The University of Vienna (Universität Wien), founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365, is one of the oldest universities in the German-speaking world. It has a long and rich history, and today has developed into one of the biggest and most renowned universities in Europe, especially in the field of Humanities. The university has been the academic home to many important historical figures, including 15 Nobel Prize winners. The university’s academic facilities occupy over sixty locations throughout Vienna, though the central building on the Ringstraße constitutes what’s commonly referred to as ‘die Uni.’
Entering the central campus from the Ringstraße, the university’s facade and open arcades mark the main entrance and show the birth of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of the arts. The adjacent arcade court was designed to commemorate famous scientists and academics, and is used a recreational gathering area for students. ‘Die Uni’ offers guided tours of the historic building on the Ringstraße, including the arcade court, the historic library, and the ceremonial chamber where graduations are held – just look up to view the
beautiful ceiling paintings done after original designs by the famous artist Gustav Klimt.
Hourlong guided tours on Thursdays and Saturdays offer an overview of the history of the University of Vienna. Starting in the Aula, the tour visits the arcade court, the main reading room of the university’s library and the main ceremonial chamber.