Parks are very important in the sociology of a city. They are a place where rich and poor meet, where children learn through play, a chance to walk, meet or relax. But also for youth to escape their parents, to dance or play sport. And of course of nature and a connection to ecology. Vienna has many great parks - even a national park to get lost in - but Eugene prefers the more lively, social, fun-focused parks nearer the centre. Some people love Augarten, Prater, Schoenbrunn or the roses in Volksgarten. Eugene has two favourites: Helmut Zilk Park, for the diverse mix of people, watching the trains leaving Hauptbahnhof, the buzzy cafe and most of all the playground which is just as interesting to adults as children.
And then Tuerkenschanzpark. This West Wien hilly space, in the Cottageviertel, is full of different atmospheres, has great views, places to hide away, but also is very important for the social life of the district (Waehring). It is a fancy neighbourhood, for sure, with many embassies, but also a place for students at BOKU and Modul to hang out, an excellent Christmas market, and a research space into unusual tree species.
We will look on this tour at how child-friendly Wien is, what the Kaiser hoped to achieve when he opened the park with a live speech, in 1892, and why parks are so important to our city's identity. How did the park get its name, and which unusual trees can we find here. Which famous Viennese are commemorated with statues between the lakes?
On this spring walk, we also celebrate Vienna's beauty and openness. Eugene made this tour for the UN Committee to welcome new delegates to Vienna, in March 2022. It can be organised for any private group, including birthdays, Klausur or a day out for colleagues or children. We usually meet for coffee and cake in charming Cafe Salettl after the walk.
In UK, parks typically have a very different function, as a space where youth can do those things their parents might be disappointed with: loud music, smoking, drugs, sometimes fighting, kissing and more. Why are the Viennese so different?