Vienna State Opera
Following its reconstruction in the postwar years, the facade of the venerable Vienna
State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) had taken on a black patina, as had all the monumental Hapsburg buildings along the Ringstrasse. In the 1980s, however, the slow removal of grime revealed a stunning honey-colored exterior to this magnificent concert hall built by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll—and made famous by Gustav Mahler and, later, the conductor Herbert von Karajan. Even if you don't attend a performance at the Wiener Staatsoper, you can discover its rich history on a guided tour, giving you a chance to learn about such highlights as the first performance in 1869 (Don Giovanni
) and the one at its re-inauguration in 1955 (Fidelio
), when Austria regained its status as a sovereign state.