Augarten Park

Augarten Park (37)

With its 52 hectares, Augarten Park provides one of the greenest and most beautiful spots in the city. Created during the 17th century, it was remodelled in 1712 by Jean Tréhet and, by order of Joseph II, the same emperor who opened the Prater park for the enjoyment of the city's residents, the park was opened to the public in 1775.  

The harmonious calm of this quiet place is only disturbed by the presence of two horrendous blocks of concrete, the Flakturm. These towers were built by the Germans during World War II for both defensive purposes and to house antiaircraft batteries. Although they constitute an unpleasant memory for many Viennese, the towers have not been removed as demolition of their sturdy walls would require explosive charges that could damage the surrounding structures.

As for the park's attractions, here visitors will find the oldest Baroque garden in Vienna in addition to several buildings of considerable importance, such as the pavilion in which the Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten operates, a prestigious porcelain factory that has produced fine, subtly-decorated pieces of porcelain since the early 18th century. Visitors may be pleased to know that, in former times, equally subtle interpretations by musicians of the stature of Mozart and Beethoven were offered in this building for the enjoyment of the emperor's court.

The link between Augarten Park and music does not stop there, however, as the other two main buildings, the Augartenpalais and the Josephstöckl, built in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively, were originally owned by the emperor, but since 1948 are the home of the Wiener Sängerknaben, the famous Vienna Boys' Choir.

It would appear that the Augartenpalais, whose design is attributed to Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach, was used as a hunting lodge by Emperor Joseph II, but because of his frugal tastes, he ordered the Josephstöckl to be built in a far simpler style. Another illustrious tenant of the Augartenpalais was Chancellor Kurt Schusnigg, who lived in the building from 1934 to 1936. 

Unfortunately, visitors will have to settle for seeing these palaces from the outside, as public access is prohibited. However, if you purchase tickets well in advance, on Sundays you may be lucky enough to attend one of the wonderful concerts offered by the Wiener Sängerknaben in the Burgkapelle of the Hofburg Palace. Their excellent technique and impeccable repertoire based on the works of authors like Haydn and Schubert contribute to the excellence of the performances. 

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