Linz is the capital of Upper Austria and third-largest city in Austria. In the north of the country, it is on the Danube 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of the Czech border. In 2018, the population was 204,846.
From 1945 to 1955, Linz was divided, with the city north of the Danube occupied by the Soviets and to the south by the Americans. In 2009, it was a European Capital of Culture. Linz is known for Linzertorte.
Points of interest
The main street “Landstraße” leads from the “Blumauerplatz” to “Taubenmarkt” (Pigeonmarket) near the main square. The main square (built in 1230), with an area of 13,200 m2 (142,000 sq ft), is one of the largest converted squares in Europe. In the middle of the main square the high “Pestsäule” (“plague column“, also known as “Dreifaltigkeitssäule” (Dreifaltigkeit means Holy Trinity)) was built to remember the people who died in the plague epidemics.
Around the main square are many historically relevant and architecturally interesting houses, such as the Old Town Hall, the Feichtinger House with its carillon, which changes the melody depending on the season, the Kirchmayr House, the Schmidtberger House or the bridgehead buildings, which house a part of the Linz Art University.
West of the main square there is the old quarter with many other historic buildings, such as Renaissance houses or older houses with a baroque face.
Near the Schloss/castle, being the former residence of emperor Friedrich the III—the oldest Austrian church is located: Sankt/Saint Martins church. It was built during early medieval Carolingian times.
Other points of interest include:
- St. Mary’s Cathedral (Mariä-Empfängnis-Dom), Roman Catholic, in Gothic-Revival style. With a total height of 134.8 m (442 ft), the cathedral is the tallest church in Austria. Constructed in the years of 1862 and 1924, it is fully built of sandstone with unfinished front details.
- Mozarthaus is the house, dating to the end of the 16th century, where the famous Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the “Linz” Symphony and “Linz” Sonata during a three-day stay there in November 1783. Today, the exterior and inner courtyard of the house can be visited, but not the interior.
- Pöstlingberg-Kirche: pilgrimage church on the Pöstlingberg hill. The basilica is the city’s landmark and was built from 1738 until 1774, located on 537m sea level.
- Pöstlingbergbahn is the steepest mountain rail in the world which was built in 1898 and operates gear-wheel free (functional grip between wheel and rail: gradient of 10.5%)
- Linzer Grottenbahn: A grotto railway is based up on the hill of Pöstling
- Brucknerhaus: the concert and congress house located on the Donaulände was first opened in 1973 and is venue of the Brucknerfest since 1974. It is named after the composer Anton Bruckner, who was born in Ansfelden, a small town next to Linz. The modern Concert Hall owes its unique acoustics to its wood paneling. The Great Hall of the Bruckner House, also called Brucknersaal, is the architectural jewel hosting an organ consisting of more than 4,200 pipes and 51 registers. The spacious stage in particular was designed for 220 performers. In 2017 the life and works of Anton Bruckner were the focus of the Bruckner Festival held under the motto “Bruckner elementar”. Bruckner’s works were the focus of the festival presented by national and international artists.
- Gugl Stadium, is home to the LASK (Linzer Athletik Sport Klub), which is claimed to be the third oldest football club in Austria.
- Linzer Landestheater
- Kremsmünsterer Haus: is to find at the “Alter Markt”, located in the inner city of Linz where, as legends say, emperor Friedrich III. had died.
- Landhaus: The country house was built in the 16th century and is the headquarters of the governor, the upper Austrian parliament and the government of upper Austria. Johannes Kepler used to teach here for more than 14 years.
Other attractions include the museums listed below, as well as several buildings which are illuminated in the evening (such as the Ars Electronica Center or the Lentos Art Museum), the Tobacco Factory, the Danube Lands, the port of Linz including Mural Harbor, the Voestalpine Stahlwelt or the District Urfahr. In the immediate vicinity is the Pöstlingberg, close to the baroque pilgrimage basilica, the Linz zoo, or the fairytale and dwarf kingdom of the Linzer Grottenbahn.
- The Lentos (built 2003) is a modern art gallery, presenting art from the 20th and 21st centuries. It is situated on the south banks of the river Danube. The building can be illuminated at night from the inside with blue, pink, red and violet, due to its plastic casing.
- Ars Electronica Center (AEC) (also called museum of the future) is a museum and research facility on the north bank of the Danube (in the Urfahr district), across the river from the Hauptplatz (main square). The AEC is a significant world centre for new media arts, attracting a large gathering of technologically oriented artists every year for the Ars Electronica Festival. The AEC museum is home to the Deep Space 8K, which offers a unique Ars Electronica Centervirtual world with wall and floor projections (each 16 by 9 metres [52 by 30 ft]), laser tracking and 3-D animations.
- City Museum Nordico houses an art collection as well as a historical and an archeological collection, all of which relate to the city of Linz. About 16,000 people visited the museum in 2013.
- Upper Austrian Regional Museum (Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum) has three main locations that focus on different aspects of the regional history: The Landesgalerie (regional gallery) exhibits modern and contemporary art, the Schlossmuseum houses archeological findings all of which retrace Upper Austria’s cultural history whereas the aim of the Biologiezentrum Linz-Dornach (centre of biology) is to retrace the region’s natural history with an exhibition of about 16 million objects (which makes it the second biggest museum for natural history in Austria).Regional gallery
- At the headquarters of the Upper Austrian art association (Oberösterreichischer Kunstverein) in the Ursulinenhof in Linz there are regular exhibitions of contemporary art.
- Upper Austrian museum of literature (Oberösterrreischisches Literaturmuseum), the Adalbert Stifter Institute for literature and linguistics and the Upper Austrian house of literature (Oberösterreichisches Literaturhaus) all are situated in the StifterHaus, where Austrian writer, painter and educationalist Adalbert Stifter lived from 1848 to his death in 1868.
- Upper Austrian forum for architecture (Architekturforum Oberösterreich) in the house of architecture (Haus der Architektur) attracts about 6,000 visitors annually. The forum organises lectures, exhibitions, conferences and competitions.
- Upper Austrian open house of culture (Offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich, acronym: OK) is an art institution focusing on contemporary art.
- Museum of Dentistry (Zahnmuseum) shows an exhibition of equipment used in dentistry from the early 18th century to the recent past.
- Cowboy-Museum Fatsy presents cowboy culture, showing original pieces from the United States.
- Ars Electronica Festival: the Ars Electronica Festival is a festival for media art which has been taking place annually in Linz since 1986 and includes exhibitions, concerts, performances, symposia and interventions on changing themes that take place in public settings such as churches and industrial halls. The events focus on art, technology and society and the nexus among them. In 2015 about 92,000 visitors attended the Ars Electronica Festival. The topic in 2016 was “RADICAL ATOMS and the alchemists of our time”. In 2017 the festival took place under the theme “Artificial Intelligence—The Alter Ego”. The festival takes place in different public spaces and is considered to be a confrontation with and in the public sphere.
- Black Humour Festival: Every two years in May, the Festival of Black Humour with guests from all over Europe takes place in the Posthof in Linz. The latest festival was in May, 2017 (04.-24.May) representing performances from Italy, Sweden, Germany and Spain.
- Bubble Days: the Bubble Days have been taking place annually in June since 2011 and are hosted by local creative collective LI.K.I.DO. During the event a number of extreme sports shows, such as aviation performances and a wake boarding contest, the Red Bull WAKE OF STEEL, take place in the harbour of Linz. Additionally there are a number of art exhibitions and live music acts and visitors can explore the harbour on boat tours, in paddle boats or kayaks. In 2013 the Bubble Days reached a total number of 12,000 visitors.
- Christkindlmärkte: Christmas markets at Hauptplatz and Volksgarten.
- Crossing Europe Film Festival: Since 2004 this festival takes place annually in Linz. Starting at a total number of 9,000 visitors in the first year, the tenth edition of the Crossing Europe Film Festival in 2014 attracted over 20,000 people; 184 feature films, documentaries and short films from 37 countries were shown. The film screenings are accompanied by exhibitions, talks and live music acts (“Nightline”). There are currently eight different awards to be won at the Crossing Europe Film Festival in categories such as “CROSSING EUROPE Audience Award”, the “FEDEORA AWARD for European Documentaries” and the “CROSSING EUROPE AWARD Local Artist”.
- Donau in Flammen (Danube in Flames): Annual music fireworks from June to August in Upper Austria on the banks of the Danube, accompanied by a broad supporting program.
- Festival der Regionen (Festival of the regions): The festival of the regions focuses on contemporary local art and culture and takes place every second year in varying locations across Upper Austria. It took place for the first time in 1993 and has been dedicated to different themes such as “the other”, “marginal zones” or “normality”.
- Höhenrausch: Höhenrausch is an annual art project that was developed in 2009. As part of the DonauArt, an inter-institutional cultural project, Höhenrausch 2018 is under the motto “The other shore”. The element of water is worked on by international artists, with the definition of the shore being the focus of artistic exploration. Diverse spaces and places underline the presentation of this project.
- International Brucknerfest: Following the opening of the “Brucknerhaus” concert hall in Linz three years earlier, the international Brucknerfest took place for the first time in 1977. Whereas the first two editions were only dedicated to classical music in general and Anton Bruckner’s pieces in particular, this changed in 1979 when the international Brucknerfest, the Ars Electronica festival and the “Klangwolke” (sound cloud), which now marks the beginning of the Brucknerfest, were merged to create a festival worthy of competing with those in Vienna and Salzburg. Taking place annually for three weeks in September/October it closes the Austrian festival season.
- Kinderfilmfestival (Kid’s Film Festival): The international children’s film festival is organized by the Kinderfreunde Oberösterreich. Films are shown in the original version while being live synchronised by an actor. The 29th festival will supposedly take place in November 2017.
- Kinderkulturwoche (Children’s Week of Culture): The children’s culture week has been taking place regularly since 2013 with plays, workshops, intro courses for children and teenagers.
- Klangwolke (Cloud of sound): Created as a link between the Ars Electronica Festival and the international Brucknerfest, this open-air multimedia musical event takes place annually at the beginning of September at the riverside Donaupark in Linz. It is free of charge and attracted about 110,000 people in 2013. Today there are three different “Clouds of sound”, the visualised Klangwolke, in which modern music (mostly commissioned works) is staged with lasers, video projections, fireworks, ships, cranes, balloons, etc., the Klangwolke for children (since 1998) and the classical Klangwolke.
- Linzfest: This open air festival has taken place in Linz since 1990. It is financed by the city of Linz and several sponsors and organised for the broad public of all ages in cooperation with partners such as local cultural institutions. The festival is dedicated to a different theme every year (the last one in 2014 was “Old is the new new”) and includes concerts, theatre, dance, comedy, art in the public space, culinary art, literature and parties, all of which are in line with the general theme of the event. It is held in the “Donaupark”, a wide park area next to the Danube, also referred to as “Donaulände” or “Kulturmeile”.[
- Linz Marathon is held annually in April and attracted over 15,000 participants and about 100,000 spectators in 2013.
- Pflasterspektakel: The festival takes place annually since 1986 in the city centre of Linz and includes musical acts, juggling, acrobatics, pantomime, improvisational theatre, clownery, fire dancing, painting, samba parades, as well as a programme for children. With about 250,000 visitors (2014) the festival is one of the biggest street art festivals in Europe; its 28th edition featured 300 artists from 36 different nations.
- The Stadtfest (City festival) is held annually in August in the inner city of Linz. The three-day festival features live music acts of different styles, with each music style being represented on a different stage. The concerts are held by national and international artists. Every year about 100,000 people take part in this event.
- Urfahraner Märkte: These fairs are held twice every year (once in spring, once in autumn) in Urfahr on the northern side of the Danube. They include a fun park (with roller coasters and a Ferris wheel) and a market (with food products from local and regional farmers) and attract about 500,000 people.
Other cultural institutions and venues
- Archive of the city of Linz: collection of important documents of the city of Linz, presenting Linz’ town history
- Atelierhaus Salzamt: living and working space for artists, featuring continuous exhibitions.
- Botanic garden: about 100,000 visitors every year; featuring a summer programme of music acts, readings and dance performances in the garden pavilion
- Donaupark Linz: contains sculptures by national and international artists such as Herbert Bayer, Max Bill and David Rabinowitch. The original idea of this project, called ‘forum metall’, by Helmuth Gsöllpointner and Peter Baum, was to set an example of Linz as an art metropolis with sculptures symbolizing a fusion of art and economy.
- Design Centre Linz: modern congress and exhibition centre
- Johannes Kepler Observatory: opened in 1983
- Kinderkulturzentrum Kuddelmuddel: theatre for children which includes a kindergarten
- KUBA Jugendkultur: cultural institution for teenagers and young adults, founded by the Verein Jugend und Freizeit, which is an association for teenagers and young adults interested in culture
- Kulturhaus Reiman: venue for concerts, young theatre and cabaret
- Kulturzentrum Hof: cultural institution featuring concerts of different music styles, cabaret performances, theatre, readings and various workshops. The Kulturzentrum Hof tries to appeal to non-mainstream artistic styles.
- Kunstraum Goethestrasse: founded in 1998, it is a location for temporary art
- Landeskulturzentrum Ursulinenhof: The Ursulinenhof houses cultural institutions and is a cultural venue (presenting e.g. exhibitions and hosting readings and theatre performances) and a press and event centre.
- Mural Harbor: The main focus of the Mural Harbor Cultural Association are graffiti and contemporary wall paintings. Local and international artists from Germany, Serbia, Greece, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, USA or Australia have participated in this project. There are tours that offer to get closer to the graffiti art by river cruise. At the end of each tour you get the chance to attend a graffiti workshop.
- Tabakfabrik: location for exhibitions and musical events. For about four decades Gerhard Haderer, a cartoonist from Linz, has been criticizing and unmasking the obedient ones in our society. His most recent project titled “Schule des Ungehorsams” (“School of Disobedience”) is an appeal to all the people interfering in order to contribute to shaping our society which makes us ponder on disobedience in a playful way. It will be hosted in the Tabakfabrik (tobacco factory) in Linz and Haderer himself will be the janitor. The planned activities will include exhibitions, public readings, publications, lectures and workshops.