Türkenschanz Park is one of the biggest parks in Vienna with an area of 150.000 m2 located in the 18th district, on a historic and ferocious place. Its name comes from the designation for the area derived from the historical Turkish entrenchments found on the site. Today, it is a sanctuary for all Viennese who want to retreat from the busy city life.
The park was opened in 1888, on the spot where the old entrenchment of the Ottoman Empire military was located. In the Second Siege of Vienna, the Ottoman Empire forces with their vassal and tributary states have besieged the city of Vienna for two months in the summer of 1683. They dug up the trenches around the city, and one of these trenches was located at the spot where today the park is located. Although the toponym refers to the Second Siege of Vienna that took place in 1683, the name of the area could be found in the topographical representation from 1649, where this area was noted as "Türkenschanz". Presumably, the name goes back to the First Vienna Turkish siege, but there are no descriptions or clues.
A long time after the siege, the area remained undeveloped. It consisted mostly of cornfields and meadows, and even sand and gravel for Vienna were mined here for centuries. It was not until 1885 that the park was laid out in the style of English landscape gardens. Türkenschanz Park was opened in 1888, by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Since then, it is one of the most beautiful and most visited parks in Vienna. At that time, the park lied outside of the city borders. At the opening ceremony, Emperor Franz Joseph noted that it was his wish that the "physical unification" of the suburbs and the city of Vienna take place. Indeed, the establishment of the park has sparked the development of the area. Very soon, around the park, a so-called Cottageviertel (cottage quarter), one of the most prestigious and most expensive residential areas of Vienna today, was established. One can find many old villas and noble houses here, as well as quiet lanes full of trees and green areas.
Türkenschanz Park is known for its interesting and rare botanical plants, which are extremely picturesque features in the undulating landscape. In cooperation with the neighbouring University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, numerous botanical rarities from all continents were planted in the park. An uncommon makeup of the landscape is another of the park's appealing features. Hills are interspersed with meadows and meandering paths. There are several ponds located in the park. In addition to ponds, streams and fountains, there are a number of monuments in the park. In 1991, the Yunus Emre fountain was unveiled, donated by the Turkish ambassador as a sign of Austro-Turkish friendship. A large playground makes the park also a great place for children.
Türkenschanz Park is an oasis built at the once ferocious place. Nowadays, it is the perfect sanctuary to rest and enjoy nature in the heart of Vienna's 18th district.
Cover picture © Credits to iStock / haideri
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