Wachau Goddess

The Venus of Willendorf is Austria’s most famous archaeological find.

In 27,500 BC, an artist in Willendorf on the Danube carved a small, curvaceous female statue from a piece of limestone, which is one of the reasons the Wachau region is one of the oldest cultural landscapes in Austria today.

The female is certainly not consistent with the young, thin and long-legged creatures you see gracing the catwalks today. The 11-cm tall female statue, known as the ‘Venus of Willendorf’, was carved from limestone around 29,500 years ago and her voluptuous proportions still captivate us today. She was discovered in 1908 in the village of Willendorf in der Wachau during the construction of the Danube Canal. You can see the Venus for yourself in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. More pre-historic finds and information about the discovery of the Venus can be found in the Venusium in Willendorf.

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau

However, what was the purpose of the Venus? Is she a fertility symbol, a model of a goddess or simply an example of prehistoric erotica? Archaeologists aren’t sure. However, one thing was certain: UNESCO awarded Wachau World Heritage Status in 2000 and not only acknowledged the unknown sculptor of the Willendorf Venus, it also recognised a whole cultural landscape, which has been home to creative people for thousands of years.