The “Türkenschanzpark” is one of the most beautiful landscape parks of Vienna. It was built on the site where the Turkish troops of Kara Mustapha Pasha had set up their entrenchment and fiercely tried to conquer Vienna in 1683 – hence the name Turkish Entrenchment Park or in German Türkenschanzpark – history tells us he failed.
Kara Mustapha Pasha who headed the Turkish army.
But let’s return to the park: Countess Pauline Metternich (1836 to 1921), granddaughter of Chancellor Klemens von Metternich (1773 to 1859) was a beautiful young Lady, firmly established in the cultural circles of fin-de siècle Vienna, and well loved for her innumerable social engagements. When the ‘Turkish Entrenchment Park” was built, she donated many of the rare botanic species to complete the English landscape garden. Here she is in her radiant beauty:
The observation tower inside the park, with a viewing platform at a height of 14 meters, was later renamed “Paulinenwarte”, in gratitude for the donations received by Pauline Metternich.
Right above the entrance gate you find a memorial plate, telling us about the opening ceremony of the park, which took place in the presence of Habsburg Emperor “Kaiser Franz Josef I” in the September of 1888. Engraved in golden letters are part of the Emperor’s opening words, expressing the hope that this area, which then was still outside of urban Vienna, would become part of the city one day. Two years later, in 1890 this wish was to become true.
Here is the Emperor, Franz Josef I.
The Paulinenwarte is situated on top of the highest point inside the park and additionally reaches up to almost 25 meters in height. Thus it offers a spectacular view over the surrounding area, and you can even see the City of Vienna in the distance.
The band of white squares offsetting the red bricks, is a rare sight and a special treat of Vienna’s snowy winter.
This is what it looks like inside the tower, a spiral staircase leading you up to the viewing platform:
Looking down inside the tower!
View on a Summer’s day towards South-West: On the distant mountain silhouette you may notice the golden roof of the Steinhof church, built by Otto Wagner, the famous Viennese architect. The church is inside a hospital complex for the mentally ill, and it somehow resembles a lemon, so people jokingly called it “Lemoniberg” or “lemon hill”.
Many of the construction elements of the Paulinenwarte are a mirror of the surrounding architecture of the Cottage district of Vienna. The stairs leading up to the entrance door of the tower, for instance, bear a great similarity to the ones inside the cupolas of the neighbouring University Observatory.
As you may notice, the stairs winding up to the entrance door to the viewing tower, are on the first floor. This is because the space underneath is housing a huge water tank, which was used for the irrigation of the precious plants inside the park. The tank is still there today!
You can visit the “Paulinenwarte” tower at one weekend per month between April and August each year.
For many years the Paulinenwarte had been closed to visitors, but luckily reopened in 2010 after years of costly restoration work.
Opening Times 2017:
22/23 April, 13/14 May, 10/11 June, 8/9 Juli, 12/13 August, 9/10 September
Saturdays 12 P.M. to 6 P.M. & Sundays 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. There is a 60 Eurocent entrance fee to the tower, kids up to the age of 14 are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. (Times may be subject to change according to weather).
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