The Prater in Vienna

Hauptallee in the Prater

The Prater in Vienna is the expansive area close to the city centre where the Viennese go for recreation. Due to regulation of the Danube and extensive use of the park for recreation activities, relatively little remains of what was once a vast river basin used as the imperial hunting ground; today the area offers a wide variety of open areas, ranging from natural riparian landscape to city park. Most of the trees both in the Vienna Prater and the Krieau are what is left of the woods that grew up on the "heaps", the islands that used to exist in the Danube.


Following regulation of the river from 1871 to 1875, the entire area has undergone a dramatic change due to a lowering of the groundwater level. The construction of a weir here will bring about further changes. This municipal outdoor collage includes the "People's Prater", the main avenue with its adjoining landscapes, the fairgrounds, the Freudenau, the Krieau, the pleasure pavilion, the Heustadel pond, the Jesuit Meadows and the Prater Museum in the Planetarium near the Giant Ferris Wheel. The pleasure pavilion was built from 1781 to 1783 according to plans by Isidor Canevale, after which it was opened to the public in 1765. A wide variety of traditional entertainment possibilities are still available in the People's Prater.

The flat racing track in the Freudenau, which has been a racecourse since 1862, was designed by Carl von Hasenauer and was extensively remodelled from 1885 to 1887 to plans by Anton and Josef Drexler. The harness racing track in the Krieau was laid out in 1878, with an architecturally interesting grandstand designed by Emil Hoppe and Otto Schönthal added between 1911 and 1913.

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City of Vienna | Parks and Gardens
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