Located in a large, wooded park called the "Prater", the Vienna Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) is one of the symbols of the city. It was originally erected in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.
Unfortunately, in 1944 during World War 2, the original Ferris Wheel was burnt to the ground. However, in the following year, it was rebuilt exactly as it was before.
Before boarding, visitors are led through an exhibit that details the history of Vienna back to Roman times using elaborate props and audio guides.
During the slow rotation of the wheel, visitors get the chance to take in Vienna from all angles.
The Vienna Riesenrad is open all year around, and is very well connected by public transport.
Tickets can be purchased at the attraction itself, or online at its website where a discount can be obtained by booking it in conjunction with other attractions such as the Vienna Zoo, Spanish Riding School or the Donauturm.
Vienna Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) Reviews
I've been to the Riesenrad and enjoyed it. My family is from Austria and I enjoy Vienna immensely. I'd like to clear up some very common confusion about the Riesenrad; while it is currently the oldest Ferris wheel in the world, it is NOT the first one. That honor goes to the even bigger Ferris Wheel built in Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair. It was designed by George Ferris who was born in Galesburg, IL and lived in Pittsburgh. This wheel had 36 cars that held 60 people each. It was taken down in 1894 and moved to the north side of the city until 1903 where it was the center piece of an amusement park. It was then again disassembled and brought down to St. Louis for the 1904 World's Fair. It stood for a while longer after that, then it was sold off as junk metal and what remained was blown up with 200 pounds of dynamite.
This in no way detracts from the Riesenrad. It is a beautiful structure. I wish though that ALL the cars would be replaced as it only has 1/2 the cars that it originally had. Definitely worth the visit. It is a great example of how Austrians keep nice things around and how Chicagoans throw nice things away.
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