Linz, Austria

Reference work entry


Located in the north of Austria, Linz is the capital of the federal state of Upper Austria. It is a major industrial centre and an important port on the River Danube lying between Vienna and Salzburg. For 12 years the composer Anton Bruckner, revered by some as ‘God’s Musician’, was the organist at the city’s Old Cathedral.


Linz dates back to the second century AD when it was a Roman fortress settlement called Lentia. Situated on trade routes, it had become a busy market town by the fifteenth century and was, for a time, the residence of the Emperor Frederick III and recognized as a regional capital. After Germany occupied Austria in 1938, large industrial plants were built in the southern part of the city.

Modern City

The historic centre has been restored with a large pedestrian zone and elegant residential housing. The main square has many different kinds of markets. A busy port, its most important industries are iron and steel, chemicals and textiles. For 3 weeks in Sept. the city dedicates its most prestigious music festival to Bruckner, presenting some of the world’s most famous soloists and orchestras. Linz was one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2009.

Places of Interest

The old town centre on the south bank of the river features the Hauptplatz. This thirteenth century main square is dominated by the Trinity Column (Dreifaltigkeitssaule) which was sculpted in Salzburg marble in 1723 to mark the city’s release from plague and war. Linz Castle, believed to originate from the eighth century, was once the residence of Friedrich III and now houses the Schlossmuseum. The seventeenth century Gothic Old Cathedral is where Bruckner first performed his D-minor Mass. The neo-Gothic New Cathedral was built in the nineteenth century and features Austria’s second highest church spire (at 131 m) after St Stephen’s in Vienna. On the north bank of the river the Neue Galerie displays nineteenth and twentieth century works by Austrian and German artists, including Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

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