• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:38am

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 June, 2009, 12:00am

Vienna is the best city in the world in which to live, according to Mercer's recent Quality of Living ranking, conducted to help governments and companies place employees on international assignments. Mercer disagreed with the Economist Intelligence Unit's liveability survey, which named Vancouver as being on top. Among the Austrian capital's many attractions is the world's oldest zoo - Tiergarten Schonbrunn ...

Established in 1752, Schonbrunn is one of only three zoos in Europe to have giant pandas as exhibits; in this case Yang Yang and Long Hui, which are on loan for 10 years from China, and their cub, Fu Long (above, with Yang Yang). The mainland's history of sending pandas abroad can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (AD618-907), when a pair were sent to the emperor of Japan by Empress Wu Zetian ...

Empress Wu has been China's only female leader to date. She schemed her way to the top and broke all precedents when she founded her own dynasty in AD690, the Zhou (interrupting the Tang dynasty), which lasted until just before her death, in 705. During her reign, Empress Wu brought in Buddhism as the favoured state religion, to replace Taoism ...

Taoism flourishes best in regions populated by Chinese people but there have been a few western converts, including, according to several sources, macabre American writer and artist Edward Gorey ...

The influence left by Gorey, who died in 2000, can be seen in the work of many artists, across many media. The music world has much to remember him by, not least of which is The Gorey End, an album based on the author's unpublished work and released in 2003 by the Kronos Quartet together with London-based three-piece The Tiger Lillies ...

Another musical Tiger Lily from the British capital was the band of that name formed in 1973. The group went through a series of name changes, including The Zips, Fire of London and London Soundtrack, before settling on Ultravox! In 1981, the band (now minus the exclamation mark) had their biggest hit single - Vienna.

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