Track, Vienna, News
Dive into the bustling life of Augarten park and the Karmeliterviertel district, if you want to be really Urb.
- Dogs allowed
- Plant life
- Places for sports + games
- Children's play areas
Challenge: 1 (sandal)
Route: Augarten, Karmeliterviertel and Schwedenplatz
Start point: Muttergottes in Augarten 1200 Vienna, 14 Gaußplatz (rectory)
Coordinates: 48°13'33.75"N, 16°22'13.33"E
Public transport: 31, 5A > Gaußplatz stop (2 minutes by foot to the start point)
Armed with bowls, left over from playing Boccia on a 1979 holiday, the Urbs head off for Augarten. After playing a few games on the ‘Lindenallee’ promenade, we pitched camp on the lawn by the flack tower, and listened to the music provided by the nearby buskers. The thing that makes this park unique is its many different faces. There is the motley collection of architecture, the places for playing games, lawns, stalls, Bunkerei and the Atelier Augarten with its range of cultural events, for the cosmopolitan visitors to enjoy. As the track carries on we dive into the Karmelitenerviertel, to discover the faded traces and actual signs of life of the Jewish population of Vienna. Let's go!
The tour begins at Gaußplatz, from where the Pfarre Muttergottes im Augarten church can be seen. Go into the park through the gate in Wasnergasse, and go straight ahead, past the first flak tower (the gun tower), and along the Obere-Lindenallee promenade. Level with the Bunkerei pub, go left onto the gravel path (Quer-Kastanienallee) then follow your nose till the second, squarish flak tower, (the lead tower).
Now follow our map, or blaze your own trail, through the wooded part of the park, to the east corner. This is where the former Atelier Augarten's sculpture park is. After taking a look, take Saal-Allee (a wide gravel path that heads south), past Palais Augarten, with its porcelain factory, to the park's main exit.
Now we are heading into the Karmeliterviertel. After leaving the park, turn left into Obere Augartenstaße, and walk along till Große Sperlgasse. The Vienna Crime Museum is here at number 24, and Haidgasse comes soon after, and leads to the right to the market at Karmelitermarkt. After walking through the market, and then crossing Leopoldgasse, you end up going through Karmelitergasse to the Leopoldstadt district museum (at No. 9) and to St. Josef in Karmeliterplatz square. Now either carry on through the little alleys of the district, or through Lilienbrunngasse, passing Dianabad and CityBeach (on the bank of Donaukanal) to Schwedenplatz.
If you exclude the Palais Augarten, of the boys choir fame, the most impressive buildings in the park have to be the flak towers. The two towers, which were plonked down in the oldest baroque gardens, and given the codename ‘Peter’, consist of a lead tower and a gun tower, which at 55m was the tallest in the Third Reich. It contains 13 stories in all, which were mostly occupied by weapons companies and the Radiowerke AG company. On the 11th floor there were gas seals, shower rooms and decontamination facilities. Paradoxically, the gun positions on the roof could not be used, as the enemy flew far above their range. The lead tower is also enigmatic, because it is unusual for a bunker to have such windows. Which begs the question, why were the towers really built? Propaganda?
COLOURFUL KARMELITERVIERTEL - THANKS TO THE JEWS
It was once called Jagdinsel [Hunt Island], and was first settled around 1430, after a bridge was built connecting it to Vienna's gates. The area gained in importance because of the antisemitism of the 17th century, when the entire Jewish population was relocated from behind Vienna's walls to the ‘Judenstadt’ ghetto – which is now Karmeliterviertel. Leopold I also tried to expel them, but because of a change in the law, they came back, and a rich, Jewish artistic and cultural life came into being. The Nazis destroyed all this in 1938, and only a few survivors were able to return home afterward. Today, about 30% of Viennese Jews live around the Karmeliterviertel, and it's thanks to them that this district still retains something of its wonderful Jewish character. “Thanks already!”
April – October: 6am until no later than 9pm
November – March: 6:30 till 5:30
Porcelain Factory Guided tours: Monday till Friday around 10am
1020 Vienna, Palais Augarten
1020 Vienna, 9 Karmelitergasse
Wednesday: 4pm – 6.30pm,
Sunday: 10am – 12noon
Culinary and cultural delights in the flat bunker
1020 Vienna, 1a Obere Augartenstraße
Wie die Tiere.
Crime Thriller set in the Augarten park, by Wolf Haas
Rowohlt, ISBN 978-3-499-23331-9
Info from Vienna City-Synagogue
1010 Vienna, 4 Seitenstettengasse
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