Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater
© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

And it keeps on turning

1. Operated by hand – no joke! 

The two English engineers Walter Basset and Harry Hitchins designed Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel so that it can be operated by hand in the event of a power outage. 

2. Reaching for the sky at 64.75 meters 

Giant ferris wheels were all the rate throughout the world at the end of the 19th century. The Giant Ferris Wheel was built to mark the 50th jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph. At the time of its opening (21 June 1897), Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel was the tallest of its kind at 64.75 meters. 

3. The “gap-toothed" Giant Ferris Wheel

The Giant Ferris Wheel originally made its rounds with 30 cars. After the Second World War, however, only 15 were hung in place for safety reasons. This gave the people of Vienna the impression that the wheel had gaps in its teeth, in other words "gap-toothed".

4. The 430-ton beauty 

The Giant Ferris Wheel's metal components weigh around 430 tons altogether. So the old lady has some pretty good covering on her ribs. 

5. Need to find your way? 

The Giant Ferris Wheel is perfectly arranged in line with the four points of the compass and turns precisely in the north-south direction. When it turns, it serves as a very good aid for orienting yourself. 

6. And action! 

The Prater and in particular the Giant Ferris Wheel were and still are popular film backdrops. From classics like "The Third Man" (1949) to "James Bond 007 – The Living Daylights" (1987) and the coming-of-age story "Before Sunrise" (1995), there has hardly been a film that hasn't used the Giant Ferris Wheel as a secret leading actor. 

7. No sooner said than done 

And while we're on the topic of film: a restaurant was built in an instant at the base of the Giant Ferris Wheel for a scene in "James Bond 007 – The Living Daylights". This so impressed Vienna's residents that just a short while later, a restaurant really was built right on that spot! 

8. Dinner with a view

It doesn't get any more romantic: what about a candlelit dinner at lofty heights? No problem in Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel. Each course is brought out just as the car reaches ground level. 

9. Legendary stunt 

In 1914, a French trick rider rode around the Giant Ferris Wheel on a horse for a film. Huh? What? Yes, she stood with the horse on the roof of one of the cars. A sensation, then as now. 

10. 2.7 km/h

Gemütlichkeit is law in Vienna. Which is why the Giant Ferris Wheel also makes its rounds at a leisurely pace. With a top speed of 2.7 km/h, it takes about 4 minutes to complete one round, but only when it does so in one go, of course. On average, a ride takes about 12-15 minutes

Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad)

Prater, 1020 Wien
  • Vienna City Card

  • Opening times

    • daily, 10:00 - 22:00
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Automatic sliding doors   200  cm  wide )
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        at parking garage Ausstellungsstraße
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Access to all exhibition rooms and to the restaurant / café: no steps.
      Ramp for wheelchair, all special wagons of the Ferris Wheel are suitable for extra wide wheelchairs.

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