Park, huge old building in the background

Description of the Park

The Rathauspark was intended as a city park for Viennese residents. In 1863 Emperor Franz Joseph I eliminated the parade ground that existed at the site and commissioned city gardener Dr. Rudolf Siebeck to design the park. The park Siebeck designed had few formal features to create an intentional contrast with the austere, monumental buildings in the vicinity (Burgtheater, University, Parliament, City Hall).

By the time the park was opened in 1873, two park sections had been completed: the north park adjacent to the university and the south park adjacent to the parliament. The two sections are almost symmetrical, divided in the middle by a wide square like an avenue leading to the City Hall. The square is used all year round for various events, such as the traditional Christmas market, winter skating and summer outdoor cinema. It is also a hub for political demonstrations such as the 1982 and 1983 peace demonstrations and the annual First of May demonstrations.

The two grassy areas are crossed by meandering paths and dotted with dense groups of trees and shrubs. The park derives much of its character from the highly varied selection of woody plants, some of which are exotic, such as a Japanese pagoda tree or umbrella tree (Sophora japonica) and an old ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), and from the fact that the park is extensively used.

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City of Vienna | Parks and Gardens
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