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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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