Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: The Danube

In the tranquility of old Vienna, Stefan Zweig writes, one could never “dream how dangerous man can be.” This 1901 photograph shows a city market.

The Unhurried World of Pre-War Vienna

Author Stefan Zweig, who inspired Wes Anderson's <i>The Grand Budapest Hotel</i>, recalls Austria at the dawn of the 20th century

At Sky Hill, guests learn how to throw pottery and make sweet-scented hay by gathering grass into small heaps that will dry in the sun. Marius and Cornelia bought the land in 2006 and have used it to teach travelers of all ages about organic farming and construction.

Try Your Hand at Organic Farming in Southwest Romania

By hosting travelers, local farmers hope to reverse the impact of big industry

The Hollywood Bombshell Who Invented an Indispensable War Technology

In 1942, Hedy Lamarr received a patent for frequency hopping, but was told to devote her efforts elsewhere

Among century-old oaks and poplars are the ruins of a Dominican convent where Margaret took the vows of a nun. She refused to marry a neighboring king, instead devoting herself to God.

The Appalling and Beguiling History of Budapest's Margaret Island

A Hungarian-born writer recalls a princess' defiance of her father, Nazi atrocities, and the island's role as sanctuary

Traveling to the Danube? Here's What You Should Read, Watch and Download

Know before you go

Is Europe Returning to Pre Cold War Divisions?

Author Robert D. Kaplan notes the beginnings of a complex map, caused by Russian revisionism, the refugee crisis and a structural economic crisis in the EU

These Black and White Images Reveal a Vienna Most Travelers Don’t See

Photographer Carl Yurttas captures the city's many moods

Nine Unique Gifts to Buy in Vienna

From specialty fruit preserves to Habsburg figurines, Austria's capital has it all

Both genius and impresario, Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla reads in his remote Colorado Springs laboratory in 1899 next to a magnifying transmitter that generates millions of volts of electricity. While far too dangerous to sit near—the image is a double exposure—his gigantic Tesla coil created the first human-made lightning.

Nikola Tesla's Struggle to Remain Relevant

An offbeat Belgrade museum reveals the many mysteries of the prolific, late-19th-century inventor

The Slovak Radio Building, an inverted pyramid completed in 1983, has been called “one of the ugliest buildings in the world.” Recording studios at the center are surrounded by outward-facing offices. Its heavy weight and rough texture seem to capture the grim, waning years of Communist Party rule.

Is Bratislava's Communist-Era Architecture Worth Preserving?

For residents of Slovakia's capital, Cold War structures recall a painful past

This gold appliqué, more than six millennia old, appears to be a bull but has buffalo-like horns.

Mystery of the Varna Gold: What Caused These Ancient Societies to Disappear?

Treasure found in prehistoric graves in Bulgaria is the first evidence of social hierarchy, but no one knows what caused the civilization's decline

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: The Danube

Travel the Danube from the Black Forest of Germany to the green teardrop-shaped island of St. Margaret in Budapest

The village and vineyards of Dürnstein form part of Lower Austria's Wachau Valley.

For a Culinary Scene Steeped in Tradition, Head to Austria's Wachau Valley

A new generation of chefs and vintners is seasoning this sleepy, vineyard-dotted valley with fresh ideas

“The Danube River Project” explores the waterway using underwater equipment to show scenes—like this one of Budapest—partly above and partly below the surface.

How the Danube Became a Multinational Power Source

Spanning 1,770 miles from Germany's Black Forest to the coast of Romania, the river takes its character from the people and places it passes

It is tradition for a young man to kiss a young lady’s hand at the Elmayer Hofburg ball. The waltz ends; enchantment lingers.

The Timeless Art of the Viennese Waltz

A reminder of past glory, the dance is birthright in Vienna

Marillenknoedel, or apricot dumplings, are a Wachau Valley specialty.

Ever Tried an Apricot Dumpling? You Need To

The rich soils of Austria's Wachau Walley yield some of the tastiest apricots and apricot products in the world

Goulash began as a humble soup-stew, cooked over an open fire by Hungarian herdsmen. The addition of refined varieties of paprika from ground red chilies made the dish an international staple.

The Humble Beginnings of Goulash

The hearty soup-stew known around the world began as the everything-goes-in meal of Hungarian herdsmen

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