The Wiener Prater is a large public park in
Vienna's 2nd district Leopoldstadt. The name Prater derives ultimately from the Latinword "pratum" meaning meadow, possibly via Spanish "prado". The term Prater is often used to mean the Wurstelprater amusement parkwhich stands in one corner of the Prater and includes the Riesenrad.
The area that makes up the modern Prater was first mentioned in 1162, when Emperor Friedrich I gave the land to a noble family called de Prato. The word "Prater" was first used in 1403, originally referring to a small
islandin the Danubenorth of Freudenau, but was gradually extended to mean the neighbouring areas as well. The land changed hands frequently until it was bought by Emperor Maximilian II in 1560 to be a huntingground. To deal with the problem of poachers, Emperor Rudolf II forbade entry to the Prater. On April 71766, Emperor Joseph II declared the Prater to be free for public enjoyment, and allowed the establishment of coffee-houses and cafés, which led to the beginnings of the Wurstelprater. Throughout this time, hunting continued to take place in the Prater, ending only in 1920.
In 1873, a World Exhibition was held in the Prater, for which a large area of land was set aside, centred around the Rotunda, which burnt down in 1937. This land now houses the "Messegelände" (exhibition centre).
2004, major renovations to the Wurstelprater began, and a new underground railway line was finished and brought into service on May 11, 2008, which includes three stops along the Prater (see Vienna U-Bahn). The railway station Praterstern has been in operation for a long time and is only a few dozen meters away from an entrance to the park.
The overall area of the park has also been reduced by the building of the
Ernst Happel Stadion(Austria's national stadium), the "Südosttangente" (Austria's busiest piece of motorway) and racecourse.
Other attractions in the Wiener Prater
The "Hauptallee" (main avenue) is the main artery, lined with horse chestnut trees, closed to motorists and known to sports enthusiasts from the annual Vienna Marathon. The Wiener Prater is home to the "Liliputbahn", a narrow gauge
railway. Another unusual object to be found in the Wiener Prater is the "Republik Kugelmugel" (Republic of Kugelmugel), a spherical micronation. The Wiener Prater also houses a planetariumand the Prater Museum.
* [http://www.praterservice.at/ Official Prater site]
* [http://www.liliputbahn.com/ Liliputbahn miniature railway]
* [http://www.wienmuseum.at/frameset.asp?submenu=3&page=http://www.wienmuseum.at/1433.htm Prater Museum]
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