Wiener Riesenrad in Wien

Show Map

The Wiener Riesenrad (German for "Viennese giant wheel"), or Riesenrad is a Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria's capital Vienna. It is now one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, and symbolises the district as well as the city for many people.

The Riesenrad was one of the earliest Ferris wheels, erected in 1897 to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I's golden Jubilee. At this time it was the largest in the world with an overall height of 64.75 meters(212.4 ft).

The wheel originally had 30 gondolas, but was severely damaged in World War II. When it was rebuilt, only 15 gondolas were replaced. The spokes are steel cables, in tension, and the wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base.

A demolition permit for the Riesenrad was issued in 1916, but due to a lack of funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived.

The Riesenrad is not the only Ferris wheel in Vienna, but it is the largest. Since 1993, there is a second permanent Ferris wheel in the Prater with a diameter of 35 metres, called the Blumenrad. A further permanent Ferris wheel can be found at Bohemian Prater.

In popular culture

The Riesenrad famously appeared in the 1949 post-war film noir The Third Man, and also featured in the 1973 spy thriller Scorpio, and the 1987 James Bond film, The Living Daylights. It also appears in The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, Max Ophuls' Letter from an Unknown Woman and its Generation X counterpart, Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, and The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.

External links