You may want to visit this landmark of Vienna in the footsteps of the immortal movie “The Third Man” or simply enjoy the view of the city from almost 200 feet up. One thing is certain – only when you have taken a ride on Riesenrad are you really in Vienna!
The Giant Ferris Wheel is open year round and is one of the most frequented attractions in the Danube metropolis. Ferris Wheel Square was redesigned in 2008. Now this entrance to the Prater amusement park is a nostalgic theme world reminiscent of the Prater in the year 1900.
The Wiener Riesenrad, Big-Wheel, is a Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria’s capital Vienna. It is now one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions, and symbolises the district as well as the city for many people. The Riesenrad was one of the earliest Ferris wheels, erected in 1897 to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I’s golden Jubilee. At this time it was the largest in the world with an overall height of 64.75 meters(212.4 ft). The wheel originally had 30 gondolas, but was severely damaged in World War II. When it was rebuilt, only 15 gondolas were replaced. The spokes are steel cables, in tension, and the wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base. A demolition permit for the Riesenrad was issued in 1916, but due a lack to funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived. The Riesenrad is not the only Ferris wheel in Vienna, but it is the largest. Since 1993, there is a second permanent Ferris wheel in the Prater with a diameter of 35 metres; it is called the Blumenrad.
A further permanent Ferris wheel in Vienna can be found at Bohemian Prater.
The Wurstelparter amusement park occupies just a tiny corner of the six square kilometer Prater park in Vienna’s second district. Located at one end, the world famous Giant Ferris Wheel has been welcoming visitors to the amusement park since 1897. Today the Prater has around 250 attractions offering no end of action and fun, from nostalgic merry-go-rounds to the world’s highest chain carousel, and an Olde Worlde ghost train to a casino. The latest highlight to arrive is the Vienna branch of Madame Tussauds on Riesenradplatz, where 65 wax figures are on show against multimedia backgrounds. The Schweizerhaus, where draft beer and delicious Stelzen (crispy knuckle of pork) await, and Eisvogel with its award-winning Viennese cuisine, are just two of the culinary highlights at the Prater.
Anyone who prefers the great outdoors to the hustle and bustle of the amusement park should head to the meadows, trees and wetlands of the Grüner Prater, or green Prater. Lined by magnificent horse chestnut trees, the 4.4km long, dead-straight Hauptallee is a popular training route for joggers. The Prater is full of options for sport lovers, including the Stadionbad outdoor swimming pool (summer only), the Ernst Happel Stadium and the Krieau buggy racing track. There is more than enough space at the Prater for people to enjoy a stroll or simply relax surrounded by nature without getting in the way of joggers, cyclists and skaters.
Vienna’s Prater park, once part of the Danube wetlands, later served as the Habsburg’s hunting grounds before being opened to the general public by Emperor Joseph II in 1766. This marked the opening chapter in the history of the Wurstelprater, as the first restaurateurs, coffeehouse owners and ride operators moved in soon after. The Prater Museum is the perfect place to find out more about the history of this unique park. This building – also home to the Planetarium – contains mementos of the original Wurstelprater, which was destroyed in the final days of the Second World War. The present-day amusement park dates back to 1948.
More than 210 discounts and unlimited free travel by underground, bus and tram for 72 hours. Available in hotels and at the tourist information centre on Albertinaplatz (open daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm) and the tourist information point at the airport (open daily from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm), at sales and information points of the Vienna Lines (e.g. Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstraße/Wien Mitte) or by credit card on tel. +43-1-798 44 00-148.
The information, and photos, on our Vienna pages has been compiled with the help of Wien Tourismus – http://www.wien.info/en– to ensure quality, up-to-date information on the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.
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