönbrunn Palace and give you some of the best of Vienna’s iconic architecture.
One of the landmarks most visited by tourists in the city, one cannot help but picture the Stephansdom when thinking of Vienna. This medieval structure has undergone numerous renovations through the centuries and also plays a central role in the music history of Vienna. As far back as 1334 an organ has been part of the church and Haydn sang in part of the church's choir in the 18th century.
One of Vienna's oldest churches, and one of its few remaining examples of Gothic architecture, Maria Am Gestade is a gem located in the First District. A light filled space, it speaks to a time in Vienna's history before the domination of the Habsburg family.
Otto Wagner's design of this former Stadtbahn station, opened in 1899, is a prime example of Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) architecture. The building remains so beloved by the public that after outcry over its planned 1981 demolition, it was renovated and reassembled 2 meters higher than its original location to accomodate for the U-bahn.
Built as an exhibition hall for Secessionist artists, this iconic structure, located near Naschmarkt, is a must see for Art Nouveau lovers. How highly regarded is this piece of architecture? Just take a look at an Austrian €0.50 coin and you'll see its image.
The Linke Wienzeile ("Left Vienna Row") is named for that fact that is sits on what was formerly the left bank of the Vienna River. The section butting against the Naschmarkt in the 6th district features several Jugendstil apartment buildings by Otto Wagner. All built at the end of the 19th century, they vary widely in their design, giving viewers a chance to see the many different motifs that Jugendstil architecture offers.
Wienzeile 40 is more commonly known as the Majolica House due to the use of glazed majolica tiles on the facade. The ornate floral motifs chosen by Wagner were common to Art Nouveau and the tiles made the facade both weather resistant and easy to clean, important in a time when modern hygiene was gaining importance.
Now a lovely cafe and restaurant, the Palmenhaus was erected in the Hofburg gardens in the early 20th century and is yet another example of Jugendstil architecture in Vienna. After years of disrepair, ten years of renovation restored the former greenhouse to its glory, making it a perfect place to both relax with friends and enjoy the Burggarten.
Nothing exemplifies Vienna's continuous architectural innovation like the Gasometer project. Built at the end of the 19th century, these gasometers were decommissioned in 1984 and underwent a revitalization that began in 1995 and ended in 2001 with the official grand opening of the project. Image by Andreas Poeschek, Viennaphoto
The revitalization project saw each gasometer divided into sections for residents, offices, and commercial space. Today a thriving community has been created with 800 apartments available and entertainment spaces such as a movie theater and music hall serving the public. Image by Andreas Poeschek, Viennaphoto