- Wiener Riesenrad
- Wiener Riesenrad Dr. Lamac GmbH
- Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien - Austria
- +43 1 7295430
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The Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel, also known as the Wiener Riesenrad, is an iconic landmark and one of Vienna's most famous attractions. It has a rich history that dates back over a century.
The construction of the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel began in 1896 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph I's ascension to the throne. It was designed and built by the British engineer Walter Basset, and the wheel was manufactured by the company W. Somerset and Co. in England. The original location for the Ferris wheel was the entrance of the Wurstelprater amusement park in Vienna's Leopoldstadt district.
The Ferris wheel was completed and inaugurated on July 3, 1897. At that time, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, reaching a height of 64.75 meters (212 feet). The wheel featured 30 wooden cabins, each capable of accommodating up to 30 passengers. These cabins were richly decorated and provided a luxurious experience for visitors.
Throughout its history, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel has witnessed various significant events. During World War II, it suffered severe damage from bombings and was almost destroyed. However, due to its historical and cultural significance, it was rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1947.
Over the years, the Ferris wheel underwent several renovations and upgrades. In the 1980s, the original wooden cabins were replaced with modernized steel cabins, increasing the passenger capacity and improving the safety standards. The wheel also received a fresh coat of paint and various technical improvements.
Today, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel stands 64.75 meters tall and consists of 15 cabins, each accommodating up to 15 people. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of Vienna's cityscape, including landmarks such as the Danube River, Prater Park, and the historic center. The Ferris wheel has become a symbol of Vienna and a popular tourist attraction, attracting millions of visitors each year.
In addition to its historical significance, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel has been featured in numerous films, including "The Third Man," a classic British film noir from 1949. Its iconic silhouette and nostalgic charm continue to captivate people, making it an enduring symbol of Vienna's cultural heritage.
- Construction and Inauguration: The Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel was constructed in 1896 and completed in 1897. It was built to celebrate Emperor Franz Joseph I's Golden Jubilee, marking his 50th year on the throne.
- Design and Engineering: The Ferris wheel was designed by the British engineer Walter Basset, and the manufacturing was done by the company W. Somerset and Co. in England. It was one of the earliest Ferris wheels to be constructed.
- Height and Dimensions: When it was first built, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel stood at a height of 64.75 meters (212 feet), making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at that time. It originally had 30 wooden cabins, each accommodating up to 30 passengers.
- Symbol of Vienna's Industrialization: The Ferris wheel served as a symbol of Vienna's industrial progress and modernization during the late 19th century. Its construction was seen as a testament to Austria's technological advancements.
- Survival through World War II: During World War II, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel suffered extensive damage due to bombings. Despite being near destruction, it was rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1947, emphasizing its cultural and historical significance.
- Renovations and Upgrades: Over the years, the Ferris wheel underwent several renovations and upgrades. In the 1980s, the original wooden cabins were replaced with modern steel cabins, enhancing passenger capacity and safety features.
- Cinematic Icon: The Ferris wheel gained international fame when it appeared in the classic British film noir "The Third Man" (1949). The film's iconic scenes, featuring the Ferris wheel and its surroundings, have contributed to its enduring popularity.
- Landmark and Tourist Attraction: Today, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel is a major landmark in Vienna and a popular tourist attraction. It offers panoramic views of the city and continues to draw millions of visitors annually.
- Wheel Illumination: The Ferris wheel is illuminated by thousands of light bulbs during the evening hours, creating a stunning visual spectacle. The lighting design has been updated over time, incorporating modern technology and energy-efficient LED lights.
- Cultural Heritage: The Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel holds great cultural significance for Vienna and is considered an important part of the city's heritage. It represents the nostalgia of a bygone era and has become an enduring symbol of Vienna's charm and history.
These historical facts highlight the significance and enduring appeal of the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel as a historical and cultural landmark in Vienna.
The height of the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel is approximately 64.75 meters (or 212 feet) when it was first built. This measurement refers to the overall height of the structure, including its central axle and the topmost point of the wheel. It's worth noting that the Ferris wheel's height may have been subject to minor changes over time due to renovations and upgrades. However, the original height of 64.75 meters remains a significant characteristic of this iconic attraction.
In popular culture
The Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel, with its iconic silhouette and rich history, has made appearances in popular culture, particularly in films and literature. Here are a few notable examples:
- "The Third Man" (1949): The Ferris wheel is featured prominently in this classic British film noir directed by Carol Reed. It serves as a backdrop for several key scenes, including a dramatic confrontation between the film's main characters.
- "Before Sunrise" (1995): In this romantic film directed by Richard Linklater, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel is showcased as one of the main attractions that the two protagonists visit during their magical night in Vienna.
- "Ring of the Nibelungs" (2004): This television film, based on the Norse mythology epic "Nibelungenlied," includes a scene set on the Ferris wheel, adding a touch of fantasy to the story.
- "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation" (2015): The Ferris wheel appears briefly in this action film as part of a high-stakes sequence involving the film's protagonist, played by Tom Cruise.
- Literature: The Ferris wheel has been mentioned in various works of literature, such as Graham Greene's novel "The Third Man" (on which the film was based) and Robert Seethaler's novel "A Whole Life," where it is used as a symbol of Vienna's history.
Apart from these specific instances, the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel's distinct appearance and historical significance have made it a popular subject for photography, artwork, and general references in popular culture. It continues to capture the imagination of both locals and visitors and remains an enduring symbol of Vienna's charm and heritage.