Vienna, Fourth District: Wieden
The fourth district of Vienna is called Wieden and used to comprise of the modern fourth district as well as the fifth district or Margarethen. At some point, somebody recognised that Wieden is actually a very nice place, but Margarethen spoils it, being the craphole it still is - and so they divided the district into two.
The much nicer fourth district receives a lot of attention from tourists, is a fashionable area to live for artists and students and votes conservative. The fifth district is rather filthy, not interesting for any sightseeing whatsoever and votes social democrats.
In Wieden or the fourth district itself, you will find large residential areas with mostly historicist buildings - there are slightly less than 30,000 residents that call Wieden home; in addition, there is the odd baroque Palais and post-war reconstruction ugliness. Tourists concentrate on the area around Karlsplatz. Here you find a bunch of attractions: The Karlskirche Church is the most prominent feature on the square and the main attraction of the fourth district.
Karlskirche Church & Karlsplatz
It was built after a plaque epidemic in 1713. Back then, it lied outside of the city walls and was the most splendid piece of architecture in the area - today, the large edifices around Karlskirche tend to distract from it, but you recognise its splendour and significance once you have climbed up to the cupola. It was recently refurbished and is well-known for its frescoes. The Karlskirche was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and is dedicated to St. Karl-Borromäo.
Standing in front of the Karlskirche, look to your left hand side. Here you find the Wien Museum, officially the town museum of Vienna - but actually a lot more than that. In the Wien Museum you can track the history of Vienna from the stone age to the present day, supplemented by an extensive art collection. My favourite part of the permanent exhibition is dedicated to fine arts of the Wiener Moderne.
Looking at the right hand side of the Karlskirche, you see a palatial building in neo-Classicist style. This is the old Technische Universität or Technical University - its new sibling is one building further down the Karlsplatz Square. In the centre of the Karlsplatz, you find Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) Stadtbahn pavilions by Otto Wagner.
Naschmarkt Market: Fresh Food for the Fourth District
Around the corner, you get to the Naschmarkt, Vienna′s biggest fresh food market - here you find all sorts of domestic and exotic goods. The Naschmarkt runs along the Wienzeile road, which covers a canal and marks the border between the fourth and the sixth district. Fruits and vegetables tend to be very cheap here, other goods are not really - I also buy spices here.
If you decide to dive into the residential area of the fourth district instead of going to the Naschmarkt, use Argentinierstraße for doing so. In this area you will find lots of embassies and consulates - but also the Diplomatic Academy, according to their own claim the oldest grad school for international relations in the World.
The academy was founded by Empress Maria Theresia in the 18th century and shares a building with another famous foundation of Austria′s mother of the nation: The "Theresianum", a kick-butt middle school.
Smaller Attractions of Wieden
Nearby, you can find the Radiokulturhaus, the headquarter of the Austrian public broadcast′s radio division. I used to come here for speaker′s training and am very fond of the 1930ies building with its original interiors - the porter′s tend to be rather welcoming if you explain that you just want to have a look, so do walk around a bit. It is among the very few Austrian Art Deco buildings worth noting.
Otherwise, you can chase a handful of less significant churches in the fourth district: The Theklakirche, the Paulanerkirche or the Elisabethkirche. Beyond major attractions you can go for a general stroll - most side-streets are neither particularly wide nor scenic, but full with small cafes, bars, galleries and specialist stores for tea, Chinese import items, interior design stuff and other things.
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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna's Districts
District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margareten) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)