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Linz, Austria - Capital of Culture

The spotlight has been shone on the city of Linz, Austria, having been jointly named European Capital of Culture for 2009 with Vilnius, Lithuania.

A city with a chequered past, being the childhood home of Adolf Hitler and resting place of his parents, as well as being the focus of his cultural ambitions, Linz nevertheless has much to offer visitors. As the city repositions itself from being one of industry to a centre of culture, investment in the arts is growing.

Linz boasts a variety of music halls, the likes of which most other cities can only dream of. The Brucknerhaus, a music venue since 1974 and named for the renowned 19th century composer Anton Bruckner, prides itself on acoustics that other music venues could never aspire to. Almost every genre is catered to at the Brucknerhaus, with its numerous concert halls, from opera and classical music to contemporary jazz.

For a more contemporary musical experience, the Posthof in Linz Harbour offers the best in modern music, as well as theatrical and dance performances. An eclectic musical mix is also on offer during the annual Festival 4020, held in early May, where performances relate to a particular theme each year. This is held in a number of the city’s music venues, including the Brucknerhaus.

Linz also has a number of museums and art galleries to tempt tourists. The Schlossmuseum (Castle Museum) allows visitors to take a look at the history of Austria and its art, and also houses one of Beethoven’s pianos.

Most unusually, the Ars Electronica Center is a Museum of the Future. Instead of looking to the past, the high-tech displays lend themselves to interaction and a look at the technological advances the future may hold. The Ars Electronica Festival is held each September to celebrate the modern cultural aspects of the art world, and is an intensely enjoyable experience.

The Lentos Art Museum showcases ever changing exhibitions of classical modernism works, and the Lentos Museum of Modern Art is a must-see for fans of modern art. The Landesgalerie Linz, or Provincial Gallery, also houses great classical works as well as pieces by up and coming artists.

The architecture of Linz can be enjoyed by visiting some of the religious landmarks in the city. The 17th century Ignatiuskirche (Old Cathedral) features artwork by the artist Antonio Bellucci, and the Neuer Dom (New Cathedral) is the largest cathedral in all of Austria. The Wallfahrtsbasilika is a twin-spired church which can be seen from all around the city, from its perch atop the Pöstlingberg Hill.

These are just a few of the cultural sites that visitors to Linz may wish to take in. A visit to this city is sure to be an enriching one.

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