Vienna, 20th District: Brigittenau
The Brigittenau or the 20th district covers the northern corner of the "matzo island", the former Jewish ghetto. Ironically, many Viennese still view the Brigittenau as some sort of ghetto; one third of the approximately 80,000 residents were not born in Austria, most of the immigrant population comes from Turkey and the Balkan. Real estate is cheap in Brigittenau, street crime on the other hand higher than average.
Furthermore, Brigittenau is an exceptionally watery district - some 21 percent of the surface is not land, but canals, parts of the Danube and the Donaukanal. The ports and waterways of the Brigittenau shape the district quite a bit, it has an industrial atmosphere in various parts.
There are also many new commercial buildings that have created lots of office space in recent years. This includes most importantly the "Millenniums Tower", one of Vienna′s few skyscrapers. Otherwise, sightseeing opportunities are very limited. There are a few churches, such as the Brigittakirche, the Kirche zum Göttlichen Erlöser and the St. Johann Kapistran-Church.
Brigittenau: Welcome to the Ghetto!
The only museum in the Brigittenau is the one dedicated to the history of the district. Here you can learn about the Monastery of Klosterneuburg, which owned the area since the 11th century. The first time the Brigittenau was actually mentioned in a document was in the 13th century; at this time, only fishermen, hunters and a few farmers lived here.
The area became a battleground during the first Turkish siege of Vienna in 1529, again during the 30-years′-war, when Swedish troops conquered the Brigittenau - and again during the second Turkish siege in 1683. Later, the district became a suburb and with the rise of industrialisation, the population density increased dramatically. The Brigittenau and the local Nordbahnhof station were home to the first railway in Austria that was operated with a steam engine - in 1837, remarkably late if you compare this to England or even Germany.
WWII led to some very serious destruction in all of the 20th and the 2nd district (the two districts that make the island), and left the Brigittenau with the task of reconstruction. It was rebuilt - in concrete with all its 1960ies ugliness. This is probably the main reason why it became such an unpopular area to live in.
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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)