The Weekend before the second lockdown, I went with a couple of friends, Austria guides, to explore the development of the Donau park in Vienna. The area that rises from ashes to the highest spot in Vienna.
During the walk on the cold November day, that Monika prepared, we’ve talked about the area that only sixty years ago was a landfill. Nowadays, it is an urban corner with the tallest building in Austria, the Danube Tower.
Around 50% of the city of Vienna is a green area. The city boasts numerous parks not only in the suburbs but also in the city center itself. A large part of these green areas is for free public use.
Donau park is an approximately 604,000 m2 large park. It lies between the “New Danube” and the “Old Danube” on an island between Leopoldau district and the districts of Floridsdorf and Donaustadt.
Until 1945, one part of today’s park was used as a training camp for military use. During the NS era (1938-1945) as a place of execution. Until 1963, one of the largest landfills in the city of Vienna was located here. In the time between the two world wars, about 100 families settled here. The last families left this area after the city of Vienna completely bought it and announced a complete reconstruction.
In April 1964, the Donau park was opened together with the Danube Tower on the occasion of the Vienna International Garden Show (WIG 64).
Donau park landmark, Danube Tower
The Danube Tower built as a symbol of modern Vienna with its 252 meters, is still the tallest building in Austria. Visitors can reach a partly open and partly glazed viewing terrace at a height of 150 meters in just 35 seconds. The Danube Tower also has a restaurant that revolves around its own axis, which offers a 360-degree view over the entire city.
A special delight is a trip with a Donau Park train in the 3.4-kilometer-long railroad. There are 3 stations and a travel time of about 20 minutes, it leads through Donau Park past flower beds and meadows. During the ride, you can discover different parts of the park, which can be explored by a subsequent walk.
Iris Lake has a diverse flora and fauna and offers many possibilities at nesting sites. The former lakeside restaurant on Lake Iris was converted into a Korean Culture House. Nowadays, it is partly under monumental protection.
Pope’s visits in Austria
In more the two-thousand-year history there have been only five pastoral visits to Austria. The first pastoral visit took place in 1782 when Pius VI traveled to Austria for negotiations over the reform policies of Emperor Joseph II.
The most visits to Austria made Pope John Paul II. He came to Austria in 1983, 1988, and 1998, and all three visits had the character of a pastoral trip. The last pastoral visit took place in September 2007, when Benedict XVI visited Heiligenkreuz Monastery, Mariazell, and Vienna.
On September 11, 1983, around 300,000 believers gathered for a mass on the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II in the Donau park. A 40-meter-high and 56-ton steel cross was erected for this purpose. Today it is a popular meeting place for numerous sports and leisure activities.
How to reach Donau park?
You can reach the Donau park easily by car, by bicycle or by public transport. With the U1 Line on the Alte Danube Stations or Kaisermühlen / VIC or with the Bus lines 20B, 90A, 91A, and 92A.
Travel. Explore. Discover.