2016 is a major anniversary year for the Prater: Emperor Joseph II. opened the former hunting grounds to the public 250 years ago.
The Emperor’s proclamation went out on 7 April 1766: “It is hereby announced to all […] that henceforth and from and now, everyone without distinction shall be permitted to walk, ride and drive freely in the Prater and the Stadtgut at all times of the year and at all hours of the year […], and that nobody shall be barred from enjoying themselves with balloon hitting, bowling, and other permitted entertainments to their liking […].” – Thus did the six square kilometer hunting ground of the Habsburgs become an entertainment and recreation area for all residents of Vienna.
The huge World Exhibition was held here in 1873. The Giant Ferris Wheel was erected in 1897 to mark the 50th year of Emperor Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne. As part of the festivities in the Prater, showmen were allowed to set up their tents and booths.
Events during the anniversary year
The 250th birthday of the Prater will be celebrated with a range of events:
- 16 March – 18 September 2016: Exhibition “Entertainment between Prater and city. Ways to pleasure” at the Jewish Museum Vienna
- 31 March – 31 December 2016: Exhibition “Wunderwelt Prater. 250 Jahre Wiener Prater” (Prater Wonderworld. 250 years of the Prater) at the Circus & Clown Museum Vienna
- 29-31 October 2016: Halloween festival with parade and DJ line-up
- 19 November 2016 – 8 January 2017: Winter Market and New Year’s Eve in the Prater