Vienna, 22nd District: Donaustadt
Similar to neighbouring Floridsdorf, the 22nd district or Donaustadt is cut off the main city through the Danube. Even the Romans had divided the area into Cis- and Trans-Danubia, and the division through the mighty river affected the development of the area throughout the centuries. Donaustadt is widely ignored by international visitors of Vienna.
It is a primarily residential area with a few sightseeing attractions, but little appeal for those who stay only shortly. Nevertheless, Donaustadt is one beast of a district with more than 100 square kilometres that make approximately 25 percent of Vienna. Population-wise, there are some 140,000 people that call Donaustadt home - almost as many as Salzburg.
The Northern parts of Donaustadt are properly urban with highways, a business district and huge (and hugely depressing, too) apartment blocks. The Alte Donau is the only attraction as a recreational area. The Southern parts of Donaustadt include the outskirts of the National Park Donauauen. Here you find the Nationalparkhaus Lobau, a visitor centre. 60 percent of the district are green, almost one third of Vienna′s meadows can be found in Donaustadt - unsurprisingly, this is twinned with a suburban flair that many people including myself don′t find very charming.
Some History of Donaustadt
Historically, Donaustadt is constituted of eight villages and their surroundings. The only one that is well-known in Austria is Aspern, which served as a battle ground in the war of the Habsburg Empire against Napoleonic France. Archduke Karl fought a victorious battle, only to be devastated a few weeks later in the Marchfeld - the two battles cost ten thousands of lives and led to dramatic changes in the Central European division of powers.
Today, the "Museum Aspern-Eßling", a sub-section of the Wien Museum, commemorates the Napoleonic Wars. There is also a smaller museum in the "Schüttkasten", a crucial strategic point during the battle.
Other sightseeing attractions of Donaustadt include the Donauturm, the highest building of Vienna. It was built in 1964 and is 252 metres high. Adventurous people can do some bungee jumping from a platform on it. More gentle-minded individuals will prefer the flower beds and garden exhibitions of the Donaupark - the park surrounds the tower and was built the same year for an international exhibition of horticulture.
Donaustadt Sightseeing: UNO, Malls, Highways
Just around the corner, you will find the UNO City, the Vienna branch of the United Nations. It was built in the 1970ies and is tremendously ugly - which means that it blends well into its surroundings: Office towers, depressing apartment blocks and highways. The Andromeda Tower is just next to the UNO City, the highest in a group of modern office tower. They are all cold and uninviting, but at least not as ugly as many of the 1970ies buildings nearby.
Further attractions include the Donauzentrum, the biggest shopping mall of Vienna (woo-hoo!) and other useless things. More interesting is the Gänsehäufel, a traditional lido by an old side-branch of the Danube. Here you also find the neighbourhood of Kaisermühlen, famous in Austria due to a very popular TV feature set here. Both Kaisermühlen and nearby Kagran are traditional labourer′s neighbourhoods where you still find a typically Viennese working class pride.
For biological delights (which is what I call attractive), go to the Lobaumuseum, which was founded in 1972 to provide information on the delicate eco-system of the Donauauen. It might be a bit strange to find a power plant not far from it (the Donaukraftwerk Freudenau), but it makes a great entry point to the National Park nonetheless.
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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)