September 2012
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The Giant Ferris wheel of Austria is a 64.75 m is in Vienna, Austria.

The Giant Ferris wheel of Austria, which is also known as the Wiener Riesenrad (German for “Viennese giant wheel”), or Riesenrad is a 64.75-metre (212 ft) tall Ferris wheel which is in Vienna.

• It is located at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt.
• It was built over a hundred years ago.
• It has been updated on several occasions.
• During World War Two it was almost completely destroyed.
• The Viennese call the wheel the ‘Riesenrad’ and hold it in such esteem.
• It was one of the first structures/buildings to be rebuilt after its destruction during the war.
• Currently the wheel has over 750 000 visitors a year.
• The famous silhouette of the wheel can be seen from most parts of the city.
• It has become a trade mark representing Vienna.
• The wheel was originally constructed by a British engineer called Walter Basset.
• The overall weight of the steel structure is 430 tonnes.
• It stands to a height of 34.20 meters.
• The diameter of the wheel is 60.96 meters.
• From the top, the wheel gives an excellent view of Vienna.
• At night the wheel is grand with modern lighting effects and search lights.
• Each hour the giant wheel represents a giant clock of light.
• The lighting effects were created by the British light artist Patrick Woodroffe.
• This wheel symbolizes the district as well as the city for many people.

History Behind

• Lt. Walter Bassett Bassett (1864-1907), RN, builder of the Wiener Riesenrad.
• It was built and erected in 1897 by the English engineer Lieutenant Walter Bassett Bassett (1864-1907), Royal Navy, son of Charles Bassett (1834-1908), MP, of Watermouth Castle, Devon.
• Its purpose was to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.
• The Riesenrad was one of the earliest Ferris wheels ever built.
• Walter Bassett’s Ferris wheel manufacturing business was not a commercial success.
• He died in 1907 almost bankrupt.
• A permit for its demolition was issued in 1916.
• This was due to a lack of funds.
• It originally had 30 gondolas.
• It was severely damaged in World War II.
• When subsequently rebuilt, only 15 gondolas were replaced.
• The wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base.
• Its spokes are steel cables.

Height of the Wheel

• At the time of its construction in 1897, both the original 80.4-metre (264 ft) Ferris Wheel in the US (constructed 1893, demolished 1906) and the 94-metre (308 ft) Great Wheel in England (constructed 1895, demolished 1907) were taller.
• The 100-metre (328 ft) Grande Roue de Paris, constructed in 1900, was even taller still.
• Upon the demolition of the Grande Roue de Paris in 1920, the Riesenrad became the world’s tallest extant Ferris wheel.
• It remained so for the next 65 years.
• This was until the construction of the 85-metre (279 ft) Technostar in Japan in 1985.

Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel opening hours

• January 01 to February 28: 10:00am – 8:00pm
• March 01 to April 30: 10:00am – 10:00pm
• May 01 to September 30: 9:00am – 0:00am
• October 01 – 31:10:00am – 10:00pm
• November 01 to December 31: 10:00am – 8:00pm

• Adults: 8 Euro
• Children 3.20 Euro

Wiener Riesenrad
Prater 90
A-1020 Wien
Tel.: 0043 1 729 54 30

Places to see in and around Austria

1. Lake Constance
• This is a big lake situated in Vorarlberg.
• This lake is shared with Switzerland and Germany.

2. Kaprun
• This is a part of the Europa Sport Region.

3. Pinswang
• This is one of the most ancient settlements of the North Tyrolean Ausserfern.
• This is on the border with Bavaria.
• It takes a short walk or drive to the famous King Ludwig’s castles.

4. Salzkammergut
St. Anton
• This is a popular ski resort in Austria.
• This resort is on the Vorarlberg-Tyrolean border.

5. Thermenland
• This is one of Austria’s warmest lakes.

6. Zell am See
• This is one of the most important alpine tourist towns in Austria.

7. High Mountain National Park
• This is in the Zimmertal Alps.
• It peaks up to 3476m, narrow gorges and steep cliffs.

8. National Park Thayatal
• This park combines beautiful valley landscapes with a variety of castles and ruined fortresses.

9. Grossglockner
• The country’s highest peak is called Grossglockner.
• It is located on the border between Carinthia and the East Tyrol.
• Grossglockner High Alpine Road, with its gorgeous panorama’s is highly recommended to get a great view.

10. Villgratental
• At the feet of mountain peaks you’ll find luscious valleys.
• This includes Villgratental.

11. River Danube
• The river Danube created some beautiful valley landscapes.
• Here you’ll now find famous vineyards.
• Wachau and Dunkelsteinerwald in Lower Austra are fine (and protected) examples.
• The valley landscapes and hillsides are dotted with countless picturesque villages.

12. Historical places

• Austria boasts a wealth of majestic architecture and historic structures.
• It was long a centre of power in the Holy Roman Empire.
• Here you will find palaces and magnificent city architecture.
• Addition to these you will find grand cathedrals, monasteries and churches.

• This is the country’s capital and most popular destination.
• It is packed with Medieval and Baroque structures.
• Schonbrunn Palace with its 1441 rooms is the absolute highlight.
• Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is the oldest zoo in the world.
• The 12th century St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most prominent religious building.
• Salzburg combines delightful Alpine surroundings with a beautifully preserved historic center.
• Innsbruck, at the heart of Tyrol is a historical place. The Mariazell Basilica in Mariazell is one of the country’s most visited attractions and an important pilgrimage destination.

Murauer Bier
• The Murauer Brewery has a permament brewing museum.
• Turn up on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
• The tour includes the museum, brew house, a video presentation and a free Murauer beer or lemonade in any of their bars in the town.
• Price: 3€

Judenburg Sternenturm
• There is a (locally) famous planetarium.
• The town also has a town tower.
• It offers views of the entire area.

Burg Riegersberg
• This wonderfully preserved medieval castle is privately owned by the ruling family of Liechtenstein.
• Entry is cheap.
• The castle can be reached by walking up the original access path that winds its way through the castle’s defensive gates.
• There is a cable car which ascends the other side of the hill.

Zotter Chocolate
• Also near, Riegersberg is the Zotter chocolate factory.
• They make all their chocolate in an ethical and organic manner.
• The tour of the factory allows you to taste all of their varieties of chocolate (around 150).

Things to do there:

– Skiing and Snowboarding
– Cycle Touring
– Music
– Movies

• Most trails and mountain huts are maintained by the Austrian Alpine Club.
• Some are run by other equivalent organizations, such as the German, Dutch and Italian Alpine Clubs.
• Mountain huts are meant to be shelters, not hotels.
• During the high season (August), it’s a good idea to book in advance.
• Prices for the night are usually around 10-20€ (half for Alpine Club members).
• Meals and drinks are quite expensive.

Best time to visit / climate

– Austria has a temperate continental climate.
– Summers last from early June to mid-September.
– It can be hot in some years and rainy in others.
– Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region.
– In alpine region the temperatures often drop below -10° C (14° F).
– Winters last from December to March.
– In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer.
– The area around Vienna often experiences strong easterly winds.
– The high season is August.

Location on Google Maps

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How to Get To The Giant Ferris Wheel?

U-Bahn U1 Praterstern
Tram: 21

How to get to Austria?

1. By plane
• There are 6 airports in Austria with scheduled flights.
• The most important international airport is Vienna.
• This has connection to all major airports of the world.
• Other international airports include Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg.
• They provide domestic flights as well as connections to some European countries.
• Those airports are particularly popular with cheap airlines such as Ryanair.
• For traveling to the western states it is recommended to use the very close Munich airport.
• The most common airports to visit Vorarlberg are Altenrhein (Austrian), Friedrichshafen (Ryanair, Intersky) and Zurich (Swiss).
• If visiting Austria for winter sports, choose airport considering cost and duration for the whole trip (plane+transfer).

2. By Bus
Eurolines Austria has bus schedules from Austria to all major European countries and back.

3. By Car
From Germany
– Motorway A8 from Munich to Salzburg.
– Motorway A93 from Rosenheim via Kufstein to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
– E43 (A96) from Leutkirch via Wangen to Bregenz, Vorarlberg.
– E56 from Regensburg via Passau to Linz, Upper Austria.
From Italy
– Motorway A23 to Villach, Carinthia.
– E54 via Brenner to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
From Slovenia
– E652 to Villach,Carinthia.
– E57 via Spielfeld to Graz, Styria.

4. By Train
• The OBB (Austrian Railways) operate high-speed ICE and RailJet trains from cities like Zurich,Munich,Frankfurt, Passau, and Budapest.
• Eurocity trains are the next fastest trains.
• Regional trains called EURegio and simplyRegionalzug are also avialible from all 8 of Austria’s neighbors.

Austria & the Alps 2000 – 2007 DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria Frommer’s Austria

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

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Blogs / Sites about Austria – The Giant Ferris Wheel

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Images and photos of Austria – The Giant Ferris Wheel

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Videos of Austria – The Giant Ferris Wheel

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