Lusthaus Wien

The age of classicism started in the late 18th century. This was a period that followed the Baroque climax of Austria, an era of unprecedented development in the Habsburg Empire. The Classical Age, on the other hand, left rather few marks in Vienna. The second district or the Leopoldstadt has a few exceptions to this rule, as this region had been the Habsburg′s hunting grounds for centuries.

In the late 18th century, the so-called Prater area was opened up by Emperor Joseph II as a leisure ground for the general public in 1766. Several structures were built in Classical style. One of the better-known is the Lusthaus, a folly in the Prater area. It marks the historic end of the Prater Hauptallee, which starts at the Praterstern. That being said, the current Classical Lusthaus was predated by a much older structure.

Succession of Lusthaus buildings at Prater

The first Lusthaus can be tracked back to the year 1560, when a document refers to a "casa verde". This folly served as a simple lodge or resting place for hunting parties. This and the current Lusthaus were built by a side-branch of the Danube, which disappeared when today′s Donaukanal was built along its current course in 1834. Since then, the Lusthaus is in fact rather far away from the Donaukanal.

The Lusthaus was built between 1766 and 1781; the architect in charge was Isidor Canevale. The Lusthaus occupies the central spot on a square that is the meeting point of several roads. In this respect, it echoes the Praterstern. Soon the opening, the Lusthaus was at the centre of a leisure ground popular among aristocracy and nobility.

The Lusthaus played this role pretty much ever since; which short interruptions, such as the years of the Second World War, when it was home to a guard post that protected the nearby Donaubrücke bridge. I don′t know if it was bombed for that reason, but war destruction from bombs dropped in 1944 and 1945 forced the Lusthaus to close for a few years. It was renovated and re-opened until 1949. Today, the Lusthaus is home to a café and bar. Note the green surroundings and the nearby Galopprennbahn Freudenau

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