Lessons in the "Vienna" Category

Australia joins Eurovision

Eurovision Song Contest fans recently discovered that Australia has been invited to join in the fun of the annual singing contest. Hang on a minute sport, Australia is not in Europe! Well, strike me down with a boomerang, you’re right, it’s not! But who gives a didgeridoo about that? Of course, there will be those that say Israel, Morocco and Azerbaijan are not in Europe, but hey, it is after all just a bit of fun, right?

This year’s 60th European Song Contest extravaganza will take place in the Central European country of Austria, in its capital Vienna. The country won the right to host the contest when Conchita Wurst, who was their representative choice of singer last year, won in Copenhagen. A total of 40 countries will compete in this year’s song contest. The final will be broadcast on Saturday 23rd May.

A visit to Vienna!

Most people who visit Central Europe like to visit Vienna. Known as the ‘music city’ the city has class, culture and charm. Vienna has imperial grandeur! It is the capital city of Austria. Former capital of the Austrian Empire it then became part of the Austro Hungarian Empire. The Habsburg family ruling in Vienna and its Empire for centuries until Austria was defeated at the end of the Great War when its monarchy and Empire was broken up.

Visit the Habsburgs Imperial Palace. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe and was the seat of the Habsburg family who spent their winter months here. The famous Schőnbrunn Palace that’s located on the outskirts of the city was until 1918 the summer residence of the Habsburgs.

Category: Central Europe / Places to Visit / Vienna

Central Europe’s Glorious Ball Season Starts

Long cold winter nights in Central Europe can be brightened up by receiving an invitation to a Ball. The annual Ball season in the region has now commenced and will continue until Ash Wednesday. The most famous Ball in the world has to be the Opera Ball in Vienna. Many call it the jewel in the crown of Balls.

There are however hundreds of other Balls in the Austrian capital. Other famous Balls in Central Europe include the Prague Ball, the Czechoslovakian Ball and Budapest’s Opera Ball. In Slovakia the Ball season sees two big Balls, the Bratislava Ball and the Opera Ball.

The Ball season follows on from the 18th and 19th century traditions when Balls were highly popular, especially during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The idea of the Ball is to honour the traditional values of the city.

The Ball itself is frequented by many artists, bankers and entrepreneurs, together with other local people, for whom the participation in a city Ball becomes a social prestige. The Ball is used as an occasion for the introduction of young ladies and gentlemen to society. The impressive cultural event is where many prominent people meet.

Category: Central Europe / Events / Balls

I spy with my little eye…

If you like cold war thrillers that involve cloak and dagger type operations then the chances are you’ll think of the Orson Wells classic The Third Man. We can add Ian Fleming’s most famous spy James Bond, 007. In real life the Austrian capital recently saw one of the biggest spy swap operations in recent years take place at its international airport between Russia and the USA. But why Vienna?

Well, according to the BBC it has a long history as a stomping ground for secret services all over the world as the centre of spy swap operations. Vienna is the capital of a neutral country in the heart of Europe.

In fact, Austria has been a spy hub for more than a century. Indeed, even 20 years after the end of the Cold War agents and informants still feel at ease in this romantic city. With the disintegration of the Austro Hungarian Empire and the political turmoil that followed this led to more and more secret services setting up shop in Vienna.

Category: Austria / Vienna / US-Russian Spy Rings