Vienna, City of Many Pasts: guided city tour with a historian
Dive into Vienna's rich and varied past on this 3-hour walking tour. You'll start off at Michaelerplatz, outside the Hofburg. The square has stood outside the Habsburg's imperial palace since the thirteenth century. The square also contains the Loos house, a green and gray building created by Austrian architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933).
Your tour moves on to Kohlmarkt and the Graben, which are now one of the city’s most stylish shopping districts, but also contain a variety of historical structures, ranging from a plague column, to a baroque church, and even the national architectural icon of Austria: the Stephansdom.
You'll also pass through three destinations connected to the Habsburg's lavish tripartite burials. St. Stephen's Cathedral contains the imperial entrails, Capuchin Church holds the sarcophagi of centuries of Vienna's rulers, and St. Augustine's Church has dozens of silver urns, each with a Hapsburg heart inside.
The tour will follow the edge of the inner city, where you can see the remains of the 12th century city walls, which held back two sieges by the Ottoman Empire (1529 and 1683). These tough structures were eventually removed to create space for the large circular boulevard of the Ringstrasse.
You'll move on to Schwarzenbergplatz, with a giant fountain and memorial to the Russian soldiers who died while liberating Vienna from the Nazis in World War II. The area also houses the majority of the city's embassies. You'll quickly pass by the Belvedere Palace before moving on to Karlsplatz and a gorgeous view of the gold-domed Secession building and the Naschmarkt.
Your tour ends in the Museums Quartier and MariaTheresien Platz. Here, at the end of your educational walk through Austria's capital, you can find the city’s largest concentration of museums to further feed your intellectual curiosity.