Wiental: Wien River Valley - Part II
Sounds like Nature in Vienna, isn′t really

Throughout the centuries, the area around the Wien was often affected by floods; thus, it was rather unpopular and often used by mills and associated companies. Several measures were taken to fight the floods, mostly involving trees and stones as barriers for the riverbed. In 1862, there was a very serious flood and after the creek had withdrawn, a "master plan" was designed to fight the threat of floods. An artificial lake was built in Pressbaum in Lower Austria to serve as a reservoir - originally also for providing Vienna with tap water.

The river bed in Vienna was covered with concrete and forced into a defined "pipe". In 1874, there were plans proposed to built locks that would allow ships to use the Wien. However, Otto Wagner - in charge with the river training and flood protection measures - rejected the plans. Instead, after 1895 the river was covered between Pilgramgasse and the Stadtpark and the space of the river bed was used for an extension of the Stadtbahn train (today′s U4 subway line).

Original plans intended to cover it until Schloss Schönbrunn and make the Wiental a boulevard as an extension of the Ringstraße, thereby connecting the Kaiserforum (Hofburg, Natural History Museum, Kunsthistorisches Museum and Hofstallungen, today′s MuseumsQuartier) and Karlsplatz with the summer palace of Schönbrunn. The plans for both, Kaiserforum and boulevard were given up after 1900, mostly due to a lack of money and no need for even more pompous buildings in Vienna.

Wiental after WWI: The Valley today

After WWII, there were several attempts to build inner-city highways that would run along the main "lifelines" of Vienna: The Gürtel, the Donaukanal and the Wiental. They were abandoned in 1962, but traffic increased nonetheless. Today, the Wiental is reasonably attractive due to that. The immediate surroundings of the Wiental are - with few exceptions in Hietzing, Mariahilf/Margareten and Innere Stadt/Landstraße - either used for offices and commercial zones, or rather cheap places to live due to noise and fumes.

The area along the covered Wien between Pilgramgasse and Karlsplatz has become strangely popular in recent years; I like the neighbourhoods in principle, but only if you get beyond the main streets - which don′t appear to bother the Viennese. In 2005, the City of Vienna proposed definite plans not to destroy the remaining bits of green along the Wien. Instead, several small parks and recreational grounds were created, trying to add some life to the Wiental. Still not a Constable painting yet.

By the way: When "The Third Man" was shot (the movie, I mean, not Harry Lime), the locations in the underground-Wien were too small for chasing him properly. Therefore, the same sections were used for several scenes, applying different illuminations and filming in different angles. Since the movie was a rather successful one, the Wien has been used as a location for various other TV and movie productions, often directly referring to the Third Man.

Return to "Wiental Valley - Part I"

back to "vienna travel guide"


Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten) - 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

Official website of the Vienna Tourist Information

Wiental & Wien River on Wikipedia (German, but with pictures)