12 heritage Site To See In Austria.
No city could have been so artistically and architecturally built as to be compared with The City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg, which tells of the cultural and artistic role played by the main aristocratic families in the Habsburg Empire. Nor could there have been several places in the world so royal and gloriously charming to behold as the Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn, which used to be the House of the Habsburg Monarchy, from the end of the 17th to the 20th century. But, more interestingly, these striking places are found only in Austria, located in the southern part of Central Europe.
Austria, which has Vienna as its Capital City, has numerous other great cultural and heritage sites to its credit. Most notable among them include Fertol Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape, Prehistoric pile Dwellings around the Alps, Wachu Cultural Landscape, Semmering Railway, and the Historic Centre of Vienna. I know by now you must be thinking of taking your trip to Austria, but here below we have a pretty guide that will help you have that splendid trip just as you have dreamt of it.
City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg
The City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg bear witness to an exemplary model of the living heritage of a central European urban complex influenced by the secular presence of the Habsburgs and the cultural and artistic role played by the main aristocratic families. They are a harmonious blend of the architectural styles and artistic movements that have succeeded each other from the Middle Ages until the 18th century, in the many neighbouring regions of Central and Mediterranean Europe. They embody a diversified and highly comprehensive ensemble of architectural, decorative and landscape examples of these interchanges of influence.
Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape
Fertő/Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape incorporates the westernmost steppe lake in Eurasia. This is an area of outstanding natural values and landscape diversity created and sustained by the encounter of different landscape types. It is situated in the cross-section of different geographical flora and fauna zones as well as wetlands, and is characterised by sub-Alpine mountains, sub-Mediterranean hills, alkaline lakes that dry out from time to time, saline soils, reeds, and shoreline plains. This area, a valuable biosphere reserve and gene bank, is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna and has been shaped harmoniously for eight millennia by different human groups and ethnically diverse populations. The present character of the landscape is the result of millennia-old land-use forms based on stock raising and viticulture to an extent not found in other European lake areas. This interaction is also manifested in the several-century-long continuity of its urban and architectural traditions and the diverse traditional uses of the land and the lake. The Fertö/Neusiedlersee Lake is surrounded by an inner ring of sixteen settlements and an outer ring of twenty other settlements.
Two broad periods may be discerned: from around 6000 BC until the establishment of the Hungarian state in the 11th century AD, and from the 11th century until the present. From the 7th century BC the lake shore was densely populated, initially by people of the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture and by late prehistoric and Roman times’ cultures. In the fields of almost every village around the lake there are remains of Roman villas. The basis of the current network of towns and villages was formed in the 12th and 13th centuries, their markets flourishing from 1277 onwards. The mid-13th century Tatar invasion left this area unharmed, and it enjoyed uninterrupted development throughout medieval times until the Turkish conquest in the late 16th century. The economic basis throughout was the export of animals and wine. The historic centre of the medieval free town of Rust in particular prospered from the wine trade. Rust constitutes an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement representative of the area. The town exhibits the special building mode of a society and culture within which the lifestyles of townspeople and farmers form an entity. Its refortification in the early 16th century marked the beginning of a phase of construction in the area, first with fortifications and then, during the 17th-19th centuries, with the erection and adaptation of domestic buildings. The remarkable rural architecture of the villages surrounding the lake and several 18th-and 19th-century palaces add to the area’s considerable cultural interest. The palace of the township of Nagycenk, the Fertöd Palace, the Széchenyi Palace and the Fertöd Esterházy Palace are also exceptional cultural testimonies.
Despite the fact that it is a transboundary property, located on the territory of two states, Austria and Hungary, it has formed a socio-economic and cultural unit for centuries, which is outstanding in terms of its rich archaeological heritage created by consecutive civilisations, its rich stock of historical monuments reflecting ethnic diversity, and the elements of its rich ethnographic, geological and mining heritage.
Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes (Western Segment)
covers almost 600km of the whole Roman Empire’s Danube frontier. The property formed part of the much large frontier of the Roman Empire that encircled the Mediterranean Sea. The Danube Limes (Western Segment) reflects the specificities of this part of the Roman Frontier through the selection of sites that represent key elements from road, legionary fortresses and their associated settlements to small forts and temporary camps, and the way these structures relate to local topography.
Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape
The Hallstatt-Dachstein alpine landscape, part of the Salzkammergut, and thus of the Eastern Alps, is one of visual drama with huge mountains rising abruptly form narrow valleys. Its prosperity since mediaeval times has been based on salt mining, focused on the town of Hallstatt, a name meaning salt settlement that testifies to its primary function.
Systematic salt production was being carried out in the region as early as the Middle Bronze Age, (the late 2nd millennium BC), when natural brine was captured in vessels and evaporated. Underground mining for salt began at the end of the late Bronze Age and resumed in the 8th century BC when archaeological evidence shows a flourishing, stratified and highly organised Iron Age society with wide trade links across Europe and now known as the Hallstatt Culture. Salt mining continued in Roman times and was then revived in the 14th century. The large amounts of timber needed for the mines and for evaporating the salt where extracted from the extensive upland forests, which since the 16th century were controlled and managed directly by the Austrian Crown. The Town of Hallstatt was re-built in late Baroque style after a fire in 1750 destroyed the timber buildings.
The beauty of the alpine landscape, with its higher pastures used for the summer grazing of sheep and cattle since prehistoric times as part of the process of transhumance, which still today gives the valley communities rights of access to specific grazing areas, was ‘discovered’ in the early 19th century by writers, such as Adalbert Stifler, novelist, and the dramatic poet Franz Grillparzer, and most of the leading paintings of the Biedermeier school. They were in turn followed by tourists and this led to the development of hotels and brine baths for visitors.
The landscape is exceptional as a complex of great scientific interest and immense natural power that has played a vital role in human history reflected in the impact of farmer-miners over millennia, in the way mining has transformed the interior of the mountain and through the artists and writers that conveyed its harmony and beauty.
Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg
Salzburg is an outstanding example of an ecclesiastical city-state, peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire, from Prussia to Italy. Most disappeared as political and administrative units in the early 19th century and adopted alternative trajectories of development. No other example of this type of political organism has survived so completely, preserving its urban fabric and individual buildings to such a remarkable degree as Salzburg.
Salzburg is the point where the Italian and German cultures met and which played a crucial role in the exchanges between these two cultures. The result is a Baroque town that has emerged intact from history, and exceptional material testimony of a particular culture and period. The centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance to the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santino Solari.
The Salzburg skyline, against a backdrop of mountains, is characterized by its profusion of spires and domes, dominated by the fortress of HohenSalzburg. It contains a number of buildings, both secular and ecclesiastical, of very high quality from periods ranging from the late Middle Ages to the 20th Century. There is a clear separation, visible on the ground and on the map, between the lands of the Prince-Archbishops and those of the burghers. The former is characterized by its monumental buildings – the Cathedral, the Residence, the Franciscan Abbey, the Abbey of St Peter – and its open spaces, the Domplatz in particular. The burghers’ houses, by contrast, are on small plots and front onto narrow streets, with the only open spaces provided by the three historic markets. Salzburg is rich in buildings from the Gothic period onwards, which combine to create a townscape and urban fabric of great individuality and beauty.
Salzburg is also intimately associated with many important artists and musicians, preeminent among them Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Historic Centre of Vienna
Vienna, situated on the Danube River in the eastern part of Austria, developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a medieval and Baroque city, eventually becoming the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as the leading European music centre, hosting major personalities in the development of music from the 16th to the 20th centuries, particularly Viennese Classicism and Romanticism, consolidating Vienna’s reputation as the ‘musical capital’ of Europe. Vienna is also rich in architectural ensembles, particularly Baroque mansions and gardens as well as the late 19th-century Ringstrasse ensemble lined with grand buildings, monuments, and parks. The property consists of the city’s medieval core (based on the Roman settlement), the principal Baroque ensembles with their axial layouts, and the Gründerzeit constructions from the beginning of the modern period.
At the beginning of the 12th century the settlement here expanded beyond the Roman defences, which were demolished. During the Ottoman conflicts in the 16th and 17th centuries, the medieval town’s walls, which surrounded a much larger area, were rebuilt and provided with bastions. This remained the core of Vienna until the medieval walls were demolished in the second half of the 19th century. The inner city contains a number of medieval-era buildings, including the Schottenkloster, the oldest monastery in Austria, the churches of Maria am Gestade (one of the main Gothic structures), Michaelerkirche, Minoritenkirche and Minoritenkloster from the 13th century, and St Stephen’s Cathedral, which dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The same period also saw the construction of civic ensembles, such as initial parts of the Hofburg Palace. Whereas the monastic complexes were generally built of stone, becoming part of the defences of the medieval city, the residential quarters were of timber and suffered frequent fires.
In 1683, Vienna became the capital of the Habsburg Empire and developed rapidly, becoming an impressive Baroque city. The Baroque character was expressed particularly in the large palace layouts such as the Belvedere Palace and garden ensemble. A growing number of new palaces were built by noble families, many existing medieval buildings, churches, and convents were altered and given Baroque features, and additions were made to representative administrative buildings. Several historic Viennese buildings are now associated with the residences of important personalities such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, when the city played an essential role as a leading European centre for music.
A new phase in the history of Vienna took place when its 34 suburbs were incorporated into the city and the emperor ordered the demolition of the fortifications around the inner city. The opportunity was taken to create one of the most significant 19th-century ensembles in the history of urban planning, which greatly influenced the rest of Europe in this crucial period of social and economic development. In 1874, the Hofburg complex was extended with the addition of the Neue Hofburg, an ‘Imperial Forum’, and joined with large museum complexes into a single ensemble. The Burgtheater, parliament, town hall, and university formed another ensemble linked with these structures. To this was added the opera house as well as a large number of public and private buildings along the Ringstrasse, on the line of the demolished city walls. The late 19th and early 20th centuries testify to further creative contributions by Viennese designers, artists, and architects in the periods of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), the Secession, and the early Modern Movement in architecture.
Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn
The site of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn is outstanding as one of the most impressive and well preserved Baroque ensembles of its kind in Europe. Additionally, it is a potent material symbol of the power and influence of the House of Habsburg over a long period of European history, from the end of the 17th to the early 20th century.
It is impossible to separate the gardens from the palace, of which they form an organic extension: this is an excellent example of the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, a masterly fusion of many art forms.
A small hunting lodge and later summer residence of the Habsburg family was rebuilt after total destruction during the last Turkish attack in 1683. During construction work the project was expanded into an Imperial summer residence of the court. As such it represents the ascent and the splendour of the Habsburg Empire. At the peak of Habsburg power at the beginning of the 18th century, when imperial Vienna following the Turkish reflected its regained significance in spectacular examples of newly developing Baroque art, Schönbrunn was one of the most important building projects of the capital and residency.
The ample Baroque gardens with their buildings (Gloriette, Roman ruins etc.) and statuary testify to the palace’s imperial dimensions and functions. The original intention, when they were laid out in the 18th century, was to combine the glorification of the House of Habsburg with a homage to nature. The Orangery on the east side of the main palace building is, at 186 m, the longest in the world. The Great Palm House is an impressive iron-framed structure, 114 m long and divided into three Sections, erected in 1880 using technology developed in England.
Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps
The series of 111 out of the 937 known archaeological pile-dwelling sites in six countries around the Alpine and sub-alpine regions of Europe is composed of the remains of prehistoric settlements dating from 5,000 to 500 BC which are situated under water, on lake shores, along rivers or in wetlands. The exceptional conservation conditions for organic materials provided by the waterlogged sites, combined with extensive under-water archaeological investigations and research in many fields of natural science, such as archaeobotany and archaeozoology, over the past decades, has combined to present an outstanding detailed perception of the world of early agrarian societies in Europe. The precise information on their agriculture, animal husbandry, development of metallurgy, over a period of more than four millennia, coincides with one of the most important phases of recent human history: the dawn of modern societies.
In view of the possibilities for the exact dating of wooden architectural elements by dendrochronology, the sites have provided exceptional archaeological sources that allow an understanding of entire prehistoric villages and their detailed construction techniques and spatial development over very long time periods. They also reveal details of trade routes for flint, shells, gold, amber, and pottery across the Alps and within the plains, transport evidence from dugout canoes and wooden wheels, some complete with axles for two wheeled carts dating from around 3,400BC, some of the earliest preserved in the world, and the oldest textiles in Europe dating to 3,000 BC. This cumulative evidence has provided a unique insight into the domestic lives and settlements of some thirty different cultural groups in the Alpine lacustrine landscape that allowed the pile dwellings to flourish.
The Semmering Railway, constructed between 1848 and 1854 over 41 km of high mountains, is one of the greatest feats of civil engineering during the pioneering phase of railway building. Set against a spectacular mountain landscape, the railway line remains in use today thanks to the quality of its tunnels, viaducts, and other works, and has led to the construction of many recreational buildings along its tracks.
The property Semmering Railway begins at Gloggnitz station, at an altitude of 436 m, reaches its highest point after 29 km over the pass at 895 m above sea level, and ends 12 km further away at the Mürzzuschlag station, 677 m above sea level.
The line can be divided into four sections. The first runs from Gloggnitz to Payerbach stations, following the left-hand slopes of the Schwarza valley; the next section crosses the valley by taking the Schwarza viaduct to reach Eichberg Station, and the third section enters the Auerbach valley to continue through dense forest to Klamm-Schottwien station. After passing through the Klamm Tunnel, it reaches the Adlitzgraben and the Alpine terrain itself. After a series of tunnels and viaducts, the trains pass through the Weinzettelwand, the Krauselklause, and the Polleroswand, taking several tunnel sections. In the last and most dramatic section of the whole route, the two-storey curving viaduct goes over the Kalte Rinne, and after passing through the Wolfsberg and the Kartnerkogels, the train passes through the 1,431 m Semmering Tunnel before reaching Semmering station. It then descends gradually along the right-hand slope of the Roschnitz valley, through Stienhaus and Spital am Semmering, before arriving at Mürzzuschlag.
In total, the fourteen tunnels are 1,477 m long, nearly one-tenth of the entire line; coincidentally, the sixteen major viaducts also total 1,477 m in length. There are 118 smaller arched stone bridges and 11 iron bridges. Most of the portals of the tunnels are simple but monumental in design, and feature various kinds of ornamentations. Support structures are largely in stone, but brick was used for the arches of the viaducts and tunnel facings. The 57 two-storey attendants’ houses, located at approximately 700 m intervals, are a very characteristic feature of the Semmering line and were built from coursed rubble masonry with brick trimmings. Little remains of the original stations, which were planned as no more than relay stations and watering points, but later became converted into more impressive structures as tourist traffic increased.
The appearance of the whole line changed significantly between 1957 and 1959, when electrical poles were erected to carry the contact wires required by electrical locomotives. The Semmering pass itself is well known for the ‘summer architecture’ of the villas and hotels, as it became one of the first purpose-built Alpine resorts in the decades following the opening of the railway line.
The Great Spa Towns of Europe
The Great Spas of Europe bear an exceptional testimony to the European spa phenomenon, which gained its highest expression from around 1700 to the 1930s. This transnational serial property comprises eleven spa towns located in seven countries: Baden bei Wien (Austria); Spa (Belgium); Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně (Czechia); Vichy (France); Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen (Germany); Montecatini Terme (Italy); and City of Bath (United Kingdom). The series captures the most fashionable, dynamic and international spa towns among the many hundreds that contributed to the European spa phenomenon.
Whilst each spa town is different, all the towns developed around mineral water sources, which were the catalyst for a model of spatial organisation dedicated to curative, therapeutic, recreational and social functions. Ensembles of spa buildings include baths, pump rooms, drinking halls, treatment facilities and colonnades designed to harness the water resources and to allow its practical use for bathing and drinking. ‘Taking the cure’, externally and internally, was complemented by exercise and social activities requiring visitor facilities such as assembly rooms, casinos, theatres, hotels, villas and related infrastructures (from water piping systems and salts production to railways and funiculars). All are integrated into an overall urban context that includes a carefully managed recreational and therapeutic environment of parks, gardens, promenades, sports facilities and woodlands. Buildings and spaces connect visually and physically with their surrounding landscapes, which are used regularly for exercise as a contribution to the therapy of the cure, and for relaxation and enjoyment.
Wachau Cultural Landscape
The Wachau is a stretch of the Danube located between Melk and Krems, which demonstrates high visual and landscape qualities. It showcases many intact and visible traces of its continuous, organic evolution since prehistoric times, be it in terms of architecture (monasteries, castles, ruins), urban design (towns and villages), or agricultural use (mainly for the cultivation of vines and apricot trees).
The clearing of the natural forest by local peoples began in the Neolithic period, although radical changes in the landscape did not take place until around 800, when the Bavarian and Salzburg monasteries began to cultivate the slopes of the Wachau, creating the present-day landscape pattern of vine terraces. In the centuries that followed, the acreage under cultivation fluctuated, under the influence of changes in climate and the wine market, acute labour shortages followed by wage increases in the 17th century. In the 18th century, hillside viticulture was actively promoted in ecologically optimal regions. The other areas were turned into pastures, which bore economic consequences such as the closing of some enterprises and the growth of others. It was at this time that viticulture was finally abandoned in the upper stretches of the Wachau, and the development of the countryside in the 19th century had particularly far-reaching consequences for the Wachau. The ratio of acreages used for viticulture or as orchards, which continues to be closely linked with fluctuations in the market for both kinds of products, lends the Wachau its characteristic appearance.
The basic layouts of Wachau towns date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The development of the settlements with their homogeneous character becomes evident in the town structures, both in the fabric and arrangement of the houses on mostly irregular lots and in the street patterns, which have remained practically unchanged since the late Middle Ages. Some town centres have been somewhat extended on their outer fringes by the construction of small residential buildings, mostly from 1950 onwards. The buildings in Wachau towns date from more recent periods than the street plans. In the 15th and 16th centuries, stone construction began to replace the wooden peasant and burgher houses.
The winegrowers’ farmsteads, which are oblong and either U-shaped, L-shaped, or consisting of two parallel buildings, date back to the late Middle Ages and the 16th-17th centuries. Most of these feature lateral gate walls or integrated vaulted passages, service buildings and smooth facades, which for the most part were altered from the 18th and 19th centuries onwards. Street fronts are often accentuated by late- and post-medieval oriels on sturdy brackets, statues in niches, wall paintings and sgraffito work, remnants of paintings or rich Baroque facades. The steeply pitched, towering hipped roof occurs so frequently that it can be regarded as an architectural characteristic of the Wachau house.
Many 18th-century buildings such as taverns or inns, stations for changing draught horses, boat operators’ and toll houses, mills, smithies, or salt storehouses, frequently dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, still serve trade and craft purposes and are partly integrated in the town structure. A number of castles dominate the towns and the Danube valley, and many architecturally and artistically significant ecclesiastical buildings dominate both the townscapes and landscapes.
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
The “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” are a transnational serial property comprising 94 component parts across 18 countries. They represent an outstanding example of relatively undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit a wide spectrum of comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. During each glacial phase (ice ages) of the last 1 million years, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) survived the unfavourable climatic conditions in refuge areas in the southern parts of the European continent. These refuge areas have been documented by scientists through palaeoecological analysis and using the latest techniques in genetic coding. After the last Ice Age, around 11,000 years ago, beech started expanding its range from these southern refuge areas to eventually cover large parts of the European continent. During this expansion process, which is still ongoing, beech formed different types of plant communities while occupying largely different environments. The interplay between a diversity of environments, climatic gradients and different species gene pools has and continues to shape this high diversity of beech forest communities. These forests contain an invaluable population of old trees and a genetic reservoir of beech and many other species, which are associated with and dependent on these old-growth forest habitats.