Vienna, 18th District: Währing
Vienna′s 18th district of Währing is best known from the Gürtel Area - which is funny, since this is the worst area of Währing. In general, the 18th district has a reputation for being rather up-market in terms of real estate, many doctors live here and work in the traditionally "medical" district Alsergrund (the 9th district on the other side of the Gürtel). Währing is a predominantly residential district with a high population density and some 45,000 residents and has fairly few sightseeing attractions to offer.
One sunny summer Sunday, I decided to go to Währing to check out the Jewish cemetery - the biggest of its kind in Vienna, and due to religious rules to preserve graves in some sense the oldest. All I saw, however, was a high wall with some barb wire on top, it is not open to the general public. There are two nice churches worth checking out: The Währinger Pfarrkirche and the Weinhauser Pfarrkirche.
Much more attractive, however, are two extensive parks: The Pötzleinsdorfer Park was built in English landscape style in the 19th century. It is the biggest park of this style in Vienna and you have to go to Laxenburg to find a bigger English-style park in Eastern Austria. It has a section with sequoias, a hilltop with nice views on Vienna. Note the Geymüller-Schlössl, a villa just outside of the Pötzleinsdorfer Park. It is a sub-branch of the Museum of Applied Art and dedicated to some interior designs and was part of an estate that belonged to a Viennese banker and entrepreneur. Another very large park of Währing is the "Türkenschanzpark" ("Turkish trench park").
Währing: Rudiments from the Turkish Sieges
The name is self-explanatory: It occupies the site of a Turkish trench, which the Viennese found and "conquered" following the defeat of the Turkish invaders in 1683. Today, it is one of Vienna′s most extensive and in my opinion prettiest parks. Literally just outside the Türkenschanzpark, you find the the "Universität für Bodenkultur" (BOKU), once a university for agriculture and horticulture. Today, the BOKU has developed a very wide focus and covers research fields related to biology, business, veterinary sciences, sociology and god knows what.
When I worked for the Austrian public broadcast, I interviewed a professor there, with whom I discussed the seemingly bizarre fields practiced there. I had thought that "agricultural meteorologists" were the best - until I learned that the BOKU employs a research group of "forest economists" ("Waldökonomie").
The buildings of the BOKU are one of a few sites, and were built in the 19th century. They are the main "campus" and nice to work in, but not interesting in the sense of sightseeing. There are a few more parks in Währing, such as the Schubertpark or Währingerpark. It occupies the site of a former cemetery - a Christian one, thus not religious obligation NOT to transform it into a park and walk you dog on. Around the BOKU campus, you will find the Cottage Viertel, a neighborhood of 19th century villas.
Other Attractions of Währing
The residential flair of Währing also led to an obvious lack of large-scale entertainment venues. With this in mind, it is worth noting that the Volksoper was founded in 1898, when this part of the Alsergrund was still part of Währing. Originally, is was a popular stage for common people, mostly with productions of the Wiener Volkstheater by playwrights such as Nestroy, Raimund or Anzengruber. Later, it turned into an opera stage and still is one of three in Vienna. Today, there are only a few small backyard stages. South of the BOKU main campus, you will find the Universitätssternwarte, a 19th century star observatory of the University of Vienna.
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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna's Districts
District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margareten) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)