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Vienna Woods
Vienna would be less liveable without the  Vienna Woods, a protected forest area  surrounding the urban zone. They temper the city's climate, but also are home to quite some well worth seeing sites. The Cistercian monastery Heiligenkreuz is an early gothic architectural monument of high  interest. It's known as the oldest burial place  of the Babenberger dynasty. Nowadays, the  monks at Heiligenkreuz record Gregorian  chants. The former hunting lodge of Mayerling is  known for the tragedy of crown prince  Rudolf's suicide, the only son of Empress  Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph. See and learn more at the scene which is today a  Carmelite monastery. Don't miss Seegrotte Hinterbrühl, a grotto in a retired gypsum mine. Enjoy the relaxing cool  air of the tunnels and finish off the tour with a boat trip on the "Big Lake" - known as  Europe's largest subterranean lake.
Foto: © Niederösterreich-Werbung / K.M.Westermann
Foto: © Niederösterreich-Werbung / Rita Newman