Augarten, or the joys of Floodplain Park
There are many great parks in Vienna, but surely one of the most loved and most visited is the Augarten. Located in the heart of the 2nd district, this green oasis of manicured lawns and wild, untamed underbrush has long provided the residents of Vienna a place to relax and enjoy in the middle of the city. Before the park was built, this entire area was part of the Danube floodplains – hence the name of the park, which translates to floodplain (Au) park (garten). Back when the land still served this purpose, Kaiser Matthias built a small hunting lodge there in 1614, which was the first dedicated use of the land. Not long after, in 1650, Kaiser Ferdinand III had the area built into a park, which was expanded in 1712 to its current size of 52 hectares. It was subsequently opened to the public in 1775.
The Augarten has always been beloved, and quickly became a central part of Viennese social and cultural life. Such luminaries as Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and Schubert all played concerts in the Augarten in their time, and it was a popular place for the locals to gather and discuss the goings-on of the day. Today, the Augarten is Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, and has notably from the time it was opened to the public been intended not only as a green space in the city, but as a place that actively brings joy and serenity to the people who visit it – and in this we think it has succeeded! (C.G)