Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The giant ferris wheel (Reisenrad)...



One of the stops on Saturday morning was the Prater, Vienna's best known amusement park, which is just outside the center of the city. The only thing we did here was take a ride on the giant ferris wheel, or Reisenrad. It's different from most ferris wheels in that it has cars of about 4 feet wide and 10 feet long that you ride in. It was mostly destroyed by fire during WWII, but it was quickly rebuilt, and it offers a great view of the city.

From the web site aboutvienna.org:
The Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) was erected in 1897 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Empereror Franz Joseph I. The wheel itself spans 200 feet (about 60 m.). 15 cabins and the upholding structure weigh a total of 430,5 t and rotate at the speed of 0,65 m/sec.
In 1914 the Giant Ferris Wheel was the location of a sensational film stunt: Madame Solange d'Atalide managed to complete one round on horseback on top of one of the cabins. This would not be the only time that the 'Riesenrad' was featured in major films: The Third Man or Before Sunrise to name just a few.
In 1944, at the height of World War II, the Giant Ferris Wheel burnt down, but was rebuilt in 1945 - at the same time as St. Stephen's cathedral. The Viennese Riesenrad is the only giant ferris wheel of its time which is still in use today.




Sorry for the bad exposure, but I'll just blame the nice older couple (Austrian or German) who took the photo.




Here we are at the top of the ferris wheel looking at the next car.




A great view from the Reisenrad!

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