Fan with the Rotunda

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Fun facts on the Vienna World's Fair

1,000 metric tons of steel, sheet metal, plaster, and wood

The rotunda of the Vienna World's Fair was the largest domed construction in the world, having a diameter of 108 meters and weighing an incredible 1,000 metric tons.

1873 World's Fair: The rotunda with the south portal
© Wien Museum

May 1, 1873

In 2023, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Vienna World's Fair. The official opening date was May 1. It was also the first World's Fair not to have been held in London or Paris.

53,000 exhibitors

The Vienna World's Fair was officially opened on May 1. 53,000 exhibitors from 35 countries took part.

Original venue of the time

Where the World's Fair site with the legendary rotunda were located 150 years ago is today home to the super-modern Messe Wien, the Vienna University of Economics and Business, and Viertel Zwei.

220,000,000 liters of the finest spring water

For 150 years, 220,000,000 liters of water a day have flowed via the First Viennese Mountain Spring Pipeline from the Alps to the city, and supply the Viennese with freshly cooled Viennese water.

Aqueduct First Vienna Mountain Spring Pipeline, Vienna Water Liesing
© WienTourismus/Lisa Edi

Lobmeyr presented itself at the time

Lobmeyr is celebrating its 200th birthday in this year – back in 1873, the traditional Viennese company and other Viennese handicraft companies presented themselves at the Vienna World's Fair.

194 pavilions

194 pavilions were built for the Vienna World's Fair in the styles of the various countries, including China and Persia.

World Exhibition in Vienna, Photo: Department of China and Persia
© Wien Museum

40 day trips

40 day trips would have been needed to visit all of the pavilions.

Soy comes to Vienna

During the 1873 Vienna World's Fair, Japan presented the soybean to the western world for the first time. It was discovered by the agronomist Friedrich Haberlandt, who saw in it the solution to feeding the population. But there are also many more interesting facts about soy in Vienna.

Friedrich Haberlandt
© Volkskundemuseum Wien

1873 in 25 pictures

The 1873 Vienna World's Fair was the first event ever to have been fully documented in photographs. Click here for the World's Fair in 25 pictures

124,500 passengers a day

No fewer than six new train stations were built for the 1873 World's Fair. At a stroke, Vienna became a central European railway hub. The impressive Nordbahnhof Wien (here in around 1870) was a much visited sight and stood until 1965. The Südbahnhof was built in 1874. Today, it is the site of the ultra-modern Vienna Main Station, a hub for 1,067 trains and 124,500 passengers daily.

Historic photograph of Vienna's Nordbahnhof
© Wien Museum

25,572 medals

25,572 medals were awarded in various categories at the Vienna World's Fair, including for good taste! Some of the medals can still be seen at Scheer the shoemakers today.

Johann Strauss Jr.

Johann Strauss Jr. shaped the 1873 Vienna World's Fair in musical terms: He composed the "Rotunda Quadrille" specially for this unique event. "Wiener Blut" and "Die Fledermaus" also appeared in the same year.

Photo: Rotunda fire
© Wien Museum

250 firefighters

More than 250 firefights battled against the fire when the legendary rotunda burned to the ground in 1937. The cause of the fire remains unexplained to this day.

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