The Ring Boulevard is one of the biggest and most beautiful boulevards of its kind. It is 4 kilometres long and circles the city centre. It was ceremoniously inaugurated on May1 in 1865 by Emperor Franz Joseph I. This year Vienna celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Ring Boulevard!
The magnificent road was erected on the free space, which emerged after tearing down the former city walls, glacis and military enforcements protecting the city centre, today’s first district (“Innere Stadt”). Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph hoped to overcome the separation of city center and the suburbs, which had officially become part of Vienna in 1850. Today the Ring Boulevard consists of Schubertring, Kärntnerring, Opernring, Burgring, Dr. Karl Renner Ring, Universitätsring and Schottenring.
Even though most buildings have been planned and built at pretty much the same time, their styles vary strongly. This mix of architectural styles is often referred to as “Ringstrassenstil” and takes its principles from Historicism. Various styles were copied to underline the function of the buildings: the Museum of Fine Arts and its counterpart the Museum of Natural History were built to resemble Italian Renaissance, so was the Vienna Opera House.
The Ring Boulevard was generously planned, leaving sufficient space for a shaded avenue and monumental buildings. Here are some buildings you have to visit if you’re in Vienna!
- Parliament The Parliament echoes Greek classicism as this was the epoch of the birth of democracy. You can have a guided tour through the Parliament and have a look at the famous Pallas Athena Fountain in front of it.
- Vienna City Hall Vienna City Hall is the most important secular building in the neo-Gothic style in the city. Numerous events like the Life Ball are held inside and in front of City Hall. The famous Christkindlmarkt (Link zu Weihnachtsmarkt-Blogartikel) is also located here.
- Hofburg – Vienna’s Imperial Castle Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna and official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. Nowadays this enormous complex is also home to “Österreichische Nationalbibliothek” (National Library), miscellaneous museums (like Imperial Treasury or Museum of Ethnography) and the famous “Spanische Hofreitschule” (Spanish Riding School).
- University of Vienna The University of Vienna is the oldest and biggest university in the German-speaking area. This year it celebrates its 650th anniversary with various events throughout the whole year.
- Vienna Opera House The Vienna Opera House has a world-wide reputation for its first-class opera performances and is also known because of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The building itself closely resembles Italian Renaissance, as this epoch was immensely important for art and music.
- Museum of Fine Arts The Museum of Fine Arts ranks among the richest and most important art collections in the world. It houses paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Dürer, Raphael, Titian and Velazquez, as well as the most comprehensive collection of Bruegel’s paintings in the world.