The weekend before Spring Break began, Salzburg College took all of us on a weekend trip to Vienna in order to learn more about Austrian culture from the capital. Our first day there, we took a two-hour walking tour of the city following lunch at Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt, an open-air food market where you can find anything and everything.
We began our tour by walking around the Hofburg, the former imperial winter residence of the Habsburgs. Built up from the 13th century, it embodies numerous architectural styles. Today, it is used by the Austrian Federal President and houses a series of museums.
On the other side of the complex are some Roman ruins lying beneath the church of St. Michael. Also on this side of the palace is one of the old shopping streets, which houses the famous Demel pastry shop, and the Spanish Riding School.
To complete our tour of the Habsburg history, we visited the Imperial Crypt which holds the bones of 145 Habsburg royalty. Located underneath the Capuchin Church and monastery, some of the dozen Capuchin friars continue their role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt today; the most recent entombment was in 2011. Some of the most famous members buried here include Empress Maria Theresa, Archduke Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, and Emperor Franz Joseph.
After leaving the crypt, we walked over to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, our last stop, where we proceeded to climb the 343 spiraling steps up one of the towers to get a view over the city. The subsequent descent made me incredibly dizzy, but the sights were worth it.