Konstantinhügel: Hill made of rubble
The Konstantinhügel is a hill in the Prater area of the Second District in Vienna, the Leopoldstadt. It can be found in the midst of what used to be the hunting grounds of the Habsburg courts, vast floodplain forests that were not accessible for the general public for centuries. Only in 1766, Emperor Joseph II decided to open the vast forests as recreational grounds for the population of a rapidly growing Vienna. Today, the Prater is still a recreational area and I never really understood its popularity; surely, the Prater is a pretty stretch of land in a city that otherwise lacks greenery. But it is far from being a natural landscape today – not even the National Park Donauauen would qualify as a natural landscape in my opinion.
One structure in the Prater illustrates this rather well: The Konstantinhügel ("Constantinian Hill"), the very subject of this article. The Konstantinhügel can be found south of the Prater Hauptallee between the two alley of Rotundenallee and Rustenschacherallee. The hill is artificial and was built in the late 19th century, when significant building activities changed the landscape of the second district forever: The Great Exhibition of 1873 required large buildings and the material that was removed from the area of today′s Messe Wien was piled up higher and higher. Until a hill was formed.
The new hill was named after Oberhofmeister ("Supreme Court Master") Konstantin Viktor Ernst, Prinz von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfürst (now that′s a business card) and was built in an area previously site of an enclosure where deer was kept. The nearby pond is called Konstantinteich; back in the 19th century, boats could be rented to paddle around on the lake. There was also a small café at this place that was rather popular for the longest time; sadly, it burnt down in 1977 and was never re-built.
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