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Austrian Capital Preserves Imperial Ambience

Published: January 26, 2010 (Issue # 1542)



  • A sphinx in the Belvedere Gardens which surround two 18th-century palaces in Vienna. The palaces now house art museums.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

  • The St. Stephens Cathedral in the city center dominates the citys skyline.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

  • The famed Vienna Opera House was severely damaged in bombing during World War II.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

  • Modern architecture is also a feature of the landscape in Vienna.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

  • An open-air bus offering tours for visitors through the city center.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

  • A narrow side street in the center of Vienna.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times

Its midnight at the Vienna Airport Hotel. A group of wet, disheveled and strange-looking people, one with his head covered with a towel, walking through the lobby looks a little out of place in the quiet setting. But when several tired Russian business journalists try to head to their rooms, they are stopped by a short but muscular man with a mustache.

Dont move! Stay where you are! the man hisses, while starting to assume what appears to be a martial arts combat stance, but after the mysterious group disappears down a corridor, he follows them briskly. It takes a while to dawn on one of the shocked journalists that the men were in fact Metallica, whose bodyguard had unwisely mistaken the reporters for fans seeking autographs.

Metallica Performed a Black Mass in Vienna, read the headline in Osterreich (Austria,) the free daily local newspaper picked up the next morning, preceding a review of the previous nights stadium concert where the metal band had played to thousands of Austrian fans an effort that might have affected its personnels thought processes.

Osterreich is the rival to Heute (Today;) both papers are widely available all over the city, including on the Vienna Metro (U-Bahn,) where they are frequently left behind.

The metro, which has 76 stations, was officially opened in 1898, electrified in 1925 and has been modernized since 1976. A single-journey ticket for the metro or any other public transport costs 1.70 euros, or two euros if bought onboard the bus or tram.

The Vienna Metro has proven popular with suicides, although a scientific report claimed that the introduction of media guidelines regarding the reporting of suicides in 1987 led to a 75 percent decrease in the rate of subway suicides.

However, residents of Vienna say they do still happen, and that a metro announcement that a train has been delayed for technical reasons is generally interpreted as news of another despondent person choosing to end his or her life.

The metro is just one part of Viennas well-developed public transport network. Almost any destination in the city can by reached by metro, as well as by bus, train or tram. Viennas public transport company, Wiener Linien, operates five underground lines, 31 tram routes and 80 bus routes.

While the St. Petersburg authorities are gradually scaling back the citys tram lines, claiming that trams hinder car traffic, a tram ride is a pleasant and convenient means of transport in Vienna and it does not seem like the city will ever reject it. Visitors can take the yellow Vienna Ring-Tram around the most beautiful parts of the city. A round trip takes 24 minutes and cost six euros (four euros for children.)

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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