Wiener Prater

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Overview board
The Mauthner water in the Prater meadows
The southeastern part of the Prater near Krebsenwasser
Autumn mood on the Jesuit meadow

The Vienna Prater is a vast, about 6  square kilometers wide, mostly public area in the 2nd Viennese district , Leopoldstadt , which largely made originally by the still Danube dominated wetlands there. When people speak of the “Prater” outside of Vienna, they often only refer to the famous amusement park in the Prater, the Wurstelprater . This is located at the north-western tip of the area between the Danube and the Danube Canal and only makes up a very small part of the entire Prater area.

Location and topography

The Vienna Prater is located in the southeastern part of the river island, which since 1875 ended Danube regulation of the Danube and the Danube canal is formed. There is no officially defined delimitation of the Prater area. Over time, the area known as the “Prater” has been significantly reduced by building construction; so today the built-up Stuwerviertel (formerly swimming school maize, fireworks maize) is no longer referred to as part of the Prater, as is the Freudenau harbor located in the very south-east of the island , which is also known as the winter harbor.

The Prater is usually (but not officially) bounded by the following lines: in the north, starting from the Praterstern, from the exhibition street ; in the northeast of the street Vorgartenstraße - Wehlistraße - Hafenzufahrtsstraße; in the southeast from Seitenhafenstrasse; in the south and southwest of the Danube Canal and Schüttelstrasse; to the west from Stoffellagasse towards Praterstern.

As usual for a wetland area, the Prater is very flat; the highest point, the seven-meter-high Constantine Hill, was artificially raised. The Prater area can be divided into three different types of landscape:

  • The north-western part from Praterstern to Meiereistraße is extensive parkland. The only body of water is the artificially created, small duck pond on Constantine Hill.
  • The middle part from Meiereistraße to the Lusthaus is also a dry area, but partly still has the vegetation of an alluvial forest. The area is traversed by the Danube arms Upper Heustadelwasser and Lower Heustadelwasser as well as the small rose varnishes .
  • The southeastern part from the Lusthaus to the Seitenhafenstrasse still represents a relatively natural, moist floodplain landscape. The elongated ponds Lusthauswasser and Mauthnerwasser are remnants of the original Danube Canal, which flowed directly past the Lusthaus until it was regulated in 1832. To the north of it is the Krebsenwasser , an old Danube arm.

The “Green” Prater was placed under landscape protection on January 27, 1978. The Mauthner water and the crayfish water are protected as natural monuments, as are some trees and groups of trees in the Prater.

Origin of name

The oldest mention of the Prater can be found in a document from 1162, in which Emperor Friedrich I. Barbarossa properties between the Schwechat and the Danube near Mannswörth are called Pratum (Latin for "meadow") (" quod dictur Pratum ") Nobles named Conrad de Prato (" Cuonradus, qui dictur de Prato ") gave. The de Prato family later called themselves the Prater.

The next mention can be found in a document from 1403. Duke Albrecht IV enfeoffed the municipality of Stadlau with the three floodplains Segengrundt, Scheiben and Pratter (all parts of today's Prater): “ … three floodplains located in the Thunaw [Danube] bey Stadlaw [Stadlau], one of which is related discs, the other of the Segengrundt and the third of the Pratter, which are from Unns fiefdom ... “.

End of the 15th century. The name under which Hungary was Matthias Corvinus converted into Bardea , but Emperor Maximilian I gave a few years later the Au her old name. The spelling Pratter was used in Vienna for a long time.


Until 1765

The Prater as a hunting area (L. Munsch, around 1888)

The Prater used to be a relatively untouched alluvial forest. Originally, the term Prater only referred to a small island in the Danube north of the Freudenau, but over the centuries the term has also been used for adjacent floodplains , for example since the 19th century also for the Krieau and the one further upstream with meadows interspersed alluvial forest.

In order to establish a direct connection between the imperial Augarten palace and the hunting grounds of the court in the Prater, the 4.4 km long, dead straight main avenue was laid out in 1538 (almost parallel to the current main river of the Danube) . It was created by felling in the alluvial forest . The middle section between 1st Rondeau (Meiereistraße) and 2nd Rondeau (Lusthausstraße) did not exist until 1866/1867 ; here the avenue was interrupted by the haystack water, on the southern bank of which a road completed the connection. In 1867 the middle section, which had bridges over the haystack water at both ends, was opened. Since then, the main avenue has led continuously from the Praterstern to the pleasure house .

At first several owners had properties in the area. From 1444, the Augustinians can be proven to have owned some grounds in the Prater. The Jesuits later inherited two properties in the Prater; the Jesuit meadow reminds of this. In 1560, Archduke Maximilian (emperor from 1564) successfully tried to acquire many of these grounds in order to create a contiguous, fenced hunting area. (Hunts took place in the Prater until 1920; the last stag was shot in 1880.) As poachers kept roaming around in the Prater, Rudolf II's entry was made a punishable offense. This prohibition was repeated again and again because it was hardly obeyed.

At that time, the Prater was used exclusively for hunting by the respective monarch and his court. The main hunted were snipes, badgers, foxes, wolves, wild boars, brown bears and deer. Finally, Empress Maria Theresia allowed selected members of the nobility - usually regular participants in the imperial redoubts - to enter the Prater. Only the main avenue and some side paths were allowed to be walked or driven on by carriages. With the exception of the ladies' lap dogs, dogs were strictly forbidden.

“Ditto have both ruling Kayserl today in the afternoon. Majesties / sambt the most luminous Ertz-Hertzoginen / and many other high-ranking cavaliers / and ladies in the local Lust-Wald / Bratter called / decrees / and all there the annual fox bounces as well as the badger - Hötz accustomed. "

- Report in the Wienerisches Diarium No. 384

The Prater was repeatedly hit by warlike events. In the course of the Thirty Years' War , the main leader of the Bohemian uprising, Heinrich Matthias von Thurn , attacked the city of Vienna. When some of his soldiers broke into the Prater, they were driven away by the local hunters. When Swedish troops under Lennart Torstensson advanced as far as Vienna in April 1645 , the forest masters and hunters of the Prater set up a defensive position. During the second Turkish siege in 1683, Ottoman troops fought in the Prater.


Meeting of the beautiful world at the coffee houses in the Grosse Prater-Allee , around 1793
The New Wiener Ringelspiel in the Prater, 1799

On April 7, 1766, Emperor Joseph II, as Maria Theresa's co-regent, released the Prater for general use. This decree was announced in official German in the Wienerisches Diarium :

“It will be made known to everyone what you measure. emperor. Majest. Out of the most gentle affection for the local public, they have most graciously resolved and decreed that in future and from now on, at all times of the year and at all hours of the day, without distinction, everyone in the Bratter as well as in the city estate should be free walking, riding and driving, not only in the main avenue, but also in the side avenues, meadows and squares (which are all too remote places and thick forests, only except for any mischief and abuse that may otherwise have to be worried) Also, no one should be forbidden to divert oneself there by hitting balloons, cones, and other permitted conversations: but be careful that no one will indulge in such freedom, which is most gracious to the public, some impossibility, or to undertake otherwise unauthorized debauchery, and then to the utmost displeasure to give ß. Vienna, April 7, 1766. "

From now on, a large number of people visited the Prater, especially on Sundays and public holidays. The area could not be entered on Sunday until ten o'clock in order not to compete with the Sunday morning service . In the evening three gunshots signaled that the Prater had to be left. Joseph II also approved the settlement of coffee makers and hosts; the foundation stone for the creation of the Wurstelprater amusement park . The Prater became a center of entertainment and (in its peripheral areas near the Wurstelprater) also of prostitution .

The Stuwerviertel around 1830 (colored), top right the Fireworks Square

On May 24, 1771, the Italian Peter Paul Girandolini organized a large firework display in the Prater in front of around 10,000 people for the first time :

"With the utmost permission, and with the approval of the theater director, Mr. Girandolini, artificial fireworks, will present a large and new decoration of the temple of God Mars for the first time in the Bratter on the 24th of this month."

- Report in the Vienna Diarium of May 18, 1771

Two years later, the German Johann Georg Stuwer moved to Vienna and in 1773 received the privilege to carry out fireworks. Immediately north of the exhibition street, on a meadow that was soon to be called the fireworks meadow, he erected a large wooden frame on which his pyrotechnic articles were mounted, as well as grandstands for the public. In the following years a regular competition developed between the " German fireworks " Stuwers and the " Welschen fireworks " Girandolini. Stuwer usually had the public favor on his side, also because he always organized it on the then favorable Friday, Girandolini on the other hand on the less favorable Sunday. In addition, Stuwer impressed his audience with an enormous volume. A contemporary report reported:

"At this end he had ready: 200 bombs , 100 murder strikes, 80 cannon strikes , 150 cartoons , 300 rounds of peloton fire , 48 cords, 600 rockets, and 3 charged batteries ."

Stuwer got rich through his events. With an audience of up to 25,000 people, he took in up to 6,000 guilders per fireworks in good weather. He performed for the last time on September 29, 1799 and died three years later at the age of 70. Stuwer was considered a " landmark of Vienna "; the Stuwerstraße and the Stuwerviertel in Leopoldstadt were named after him. Several successors continued the fireworks. In the course of the preparations for the 1873 World's Fair , however, the fireworks frame and the grandstands had to be dismantled in 1871 by order of the authorities. The owner Anton Stuwer, a great-grandson of Johann Georg Stuwer, received only 60 guilders as compensation. Stuwer gave up fireworks, and as a result, fireworks were only occasionally held in the Prater.

In 1774, at the instigation of Emperor Joseph II, the bars around the area, which were locked at night, disappeared, and from then on the Prater could be entered at any time.

In 1780 the Fugbach, a very narrow arm of the Danube that flowed around the western part of today's Praterstern, was filled in; the Fugbachgasse between Nordbahnstrasse and Heinestrasse is a reminder of this. In 1782, a crossroads at the north-western end of the Prater became a star-shaped square after the construction of further streets in the then largely undeveloped area. Seven avenues emanate from this Praterstern , two of which - the main avenue and the exhibition street - lead into or delimit the Prater, and one, today's Heinestrasse, continues the main avenue in the direction of Augarten .

The pleasure house in 1875

In the years 1781 to 1783, Isidore Canevale built the baroque pavilion Lusthaus at the southeast end of the main avenue . A hunting lodge had previously stood at this point, which was called Casa verde or green pleasure house (first mention that has survived to this day in 1560). The Lusthaus was the meeting point and stage of elegant life in Vienna and was also regularly visited by the emperor.

On May 10, 1784, the English equestrian Charles Hyam attempted to ascend in a manned hot air balloon in the Prater . The company turned out to be a hoax, only an unmanned tethered balloon was raised. On July 6th, 1784 the fireworker Johann Georg Stuwer managed to ascend his fireworks site with a hot air tethered balloon , which is considered to be the beginning of manned aviation in Austria . Stuwer performed several more balloon ascents in front of a paying audience. During the third ascent on August 2, 1784, the tether broke, so that the balloon floated over the Danube and only came to the ground there. Nobody was injured, and that day Stuwer unintentionally carried out the first balloon flight over Austria.

Around 1786, three coffee houses were built on Hauptallee, which soon became very popular. They were called the First , Second, and Third Coffee House. The first coffee house was located on a now undeveloped area south of the "Schweizerhaus". It initially offered classical music performances; Beethoven played here in 1814, Joseph Lanner in 1824. Later, various shows were offered, such as B. Arabic dances and chants. Business was bad for many years, however, the coffee house changed hands 21 times from 1854 to 1938, was then closed and burned in 1945.

The second coffee house was even bigger than the first and was considered rather posh. The main entertainment was waltz music; In 1844 Johann Strauss son played here . The brothers Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss performed in 1866 with a 60-strong band. In addition to the main building, there was an "octagonal salon", a billiard room, a "sideboard", a large salon with its own orchestra, four other salons and a winter garden. In 1945 the restaurant burned down; today there is a hockey field here.

The third coffee house was also managed in winter. Large parties were often held here, at which Strauss and Lanner also played. In 1871 the coffee house was converted into a "Singspieltheater" with a room for 5,000 people. After two bankruptcies, Anton Ronacher took over the restaurant in 1877 and performed operettas and variety shows. From 1896 onwards, speaking pieces were also used. by Nestroy, commanded. In 1920 the third coffee house burned down , but was rebuilt. In 1945 it was damaged, in 1962 it had to make way for the "Brunswick Bowling Hall".

In 1791 the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard tried to carry out the first planned free flight of a balloon in Austria. Attempts to start failed on two days. The audience felt cheated about his entrance fee and Blanchard had to be brought to safety from the angry crowd by the police. On July 6, 1791, he succeeded in making the journey from the Prater to Groß-Enzersdorf . In the decades that followed, countless pilots carried out balloon ascents, with Stuwer's fireworks site almost always serving as the starting point.

In 1807 the watchmaker Jakob Degen constructed a flying machine with movable wings that was powered by muscle power. Degen realized that the lift that could be achieved in this way was not sufficient and made do with a hydrogen-filled auxiliary balloon, which generated around half of the lift required for flying. On November 13, 1808, he managed the first controlled free flight over the Prater. Eight years later constructed a sword prop with clockwork . This world's first (unmanned) helicopter model reached a height of 160 meters in the Prater in 1816.

Circus gymnasticus (1808-1852)

On June 6, 1808 , the Circus gymnasticus ( Circus Bach ) of the kk art rider Christoph de Bach (1768-1834) opened on the (later named after) Zirkuswiese , south of the main avenue diagonally across from the Third Coffee House . The (probably) designed by Joseph Kornhäusel (1782–1860) (and originally made of wood) existed until 1852. The building, which was auctioned in 1850 and in May 1851 by Joseph Freiherrn von Dietrich (1780–1855) with a view to a renovation had been auctioned and briefly used, had to be canceled by the end of August 1852, according to the privilege, which had become obsolete due to the death of the heiress, Laura de Bach († 1851) (formerly issued by Emperor Franz II ).

The fireworks square, around 1825

In the autumn of 1824 a 227.5 m long horse-drawn railway was built in the Prater as a test route, which experimented with several materials for the tracks. The short railway line also served the builder Franz Anton von Gerstner to find interested parties and financiers for a railway line from Linz to Budweis. In 1825 the construction of the Budweis-Linz horse-drawn railway actually began; the “Schaubahn” in the Prater was dismantled again.

In 1832 the lower course of the Danube Canal was regulated southeast of today's Ostbahnbrücke . From here to the main stream near Albern , a dead straight bed was dug for the canal. As a result, the area of ​​the Freudenau horse racing track , which opened in 1839, moved from the right, Kaiserebersdorfer , to the left, Leopoldstadt bank of the Danube Canal since 1850 . This no longer flowed past the Lusthaus: Lusthauswasser and Mauthnerwasser have been oxbow lakes ever since.

In 1834 the optician Peter Wilhelm Friedrich von Voigtländer built a short stretch in the Prater that was not provided with rails, but was to be operated by steam bus . The line acted as a trial run for a planned Vienna – Pressburg line . On October 26, 1834, Voigtländer drove the vehicle in the Hauptallee in front of 15,000 spectators. The project was ultimately not implemented.

In 1839 the Freudenau horse racing track was opened in the Prater . The grandstands were built in 1858 and inaugurated in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I. They were designed by the architect Carl Hasenauer and built by his brother, the court carpenter Christoph Hasenauer. The first Austrian derby took place in 1868. The court grandstand designed by the Budapest architect Adolf Feszty was built in 1870.

Since the middle of the 19th century, the Imperial and Royal Prater Rides have taken place every year on May 1st, becoming one of the most important unofficial celebrations for the imperial family, the high and small nobility and the people. In 1932 , Princess Nora Fugger described the pomp and exuberance of this spectacle along the Praterallee in detail in her memoir "Im Glanz der Kaiserzeit" :

“The crowds grew denser. Soon the first wagons arrived, mostly light, flower-adorned vehicles, unnumbered fiakers. They followed each other in increasingly narrow spaces. In between archdukes and archduchesses in their splendid carriages with gold-rimmed wheels, coachmen and lackeys in galalivreen and driver's seat and resignation. The members of the Kaiserhaus drove to the Kaisergarten, which was located on the left hand side of the entrance to the Prater and was locked. There was a pavilion in which the emperor gave a gala dinner every year on May 1st at 3 p.m., exclusively for members of the imperial family and any guests from ruling houses. "

In the course of the revolution of 1848 there were fighting in the Prater. On October 25, 1848, there was fighting around the pleasure house, whereby the revolutionaries under General Józef Bem were initially able to push back the imperial troops. On October 28th, however, imperial and Croatian soldiers overran the Prater and subsequently the city.

The zoologists Gustav Jäger and Alexander Ussner built the Tiergarten am Schüttel in the Prater near the Franzensbrücke in 1863 (see Schüttelstrasse ; the Tiergartenstrasse branching off from it - not at its location at the time - reminds of this). The zoo was based on the latest scientific findings; the animals should be housed in an ambience appropriate to their natural habitat. The director was Friedrich Knauer . In 1864 the zoo had 230,000 visitors. However, it had to close in 1866 for economic reasons; the investors August Graf Breuner and Johann Nepomuk Wilczek had miscalculated. The brief revival from 1894–1901 had little success.

Map of the Danube breakthrough, around 1870

From the year 1868 the concrete plans for the Viennese Danube regulation began , which now after decades of long discussions was actually pending. Three possible variants for a new river bed had been available for a long time: a variant remote from the city, which roughly followed the course of the Old Danube and would therefore have been inexpensive to manufacture, a variant close to the city, in which the Danube would have flowed at the Praterstern, and a medium variant . The variant close to the city would have been the cheapest in terms of transport, since a river port could have been built near the city center. However, this version would have destroyed a large part of the Praterau recreation area and was therefore rejected. The middle variant was finally built. Work began in 1870, on April 14, 1875, water was let into the new stream bed, and on May 30, 1875, the ceremonial opening by Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Due to the regulation , especially due to the now higher flow velocity and the deepening of the river, the meadow landscape changed . The water table sank and the original vegetation of the floodplain disappeared. Remnants of it are only preserved in the southeastern part of the Prater. With the construction of the new river bed, several of the previous arms of the Danube became oxbow lakes (stagnant water).

From the beginning of February 1868, the award-winning architectural designs for the third German federal shooting, which was scheduled from July 26th to August 2nd, 1868 between Hauptallee and the (already regulated) Danube Canal ( kk Unterer Prater ), were publicly exhibited. In the series were on the approximately 60  ha large fairground of architect Moritz Hinträger plans submitted (1831 to 1909) is reacted (in modified form). In terms of transport, the fenced-off terrain (extending east to today's Stadionallee) was developed in the north from the First Rondeau of Hauptallee (today: intersection of Hauptallee / Meiereistraße) and in the west from a shipping pier in the Danube Canal ( ).

Since 1870, about 200 meters from the end of the main avenue near the Lusthaus, a bridge of the Ostbahn has crossed the road, which interrupts the embankment that runs from Simmering towards Stadlau . Today trains to northern and eastern Lower Austria as well as to Brno , Prague , Krakow and Pressburg run over it and the Stadlauer Bridge that adjoins the Danube .


The 1873 World's Fair
The rotunda, photo 1873

From May 1st to November 2nd, 1873 the world exhibition was held in Vienna , which was frequented by 7.25 million visitors, but caused a deficit of 14.9 million guilders. The exhibition area was developed with driveways and generous parking spaces. Street names such as exhibition street , Perspektivstraße , Rotundenallee , access street , Südportalstraße and Nordportalstraße still indicate this today. In the course of the construction of the exhibition building, around two million square meters of forest were cleared and several rivers and floodplains were filled in.

For the world exhibition, a large area with exhibition halls was laid out in the Prater, with the rotunda in the center . In its time it was by far the largest dome in the world with a diameter of 108 m.

Almost all of the buildings in the world exhibition were demolished over time. The rotunda remained in operation for more than sixty years, but fell victim to a (possibly laid) fire on September 17, 1937. Only two pavilions from the world exhibition are still preserved today. They are located between the Krieau harness racing track and the Ernst Happel Stadium , serve as the federal government's sculpting studios and are now called Prater studios . The southern pavilion dates from 1873, the northern one was destroyed in the Second World War, but was rebuilt.

With the excavation from the construction of the world exhibition building, the Constantine Hill was raised. It was named after the chief steward of Emperor Franz Joseph I , Konstantin zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1828-1896), who had been involved in the construction management of the world exhibition, as the imperial family owned part of the property.

The little duck pond was created next to the Constantine Hill . The elegant Konstantinhügel café and restaurant was built by the hotelier Eduard Sacher on the hill . In the 1970s, an artist group tried to revitalize the now run-down restaurant; then it was destroyed by (alleged) arson in 1977. Below the Constantine Hill was the Hirschenstadl , where deer and roe deer were kept until 1867. In the immediate vicinity of the Constantine Hill is the listed Konstantinsteg , which is structurally the oldest still existing bridge in Vienna.

The vivarium around 1880

As part of the world exhibition in 1873, a show aquarium was built and named a vivarium . It was located on the western edge of the Prater on today's Vivariumstrasse. In 1903 it was converted into an experimental biological research institute under the zoologist Hans Leo Przibram . This research facility was one of the most remarkable scientific institutions in Austria until 1938. For more than thirty years, innovative scientific work in the field of experimental biology was created there.

The distinctive aiming tower of the harness racing track

In 1874 the Wiener Trabrenn-Verein was founded with Count Kálmán Hunyady as its first president. The races were initially held in Hauptallee, but the construction of a permanent racetrack began shortly afterwards. On September 29, 1878, between Hauptallee and Handelskai, the Krieau trotting track, which is now adjacent to the new building for the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the stadium, was opened, and in 1882 the first grandstand was built. After the original wooden grandstand was showing its age, it was renewed from 1912 to 1913 by the architects Emil Hoppe , Marcel Kammerer and Otto Schönthal . The judges' tower as the last component was not built until after the First World War in 1919.

For the workers, the Prater was after the rise of the labor movement a popular parade ground: The first Maiaufmarsch Austria found respected throughout Europe, on May 1, 1890 in the main avenue instead.

A forerunner of the later Liliputbahn in the Prater was the so-called "Schnackerlbahn", which ran around 1890 from the Venediger Au , where the Circus Busch was located, to the later south portal of the Wiener Messe with the rotunda . The reason for its establishment was the agriculture, forestry, industry and art exhibition . The success was so great that the builder, Josef Bierenz, had the operating permit extended three times.

In 1896, the Vienna Athletic Sports Club built a sports facility for football between Rustenschacherallee and Spenadlwiese, then called Pratersportplatz and now called WAC-Platz . The field is considered to be the oldest football field in Austria that still exists in its original form. In addition to the soccer field, the facility also included eight grass tennis courts, a running track and a cycle track. Today the course is still playable, but relatively desolate.


From 1921 the city's own exhibition company built the exhibition center on the site of the 1873 World Exhibition , where the Vienna International Fair ( spring fair , autumn fair ) was held twice a year . The rotunda was also available for trade fairs until 1937; but it was too big and costly to maintain. After the fire in the rotunda - which was very favorable for those responsible - the exhibitions took place exclusively in the modern pavilions of the exhibition grounds. In 1942 the Vienna Trade Fair was discontinued due to the war. In 1945 the exhibition grounds, like the Wurstelprater, were destroyed in the battle of the Red Army against the Wehrmacht and the SS , but were soon rebuilt.

The Maria Grün church in the south-eastern part of the alluvial forest

On December 21, 1924, the Maria Grün pilgrimage church was inaugurated in the Prater . The church furnishings came from Langenlois . In the following years numerous pilgrimages to Maria Grün were carried out, the peak value was reached in 1937 with 72 pilgrimages. The church is hidden in the alluvial forest; it is located 370 meters northeast of the Lusthaus and can be reached from Aspernallee.

Construction of the narrow-gauge Liliputbahn began in 1927, and it was opened on May 1, 1928. Two steam locomotives of the type Martens'sche Einheitsliliputlok from Krauss & Co. , Munich , were bought for operation. The route originally led from the Ferris wheel through meadows and forest to the rotunda, in 1933 it was extended by around 2.5 kilometers to the Prater Stadium.

On the hundredth anniversary of Franz Schubert's death , the German Singers' Association was held in Vienna from July 19 to 23, 1928 ( Schubert Zentenar celebration ). For this occasion, a huge wooden hall was built on the Jesuitenwiese in the Prater, at that time the largest wooden hall in the world. The structure was 182 m long and 110 m wide; it offered space for 93,000 people (33,000 singers and 60,000 listeners). After the end of the event, the hall was dismantled.

Around 1925 there was still a wooded area in Krieau (southeast of Meiereistraße and northeast of Prater-Hauptallee) called Rondeaumais, which was bordered by the playground of the Vienna Golf Club at the time. In 1928, the city administration of Red Vienna began building the stadium pool here. The pool was built according to plans by Otto Ernst Schweizer and opened in 1931 together with the Prater Stadium.

At the beginning of October 1928, North of the Gaswerksteg on the Birkenwiese, Minister of Education Richard Schmitz (1885–1954) opened what was then the largest school playground in the country - today: the Birkenwiese National Playground .

In November 1928 the foundation stone for the Prater Stadium was laid , also by the city administration ; on July 11, 1931, it was opened on the occasion of the 2nd Workers' Olympiad , a major manifestation of social democracy . At that time it was considered the most modern stadium in Europe, especially because of its short emptying time of only seven to eight minutes. Initially it had a capacity of around 60,000 people.

On January 8, 1930, the planetarium was opened on the Praterstern immediately in front of the entrance to the Wurstelprater , which had previously been set up on Maria-Theresien-Platz in 1927/1928. The octagonal wooden construction by Robert Oerley had a then ultra-modern projector Zeiss Model II. The initiator and first director of the planetarium was the astronomer Oswald Thomas ; the square in front of today's planetarium, which opened in 1964, is called Oswald-Thomas-Platz in his honor .

On September 11, 1933, the Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss , who had already ruled authoritarianly without a National Council , gave a speech on the Trabrennplatz in the Prater at the Trabrennplatz in the Prater, in which he advocated the establishment of a "social, Christian, German state of Austria based on estates and strong authoritarian leadership" as formulated his goal.

In the last third of the Second World War , there were bombing raids on Vienna; An underground air raid shelter was built in the Kaisergarten near the Praterstern. In the course of the Battle of Vienna from April 6th to 13th, 1945 fierce fighting broke out in the Prater between the 6th Panzer Division of the German Wehrmacht and the XX. Guards Rifle Corps of the Red Army . The fighting resulted in massive damage:

  • The vivarium was destroyed and not rebuilt.
  • The part of the Wurstelprater north of the exhibition street, the Venediger Au with the striking Circus Busch, was completely razed to the ground; the area was converted into a park by the city of Vienna after the war.
  • The Wurstelprater, the planetarium, the northern Prateratelier and the buildings on the exhibition grounds were also destroyed, but rebuilt.
  • The Ferris wheel, the Freudenau horse racing track, the Krieau harness racing track, the Lusthaus, the southern Prateratelier, the Maria Grün church, the Liliputbahn, the Stadionbad and the Praterstadion were all damaged but repaired.
  • Only a shooting gallery, carousel and restaurant in the Wurstelprater remained undamaged.

1946 until today

The research reactor of the TU Atomic Institute

The repair of the Prater, which was now in the Soviet-occupied sector of Vienna until 1955 , lasted until 1953. 353 bomb craters, 982 foxholes , nine  trenches and 24 fragmentation trenches were counted and largely eliminated in the Prater  . 548 vehicles destroyed in the battle had to be towed away. In the following years around half of the remaining Prater waters were destroyed through drainage, landfills and industrialization.

At the beginning of the 1960s was on the edge of the Prater at the Stadium bridge over the Danube Canal to the research reactor of the Atomic Institute of the Austrian Universities, now part of the Technical University , built ( Prater reactor ). On March 7, 1962, the first chain reaction was initiated. The nuclear reactor is not used for energy supply, but for research and the training of students. Currently (2013) there are 36 scientists, 29 non-scientific employees and around 80 other researchers as guests. Around half of the TU's physics graduates do their master's, diploma or doctoral theses at the Prater reactor. Around 100,000 visitors - mostly school classes - have visited the reactor since 1962.

In 1962, the Wiener Schnellbahn and its Praterstern station went into operation. The Prater was now directly accessible by public transport from some parts of the city and from the northern and southern environs of Vienna.

At the opening of the newly built, now the Ferris wheel directly adjacent planetarium on June 20, 1964 gave the local historian Hans Pemmer his extensive collection of exhibits from the Prater the Vienna Museum , which allow the in an annex of the planetarium Pratermuseum instituted. Until 1972, a cinema, "Studio 2", was also operated in the planetarium.

The Pratersauna

In 1965, the Pratersauna was built between the exhibition grounds and the main avenue . It became a meeting place for the “semi-public”, including the Russian mafia, and at times served as a swingers club . In 2008/2009 it was converted into a “hot spot” with a discotheque while retaining the 1960s architecture and the outdoor swimming pool.

In 1970 one of the first sections of the Südosttangente , now the most heavily traveled motorway in Austria, was opened across the middle section of the Prater - a major intervention in the Prater's landscape structure. In the 1970s, private car traffic in the main avenue was largely stopped.

In 1981 the newly built underground line U1 reached the Praterstern. This connected the Prater to the emerging Vienna underground network.

The Vienna City Marathon has been running through Prater-Hauptallee every spring since 1984 .

In the years 1992–1998, the Danube power plant Freudenau was built near the southern tip of the Danube Island, which is now formed by the 2nd and 20th districts . The right Danube dam was raised; However, the dam is permeable, so that groundwater can continue to penetrate into the area of ​​the Prater. The groundwater level can be regulated by a system of injection wells , whereby the seasonal fluctuations of the water level are simulated. This led to a desired increase in the groundwater level. However, the groundwater no longer flows through the gravel and is therefore not filtered, so that the Prater waters are increasingly cloudy due to algal blooms. In 2007 a filter system was installed to reduce the problem.

The facilities on the exhibition grounds that no longer meet today's requirements were demolished in 2001. A new exhibition and congress center was built on the northern part of the site in 2001–2004, consisting of four halls, a few outbuildings and a prominent tower. The architect was Gustav Peichl , the costs of the city administration amounted to 192 million euros. A hotel and a multi-storey car park were built next to the exhibition center. The new building for the Vienna University of Economics and Business was built on the southern part of the site in 2009–2013 .

In the years 2005–2007 the Vienna Praterstern train station was redesigned. In 2008, the U2 underground line was extended from the city center to the Praterstern, the exhibition center and the stadium. From 2008, the Praterstern surrounding the station was also redesigned according to plans by Boris Podrecca . It was given a large awning to protect it from the weather and was equipped with various design elements; the cost was around 30 million euros.

At the Krieau U2 station on the northeastern edge of the Prater, an area called Viertel Zwei by the initiators was developed in 2007–2010 , which includes various office and residential buildings as well as a hotel. The total cost was 360 million euros.

The Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) was housed in the University Center Althanstrasse in the 9th district from 1992–2013 . Since 2009, a new WU campus has been built on the southern part of the former exhibition center. The entire business university moved here in the summer of 2013. The campus is located immediately southwest of the halls of Messe Wien. It consists of a large number of buildings grouped around a central “Library and Learning Center”. There are 65,000 m² of publicly accessible open space in the area. The construction costs of the WU campus were projected at 518 million euros.

The Prater today

Relaxation on the arena meadow

Today the Prater is a popular excursion and recreation area. There is a very large number of sports facilities scattered all over the Prater, including: for soccer, baseball, land hockey, tennis, golf, disc golf on the Prater Parcours , running, horse riding, swimming, bowling and skateboarding; in winter, cross-country skiing, tobogganing and ice skating are possible.

The green area of ​​the Prater has been reduced in many places over time (see Pratercottage ), a development that continues unabated today. About 3.1 km from the Praterstern, the six-lane city ​​motorway A23 , known as the south -east bypass, has been crossing the main avenue and the Heustadelwasser in an elevated position since 1970 . The most frequented motorway in Austria today was led over a previously particularly quiet part of the Grüner Prater.


Sign forest in the main avenue

The core area of ​​the Prater is a car-free zone, as is the second quarter . The streets in the peripheral area as well as the street Meiereistraße – Stadionallee are available for private motorized traffic.

The north-western part of the Prater, especially the Wurstelprater, is within walking distance of the Praterstern with the underground lines U1 and U2 , all lines of the S-Bahn main line , the tram lines 5 and O and the bus lines 5B and 80A.

The northern part of the Prater is served by the underground line U2 (stations Messe-Prater , Krieau and Stadion ) and the bus lines 11A and 82A. The central part of the Prater is (as of spring 2013) served by the S80 S-Bahn line (Praterkai station) and the 77A line; it crosses the main avenue in the course of the Stadionallee, then serves the northeastern edge of the Prater and has its terminus at the Lusthaus at the end of the main avenue. Lines 79B and 80B go to the southern part of the Prater. The south-west edge is reached in the north and middle part of the line 80A, which runs on Schüttelstrasse.

From the west, tram line 1, coming from the 1st and 3rd district, leads over Rotundenbrücke and Rotundenallee to Hauptallee. (The Rotunda once stood on the Kaiserallee branching off there; today the University of Economics and Business is located here .) The 4A bus line from the Karlsplatz subway junction also runs through the Rotunda Bridge and has its terminus there.

Within the Prater, the Liliputbahn runs from the Wurstelprater near the Praterstern via the Schweizerhaus – Luftburg and Rotunde stops to the Stadion station . The tourist train runs in the Wurstelprater .

Meadows in the Prater

The order corresponds to the distance from the Praterstern.

f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates of the section meadows in the Prater : OSM

picture Name and coordinates Origin of name Area (m²) Remarks
Kaiserwiese Kaiserwiese
9000 1895 to 1901: Venice Theme Park in Vienna ; 1916: War exhibition in 1916 in the Vienna Prater ; today: from March to autumn as a lawn for sunbathing, then as an event area, e.g. B. for the Wiener Wiesn festival ;
Circus meadow Circus meadow
The Circus Gymnasticus of Christopher de Bach was 1808 to 1852 at this point. 30200
Spenadlwiese Spenadlwiese
Jesuit meadow Jesuitenwiese
This area belonged to the Jesuit order until 1773. 112000 From 1773: parade ground ; before the First World War: event space for folk festivals; today: Playground with tobogganing hill and the KPÖ's annual Volksstimmefest since the Second World War .
Arena meadow Arena meadow
Water meadow Water meadow
Birch meadow Birch meadow
Golf field Golfwiese (Austrian Campaign Riding Society)
The name Golfwiese is derived from the sport of golf that was once played here. 83350 From 1901 to 1939 the playground of the Vienna Golf Club. The Prater Disc Golf course has been located here since 2013 .
Ant meadow Ameiswiese
Fire station Fire station
Grafenwiese Grafenwiese
Lusthauswiese Lusthauswiese or Großenzersdorfer Wiese
After Lusthaus , 1781-83 by Isidore Canevale built

Waters in the Prater

The order corresponds to the distance from the Praterstern.

f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates of the section of waters in the Prater : OSM

picture Name and coordinates Origin of name Area (m²) Remarks
Constantine Pond Constantine Pond
Konstantin zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst - was involved in the construction management of the 1873 World Exhibition that took place in the Prater. 4882 The Constantine Pond was previously used for boat trips. The Konstantinsteg, which was opened in 1873 and is now a listed building, is structurally the oldest still existing bridge in Vienna and leads across the Konstantinteich to the Constantine Hill.
Rose varnishes Rosenlacke
Upper Heustadelwasser Upper Heustadelwasser
The Heustadelwasser was originally an arm of the Danube, which became an inland waterway through the development of the Prater. It is named after a former hay barn on Lusthausstrasse that was set up to feed the red deer. 45005
Lower haystack water Lower Heustadelwasser
By extending Hauptallee in 1866/67, the haystack water was divided into an "upper" and a "lower" one. 17377
Pleasure house water Lusthauswasser
The Lusthaus located at the western end of the Lusthauswasser . 13269 At the beginning of the 20th century, the pleasure house water was still called the Old Danube Canal .
Mauthner water Mauthnerwasser
The Adolf Ignaz Mautner & Sohn brewery once used the ice that was broken from the pond to cool its beer cellars . 10726 The Mauthner water was declared a natural monument in 1976.
Crayfish water Crayfish water
4817 At the beginning of the 20th century, the crayfish water almost reached as far as the Ostbahnbrücke , today only the eastern end at the Grünhaufenbrücke is left. It was declared a natural monument in 1976.


The Prater plays a prominent role in numerous works of entertaining literature:

- chronological -

The Prater theme has also been taken up in the comics literature:

Literature (selection)

- chronological -

Films (selection)

  • Prater. A cinematic feature section in three parts. Documentary film series in approx. 44 min., (1st historical , 2nd Grüner Prater , 3rd Wurstelprater ), Austria, 2016, script and directors: Peter Grundei, Roswitha Vaughan, Ronald Vaughan, production: Vaughan Video, ORF , series: Myth of history , first broadcasts: from March 1, 2016 on ORF III , summary by 3sat, ( memento from February 24, 2017 in the web archive ). Trilogy on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Prater.
  • My prater. Television reportage, Austria, 2017, 47:09 Min, written and directed. Franz Gruber, Andreas Dorner, production: Südkino, Servus TV , Row: Servus reportage life , first broadcast May 5, 2017 at Servus TV, Summary of prater .at. Showmen show and tell about their stalls in the Prater.

See also

Web links

Commons : Wiener Prater  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Note: The plan contains numerous errors. A correct map of the Prater can be found on OpenStreetMap
  2. Certificate No. 373 in: Heinrich Appelt with the assistance of Rainer Maria Herkenrath and Walter Koch (eds.): Diplomata 23: The documents of Friedrich I. Part 2: 1158–1167. Hanover 1979, pp. 236–237 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )
  3. ^ Andreas Faessler: Prater, 2nd district . In: , with photos, accessed on January 5, 2020, as well as
    Elisabeth Schuster: The Etymology of Lower Austrian Place Names . Band 3: place name N to Z . Association for regional studies of Lower Austria, Vienna 1994. From: Remaraweng Boarisch  […] •  Prater . In: , accessed on January 6, 2021.
  4. Thursday April 7th. In:  Wiener Zeitung , April 6, 1707, p. 2 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  5. Avertissement. In:  Wiener Zeitung , April 9, 1766, p. 8 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  6. a b message. In:  Wiener Zeitung , May 18, 1771, p. 6 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  7. Ferdinand Opll , Peter Csendes (ed.): Vienna: The early modern residence (16th to 18th century) , Volume 2 of the trilogy Vienna: History of a City , Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-205-99267-9 , P. 31, full text online in: .
  8. ^ June 6th in Vienna's city chronicle. In:  Kleine Volks-Zeitung , No. 155/1943 (LXXXIX. Year), June 6, 1943, p. 6, top right. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / kvz.
  9. ^ Circus Bach in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  10. Feuilleton. Legal monuments of the Vienna Prater. In:  Juristische Blätter , year 1892, August 21, 1892, No. 34/1892 (XXI. Year), p. 405, center left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / jbl.
  11. Daily news. (…) Recently, negotiations (…). In:  Die Presse , No. 187/1852 (5th year), August 10, 1852, p. 3 (unpaginated), bottom left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / maintenance / apr.
  12. Compare conversation with Alfred Niel: From day to day - book "Wiener Eisenbahnvergnügen". In: ORF  / Österreichische Mediathek , September 30, 1982, 30:34 min .: therein the first Austrian test track for a railway in the Prater "around 1825", from 5:54 min.
  13. ^ Eva Maria Mandl: The drama around the Tiergarten am Schüttel, 1863-66 . In: , December 16, 2010, accessed January 5, 2020.
  14. ^ Tassilo Blittersdorff : Building in the river - the regulated Danube. ( Memento from February 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: Quer - Seiten für Architektur und Urbanes , 2011, No. 3, edition Architektur im Fluss , Vienna.
  15. The German shooting festival. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Abendblatt, No. 1403/1868, July 27, 1868, pp. 1–4, unpaginated. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  16. Little Chronicle. (...) Construction plans for the third German federal shooting. In:  Wiener Abendpost. Supplement to Wiener Zeitung , No. 36/1868, February 13, 1868, p. 142 middle. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz.
  17. ^ Moritz Hinträger , architect: Buildings for the III. German federal shooting in Vienna. (With drawings on sheets 21 and 22). In: Rudolf Sonndorfer (Red.): Journal of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects , 1868, No. 11–12, (20th year), ZDB -ID 2534647-7 . Waldheim, Vienna 1868, pp. 207–211 as well as plans 20 ff. - full text online , (PDF; 10.5 MB).
  18. Liliputbahn in the Prater . In: , 2017; accessed on February 24, 2017.
  19. Martin Fuchs, Marcello La Speranza, Karl Pischl, Liliputbahn im Wiener Pater - a railway celebrates its 70s , self-published, Vienna 1998, 18 pp.
  20. ^ Alfred Niel, Wiener Eisenbahnvergnügen , Jugend und Volk, Vienna / Munich 1982, ISBN 3-224-16012-8 , p. 73.
  21. Ingeborg Haas, Der Wiener Prater , Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2010, ISBN 978-3-86680-099-1 , p. 27.
  22. Schubert Zentenar Celebration 1928 - German Singing Brothers . (PDF; 1.2 MB) In: , November 2011; accessed on February 24, 2017.
  23. The largest school playground in Austria. In:  Wiener Zeitung , 1928, No. 235, (CCXXV. Year), October 10, 1928, p. 5, bottom center. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz.
  24. Headquarters for sports equipment rental and sports ground maintenance (ZSSW): Birkenwiese national playground . In: , and 180 ° panorama of the Birkenwiese , accessed on January 6, 2021.
  25. APA : "50plus" is celebrated at the Vienna Prater reactor . In: Der Standard , March 6, 2013.
  26. Peter Sehnal, Vienna's green arena, the Prater , Folio Verlag, Vienna / Bozen 2008, ISBN 978-3-85256-449-4 , p. 14 f.
  27. Information brochure: 100 projects Vienna. In: City of Vienna, Municipal Department 18 - Urban Development and Urban Planning (MA 18), Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-902576-32-3 , (PDF; 132 p., 41.6 MB), p. 24; Record.
  28. Information document: 100 projekte wien der MA 18, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-902576-32-3 , (PDF; 132 p., 41.6 MB), p. 28.
  29. Information document: 100 projekte wien der MA 18, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-902576-32-3 , (PDF; 132 p., 41.6 MB), p. 27.
  30. a b Frisbee target throwing: Prater Vienna Disc Golf Parcours. In: , January 1, 2019.
  31. Julia Schilly: Party area. After “Wiener Wiesn”: Mud battle over the Kaiserwiese in the Prater. In: The Standard . October 24, 2014, accessed January 4, 2020 .
  32. Sonja Soukup: The Kaiserwiese for Everyone - record number of visitors in 2014. In: Prater Wien GmbH , October 24, 2014, accessed on January 5, 2020.
  33. Hans Pemmer: The Prater . Jugend und Volk, Vienna and Munich 1974, pp. 73 ff .; limited preview in Google Book search.
  34. ^ Prater - circus meadow of the city of Vienna. In: , accessed on January 4, 2020.
  35. The Vienna Prater. In: City of Vienna , accessed on January 4, 2020.
  36. ^ Jesuitenwiese in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  37. Prater - Golfwiese of Vienna. ( Memento of August 8, 2017 in the Internet Archive ). In: , accessed on January 4, 2020.
  38. ^ Krieau golf course. In: Freudenauer Kulturverein. Retrieved August 8, 2017 .
  39. ^ Vienna Archive Information System (WAIS) - Tectonics: Historical Atlas of Vienna, evidence plans for land use approx. 1941–1945. In: City of Vienna. Retrieved January 6, 2021 .
  40. City map of "Wien Umweltgut": Waters and Soil. In: City of Vienna and Standing water Vienna on .
  41. General city plan 1904. In: Retrieved August 9, 2017 .
  42. Josef Vornatscher: The pleasure house water declared a natural monument. ( Memento from August 10, 2017 in the Internet Archive ). In: Mikrographische Gesellschaft Wien , 1977, (PDF, 10 p., 4 kB), p. 3.
  43. City map of "Wien Kulturgut": Historical landscape development, 1912. In: , accessed on January 5, 2020.
  44. ^ Heinz Sichrovsky : Asylum of the poorest . In: Arbeiter-Zeitung . Supplement 1. Vienna April 17, 1981, p. 8 ( The website of the Arbeiterzeitung is currently being redesigned. The linked pages are therefore not available. - Digitized version).

Coordinates: 48 ° 11 ′ 40.4 ″  N , 16 ° 25 ′ 48.2 ″  E