Linz, Capital of Culture

Linz AustriaThe European Union announced the two cities that are designated as the European Capitals of Culture in 2009. One of which is the capital city of Lithuania, Vilnius. The other, meanwhile, is the capital of the federal province of Upper Austria as well as Austria’s third largest city. Linz is located in the north of Austria, about halfway between Vienna and Salzburg.

Like many European cities, Linz has a historic Old Town Quarter dotted with nice patrician houses, original Roman foundations, a vast pedestrian zone, and Medieval-era vaults. When traveling in Linz, start on the Main Square and then walk your way towards the Old Town.

Linz is also a great city for shop-a-holics, as its narrow side streets have many quaint little antique shops while the town center has a lively flea market every Saturday.

However, many people do not know that Linz has a dark past. Built as an industrial city consisting of large-scale steel and chemical factories, Linz suffered the brunt of the Nazis as it was bombed during World War II, barely spared of being totally destroyed. It Old Town may not be comparable to the beauty of Graz or Salzbur, but it represent the Austrian city in its real sense.

The city’s new contemporary design will definitely capture the hearts of many travelers. Cafés are placed alongside modernist cubes, where they can have their fill of the delicious Linzer Torte. Night clubs line the narrow streets of Old Town, contrasting with the city’s centuries-old churches.

Although Linz is still an industrial town, it slowly develops itself into a booming tourism destination. For one, the city is the center of the annual Ars Electronica Festival, which focuses on electronic art, as well as the "Klangwolke" (or sound-cloud), a cultural open-air spectacle combining Austria’s traditional music with a fantastic light show.

It is also the location of the Lentos art museum, which houses the country’s collection of modern art. These efforts for cultural development and an innovating culture and arts scene have enabled Linz to successfully reinvent itself.

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