To the north, the Augarten borders on the Northern Railway line while to the south it faces the so-called Karmeliterviertel ("Carmelite quarter" (de)). To the northwest and northeast of the park, its wall marks the boundary to the 20th district of Vienna, Brigittenau.
The park-ground is designed in French Baroque style with an elaborate flower garden landscape and impressive, shady avenues of chestnut, lime, ash, and maple trees. As it is common with most public park-grounds and gardens in Vienna. Entrance to the Augarten is limited to daytime activities as its five gates close at sundown (signaled by a siren).
The Augarten hosts a variety of facilities such as the Wiener Sängerknaben (the Vienna Boys' Choir) in the Palais Augarten, the Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur ("Augarten Porcelain Manufactory"), Augarten Contemporary (part of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, the Austrian Gallery housed in the Belvedere), the hiv Austria, a retirement home, a Jewish campus, a children's pool, and sports fields.
There are also two places to take meals or snacks in the park, the Bunkerei (partially housed in an old bunker) and those belonging to the Filmarchiv, as well as two catered establishments, one of which is in the Atelier Augarten.
The Baroque park, the palace, and the remaining part of the original wall of the Augarten, dating from the early 18th century, have been listed since 2000.
In 1614, Emperor Matthias had a small hunting lodge built in what was then called the Wolfsau, at the time a flood plain ("Au" is an Austrian and southern German term for a riparian forest or flood plain). Around 1650, Ferdinand III bought up the area around the nearby Tabor, an initial outpost before the final approach to Vienna's city walls. He established a formal Dutch garden and expanded the hunting lodge to a small mansion. In the 1660s, Leopold I acquired the adjacent gardens from the noble Trautson family and had it transformed into an all-comprising pleasure park ground. In 1677 he converted the Trautsons' garden mansion into a small palace (a so-called Lustschloss), to which he gave the name "Imperial Favorita". Later on instead of this one the name "Old Favorita" became established.
1683 was a bad year for Vienna and the Augarten: during the course of the Turkish siege the grounds and buildings were destroyed in their entirety, with exception of some parts of the walls . Not earlier than 1705 were the gardens and the palace restored under Emperor Joseph I. The garden palais built at this time is now the headquarters of the [Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur] (Augarten Porcelain Manufactory), the second oldest porcelain manufactory in Europe. A few years later, in 1712, the new regent Charles VI gave order to the landscape architect Jean Trehet- also responsible for the creation of the gardens as well at Schönbrunn as at the Belvedere - for to realize new plans concerning more complexion of the whole park ground and this in French style. Today's Augarten is still basing on this.
After the opening of the Vienna Prater to the public in the year 1766, the Augarten was likewise opened on 1 May 1775, by Joseph II. On this occasion nightingales were settled and hunting of them was strictly forbidden. The entrance at that time was still guarded by the military, whilst inside the park ground war invalides and other handicapped people maintained order. The inscription Allen Menschen gewidmeter Erlustigungs-Ort von Ihrem Schaetzer ("A place of amusement dedicated to all people by their Cherisher") can still be read at the main gate to the Augarten which leads to the Augarten Palace. In order to meet the high promises of this credo, dining-rooms and dance halls, refreshment places and billiard rooms were established and for all of them the traiteur Ignaz Jahn was responsible as host.
During the disastrous inundation which afflicted Vienna from February 1 to March 1 of 1830, the entire Augarten was overflooded. height of waters was 1.75 meters over ground (roughly 5.7 feet). Two memorial plaques, one of them on the inner side of the main portal and another one at the gate to Castellezgasse, Both act as reminders of this disastrous event. With the regulation of the Danube from 1860 to 1870, the Augarten became separated from the danube river and this forever. The former riparian forest and the plain changed now to a cultivated landscape, which was no more endangered by any overflooding .
Between 1934 and 1936, the then Federal Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg was living in the Palais Augarten.
During the second world war, military authorities had the idea to select the Augarten as one of several places to erect massive buildings for antiaircraft defense (flak towers) and to use them to protect the inner city from Allied bombing. During summer of 1944 the construction of a tower with platformes for antiairkraftguns with a height of 55 meters (roughly 180 feet) and nearby also a conductions - tower with a height of 51 meters (roughly 167 feet) was begun but not finished, Theirs presence in the middle of the park remains will probably last for ever and remain integrated ugly part of the Augarten. The labours due to the construction of the towers (amongst other things 16 lines of rail tracks), also huge barracks for labourers, etc.) were a high price paid by devastation of the park. Moreover during the war hundreds of cubic meters of rubbish were dumped on the site whilst armoured vehicles criss-crossed the garden and - as it is supposed- common graves were dug for hundreds of war victims.
Today with the deplorable exception of the virtually indestructible flak towers and the bunker (in which a restaurant is housed) nothing from this dark period remained.
As early as 1772, so-called Morgenkonzerte ("morning concerts") were conducted or played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These took place in the Garden Hall of the Palais Augarten, but the house was also used for many other festivals and concerts. The morning concerts were for a time conducted exclusively by Mozart himself, then alternated between different conductors until 1795 when the management of the concerts was transferred to the famous violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Ludwig van Beethoven also had several of his works performed under the direction of Schuppanzigh.
In the years 1820 to 1847, the 1st of May concerts also took place in the Garden Hall, where mainly works by Johann Strauss (father) were presented. Works by Franz Schubert were also performed here. He gave concerts there as early as the late 18th century and his music served the amusement of the people for the celebrations both during and after the Congress of Vienna.
Since 1998, the meadow in front of the battle tower is home (in the summer months of July and August) to an open-air cinema by the name of "Kino Unter den Sternen" ("Cinema Beneath the Stars").
In the southernmost part of Augarten, so-called Augartenspitz (Augarten's point) the Vienna Boys' Choir organization built a concert and multi-purpose hall since 2010, which was officially opened on 2012-12-09.
The hall, designed for 400 seats, is called MuTh, which stands for Musik und Theater, music and theatre. Its name is also an allusion to German Mut, courage. On December 14th–15th, 2012, there was a performance called "Kongress über Mut", "Congress on Courage".
In fact there was not very much courage needed to set up this building, although citizen's initiatives had heavily protested since 2006. They hardly had had any chance opposing the sponsor of the hall, which was the prime contractor as well. Even the official reviewer who was needed to allow for this building on this special site (which had been declared cultural heritage in 2000!) was allied to the contractor.
Objectors call this a scandal, but the building is sure to become the third 'somewhat strange' manmade object in Augarten, the two others being the two battle towers which were built during WW_II.
Facilities in the Augarten
Since 1948, the Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys' Choir) have been headquartered at the Palais Augarten. In addition to a boarding school exclusive to the singers there are also a kindergarten and a private elementary school which are open to musically inclined children of both sexes. The administration is currently planning the construction of a concert hall in the Augarten, which was a topic of heated debate until summer of 2008 as the new building saw the demolition of the baroque "Gesindehaus" (part of the former servants' quarters) at the corner of the park. After protests, a new design has been created to accommodate the building with the concert hall being moved a few meters away.
The Augarten Porzellanmanufaktur (Augarten Porcelain Manufacturer) has its headquarters in the former Garden Hall of the Augarten. The production facility remains here as well. Augarten was the premium brand of Viennese porcelain, nearly as famous as the world-renowned Goldscheider ceramics manufactory which was managed by the Goldscheider family.
The studio of the artist Gustinus Ambrosi was established in 1995 inside the formal English garden. In addition to a large sculpture garden there is also the Gustinus Ambrosi Museum, dedicated to the artists’ work. The former house and studio are known today as the Augarten Contemporary, a branch of the Österreichische Gallerie Belvedere.
Since 1997, the Filmarchiv Austria has been housed in revitalized buildings previously designated as the cooks’ quarters, stables, and general side buildings and outhouses.
The Haus Augarten, a senior citizens home, opened in the grounds of the park in 1975. Directly next to it is the Café Haus Augarten.
The Lauder Chabad campus, constructed in 1998, houses a pre-school, a kindergarten, a primary and middle schools, and a nursery. In addition, the campus has its own teaching academy and a synagogue.
Further facilities include:
- Gen III Flak and Leader Towers.
- Four sports fields, used particularly by students intensively used, especially since many schools do not have their own sports facilities.
- A family swimming pool, the use of which is free to children and adolescents under the age of 15, and to which adults may only gain access as chaperones or parents (€2).
- A small church, the parish of Mother of God.
- Numerous playgrounds.
- A football cage.
- Several free table tennis tables.
- Two zones for dogs.
- Several reserve gardens for the raising of plants needed for garden design and maintenance.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Augarten.|
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