Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Vienna: the Wiener Prater and the Hundertwasser House

Prior to visiting Vienna, a little of our research was watching the classic Orson Welles film of Graham Greene's The Third Man, filmed in the war damaged city in 1948. Of course there aren't piles of rubble everywhere now, but the iconic ferris wheel still stands in the Wiener Prater. This area of the city is now a large park - partly green space with sports facilities and walking/jogging trails and partly a funfair with dozens of terrifying-looking rides. Fortunately Dave and I think similarly about being flung upside-down dozens of feet up in the air so we stayed firmly on the ground while everyone else screamed above us!

I was a little disappointed by the lack of street art in Vienna. The city is built on a grand scale and has glorious avenues of impressive buildings, but mostly lacks the little streets and alleys where guerrilla artists hone their work. There are unexpected public sculptures though and I liked this army of bird boxes - Warten auf Vogel IV (Waiting for Birds IV) by Josef Bernhardt. It is part of an Art For All initiative which has artworks installed in odd locations. This one is on a wide street corner in an unassuming neighbourhood.

Most fun is an inventively decorated apartment block known as the Hundertwasser House after the artist who designed it, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He worked with architects Josef Krawina and Peter Pelikan to create a wonderfully quirky structure. The Hundertwasser House is actually a residential building so visitors aren't allowed to go wandering around inside, but we loved being able to see the outside. Fab details include mosaiced pillars and an undulating cobbled street on which several selfie-taking tourists struggled to balance!

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