Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises


The City of Culture

Vienna, Austria's largest and most populous city, has historically been the capital of culture for Western Europe. This city is home to a great number of museums, galleries and cultural events. It is a place where famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven lived and created their best music.

A perfect mixture of the old and the new, Vienna is a city where going to the opera, having a piece of chocolate cake and shopping are only a few of the must-do activities.

Vienna chocolate cake

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

A Brief History of Vienna

  • Although there were prior settlements in the Danube River plain in this area, Vienna's recorded history started with the Romans, who founded the city in the 1st century.
  • Vienna later became the Imperial Seat, what would be the capital city in today's world, for the entire Holy Roman Empire.
  • In fact, Vienna also served as the capital during the Austrian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its end in 1918.
  • Much of the city was destroyed during World War II and the city's cultural diversity was lost.
  • Today, Vienna was voted to be the most livable city in the world and is even more multicultural than it used to be.

Rathaus Mayor office in Vienna


Schönbrunn Palace

Formerly a summer house of the Habsburgs, the Austrian royal family, Schönbrunn Palace is the most visited attraction in Vienna.

The Palace has 1,441 rooms and it now serves as a museum. Some rooms are open for public and display the original furniture used by the Habsburgs centuries ago.

In addition to the museum, the Schönbrunn royal complex also consists of beautiful gardens, a maze (a place where it is difficult to find your way out), Roman ruins, and numerous sculptures. The world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is also easily accessible from the royal complex.

Schuenbrunn Palace

Hofburg Palace

Located in the city center, this imperial palace was used by the Habsburg family as their main winter residence.

The Hofburg complex was built in the 13th century to serve as the seat of the government. Over the years, there were many additions to the palace, such as the imperial chapel, the library and the Burgtheater (the Imperial Court Theatre).

When in the Hofburg, you will have a chance to see a number of attractions all at once.

Hofburg palace

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral stands tall on the ruins of two small churches built 1,000 years ago. With its colorful roof, the church represents one of the symbols of Vienna and its incredibly rich history.

Both locals and tourists gather in great numbers in the area around the church to admire its beauty. Due to its 18 altars, several chapels and many gilded icons, the interior of the church is also quite stunning and definitely worth visiting.

St. Stephen's Cathedral


The Museumsquartier is one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world. When the place opened in 2001, several new museums were introduced to the city.

Once there, you can get lost in one of the art museums like the Leopold Museum or the Museum of Modern Art, or instead choose to see contemporary exhibition spaces.

In any case, the Museumsquartier is a perfect destination for all art lovers, and a symbol of modernity and innovation in Vienna.

Natural History Museum,Vienna

Fun facts

  • Vienna's most famous artifact, Venus of Willendorf, is at least 25,000 years old and currently exhibited in the Natural History Museum. This figurine (a small statue in human form) shows that human population had lived in the areas by the Danube River for many thousands of years before Vienna was founded.
  • St. Stephen's Cathedral is famous for its 23 bells. Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most prolific composers, learned he was completely deaf when he saw birds reacting to the church's bells tolling, but he could not hear any sound.
  • The magnificent Schönbrunn gardens were originally fenced areas where ducks, deer and wild pigs were brought so that the Emperor could go hunting.
  • Vienna is known for its love for cafés, which are a big part of the local culture. An ideal stop at one would involve eating Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel) with tea or coffee. Apfelstrude is considered one of the traditional dishes of Vienna and it is the most common dessert in many countries in Europe that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Apple pie

Comprehension Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

  1. What does "livable" mean?
    1. easy to live in or with
    2. barely alive
    3. very happy

  2. What does "diversity" mean?
    1. frequently changing the direction of something, a car, for example
    2. swimming under water for a long time
    3. a range of different things

  3. What does "gilded" mean?
    1. being guilty of something
    2. done by monks in a church
    3. covered with gold paint

  4. What does "at once" mean?
    1. only one time
    2. at the same time, simultaneously
    3. at a certain hour

  5. What does "prolific" mean?
    1. producing many pieces of something, music or books, for example
    2. to do things in an academic manner
    3. something that only occurs in springtime

Collocation Questions

  1. Locals and tourists gather in great numbers in the area __________ the church.
    1. close to
    2. around
    3. of

  2. Over the years, there were numerous __________ to the palace, such as the chapel and the theater.
    1. additions
    2. extras
    3. supplements

  3. 25,000 years ago, humans lived in the areas by the Danube River __________ later became the city of Vienna.
    1. who
    2. whose
    3. which

  4. Maze is a place where you can __________ lost.
    1. become
    2. turn
    3. get
  1. Venus of Willendorf is Vienna's __________ famous artifact.
    1. most
    2. more
    3. the most
  1. The Romans __________ the city in the 1st century.
    1. found
    2. founded
    3. conquered
  1. The Museum Quarter is a __________ destination for all art lovers.
    1. happy
    2. good
    3. perfect

  2. St. Stephen's Cathedral is famous __________ its 23 bells.
    1. of
    2. by
    3. for

  3. The church represents a symbol of Vienna's __________ rich history.
    1. incredibly
    2. incredible
    3. credibly

  4. Tiergarten Schönbrunn is __________ accessible from the royal complex.
    1. beautifully
    2. easily
    3. quickly

Wh Questions

  1. What empire had Vienna as the capital city?
    1. The Ottoman Empire.
    2. The Russian Empire.
    3. The Austro-Hungarian Empire.

  2. Which palace was the royal family's winter residence?
    1. Schönbrunn
    2. Hofburg
    3. Ludwig

  3. When did the Romans found Vienna?
    1. In the 1st century.
    2. In the 2nd century.
    3. In the 4 century.

  4. Why was Vienna's cultural diversity lost in the 1940s?
    1. Due to the Great Migration.
    2. Because of World War II.
    3. Because of the Emperor's order.
  1. Where is the Apfelstrudel the most common dessert?
    1. Austria and Hungary
    2. countries in Europe that speak German
    3. countries in Europe that have belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire

Evaluating Statements

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is true?
    1. The Danube flows through Vienna.
    2. There are no rivers flowing through Vienna.

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is false?
    1. The interior of St. Steven's Church is closed for public.
    2. The interior of St. Steven's Church is open for public.

True or False?

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "The Habsburg Family had many properties, so they used different palaces in different seasons."
    1. True
    2. False

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "People call Vienna 'the city of music' because many popular singers live there nowadays."
    1. True
    2. False

Answer Key

1. A | 2. C | 3. C | 4. B | 5. A | 6. B | 7. A | 8. C | 9. C | 10. A | 11. B | 12. C | 13. C | 14. A | 15. B | 16. C | 17. B | 18. A | 19. B | 20. C | 21. A | 22. A | 23. A| 24. B

Get Updates, Special Offers, and English Resources

Download your FREE GIFT (the first two chapters of
English Short Stories Book and Workbook)
as soon as you join!

English Short Stories

By submitting your email, you consent to receiving updates and newsletters from us and to the sharing of your personal data with third parties for the purposes of sending you communications. We will not spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please see our privacy policy.