As they are gracious enough to host the contest for what will be Australia’s first year as an official entrant, we thought it only fair to take a tour through the majestic streets of the Austrian capital. If it was the glamorous Conchita who were to guide us through the historic capital, where might she take us? Here are some of the landmarks that we think Conchita would want you to know about!
Vienna City Hall Square (Rathausplatz)
The square will play host to the official fan zone – also known as Eurovision Village, throughout the competition – from the 17th to the 23rd of May. The historic square is home to the stunning gothic building of Rathaus – or City Hall, and the square has previously played host to events such as the Life Ball – an AIDS charity event promoting tolerance, awareness and fundraising for the cause.
Making its transformation into the Eurovision Village, the square will play host to special screening events on big screens, as well as special live appearances from the artists and music, fun and activities for the whole family.
In the lead up to the main event, there is also an eight-metre high tower that is counting down to the first semi-final live show on May 19 at 9pm.
With Conchita as Austria’s ambassador this year, the gay community has rallied around Eurovision even more than ever, which means the gay and lesbian nightlife scene will be thriving throughout Eurovision week.
There’s certainly no shortage of gay clubs and club nights to choose from – the most famous of which is Heaven Vienna, hosted by iconic local drag queen Miss Candy. Other famous club nights include Why Not, a smaller club open til late on Friday and Saturday nights, and then there’s Up! Club open twice a month and "Bear & Butch" club Pitbull. G.Spot caters to the lesbian crowd, along with Las Chicas.
While gay saunas may often conjure up seedier images in other parts of the world, nowhere else in the world are they more stunning, or historical, than the imperial city of Vienna! The Kaiserbründl Men's Sauna is a particularly famous and long-running institution that was frequented by the aristocracy at the turn of the century and is housed in a stunning historic building adorned with stunning artwork. Facilities include a sauna, bio sauna, steam room, massages, solarium and dining over three floors.
Vienna’s Klangmuseum, aka the House of Music is presenting a special exhibition for the occasion, titled '60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest – Austria 1717 Points' which will feature music and sound recordings reminiscing the past 60 years of Eurovision. Admission is free and the exhibition runs from 2 April - 31 May 2015.
Then, celebrating the underdogs of the competition, Bachmann prize-winning artist and cartoonist Tex Rubinowitz is presenting a contest titled 'The Nul-Pointers' at The Leopold Museum, which will celebrate the 34 competition participants who have received the dreaded Nul-points score. Rubinowitz has carved the faces of these losing contestants into wooden panels that will be on display from 8 May - 1 June 2015.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Probably one of the most important buildings in Austria, and a symbol for the city of Vienna, this stunning gothic building dates back to the 12th century and is a must-see for any tourist visiting the stunning imperial city. The distinctive colourful roof tiles are part of what makes the building so unique, as they were laid to create a mosaic of the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna.
Continuing the gay and lesbian theme, this baroque building and estate was once the former summer residence of gay field marshal Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) and is now home to the world’s largest collection of works by one of Vienna’s most famous artists, Gustav Klimt, including his most celebrated work, 'The Kiss'.
The Ring Boulevard (Ringstrasse)
This famous boulevard that rings the Old City, is home to many of Vienna’s most famous and stunning historic buildings, including the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace, Parliament and City Hall (where the Eurovision Village will be hosted). For visitors, an excellent way to take in the sites is to catch the Ring Tram which departs every 30 minutes from Schwedenplatz, includes audio-visual guides and runs all year round, looping the whole site.
The Viennese Prater is a large public park which is home to the 'Wurstelprater' known as the oldest amusement park in the world. The Giant Ferris Wheel and its surrounding square is a particularly popular landmark for visitors looking to have some fun and experience old-world nostalgia at the same time.
Vienna State Opera House
Probably one of the most famous and beautiful historic Opera Houses in the world, it also serves as another gay landmark for the 'Conchita Tour of Vienna' as it was created by gay architects Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg, who met a tragic end. After the Emperor Franz Joseph criticized the building, van der Nüll took his own life. Just ten weeks later Sicardsburg died too - reportedly of a broken heart, or so the story goes.
The Euro Fan Café Vienna
The official Austrian Song Contest fan club OGAE have organised the Euro Fan Café, to be hosted at Vienna’s EMS Lounge as a point of contact for fans who’ve travelled from around the world especially for the contest. During the day it will be a café and meeting place, but by night the 800 capacity venue will transform into a Eurovision disco and a screening party for the three main events throughout the week.
The Spanish Riding School
The 450 year old riding school and their Lipizzan ballet is a truly unique equestrian show unlike any other world. Located in the stunning baroque backdrop of the Imperial Palace, audiences can watch the Lipizzan horses and their highly skilled riders perform in time to the music in an equestrian dance performance that is only possible after many years of training. In 2015 the world-famous Vienna Boys' Choir is also collaborating with the Riding School for a series of unique performances.
Can't be in Vienna for Eurovision? Tune in to SBS ONE instead for all three nights: