In den Prater! 13 bizarre & fascinating Prater facts you didn’t know - Vienna Würstelstand

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In den Prater! 13 bizarre & fascinating Prater facts you didn’t know


2. That exotic animals shows, including trained monkeys who would perform in a monkey theatre, mostly mimicking human behaviour, were a big entertainment attraction for the crowds back in the day.


3. That there was a magic theatre at which ‘ghosts’ would scare the hell out of the public – a kind of olden day horror film, we guess.


4. That the public used to go there to witness human spectacles (also known as human freak shows) like a lady missing her abdomen, a strongman, ‘giants’ and ‘midgets’ and a bearded lady named “Julia Pastrana”.


5. That it was the site of ground-breaking technological feats, like some of the world’s first flying experiments with hot air balloons. Did you also know that women played a major role amongst the ballooning pioneers? And of course, another of the technological feat continues to spin to this day – the mighty Prater Riesenrad (ferris wheel).


6. That it was the ultimate and main escape from daily life in the city, where all kinds of people would go to enjoy all kinds of entertainment, from prostitution to family fun.


7. That it once housed a little Venice – complete with water canals, gondolas, bridges and replicas of Venetian buildings.


8. That during the revolution of 1848, when the workers and bourgeoisie rose up against the aristocracy in Vienna, it was the site of a huge, bloody battle.


9. That it was a highly anarchic space back in the day: it was the only place in the city where the rich and the working classes and poor would come together in the same space.


10. That several Coffeehouses, similar to the still standing Lusthaus, once lined the Prater Hauptallee. From the coffeehouse gardens, the poorer classes would observe the rich, strutting their stuff on the boulevard.



11. That the Wurstelprater got its name from the Wurstel (or Kasperl) puppet theatre that’s still running to this very day!


12. That the Lilliputbahn (a mini train that still encircles the Prater) once had display cases with some very, let’s say, odd themes to them (like the one below) lining the tracks to entertain passengers.


13. That a guy named Buffalo Bill once visited and entertained a crowd of 20,000 with his army of 200 ‘Indians.’ This is one example of the exotic, ethnographic exhibitions at which the Viennese would witness the life of the so-called ‘savages.’


Many of the photos, paintings and prints included in this article were supplied by Wien Museum.

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