Vienna Donauturm History and Functions

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Vienna Donauturm: the tallest structure in Austria

After the demolition of the Sendeanlage Bisamberg, the Danube Tower in Vienna has become the tallest structure in Austria. Among all towers worldwide (excluding skyscrapers, chimneys, and other kinds of structures), the Donauturm ranks in the 60’s. It is 252 metres tall and has an observation deck with 2 restaurants at about 160 metres. This of course makes it a popular target for foreign tourists and the locals alike.

Construction and opening of the Donauturm

The Donauturm, built in the early 1960’s, is to be credited to the main architect Hannes Lintl and the static Robert Krapfenbauer. The whole structure was built in 20 months and opened on 16 April 1964 on the occasion of the International Viennese Gardening Show.

The location was selected at the left bank of the Danube in the northern part of Vienna (22th district, Donaustadt), which was dynamically developing during that time. The United Nations complex (UNO City) neighbouring the Donauturm was built in the 1970’s.

Balloon accident at the Donauturm in 1968

Early in its history the Donauturm witnessed (and helped to cause) a horrible disaster. On the occasion of the meeting of Pro Juventute on 6 June 1968 four hot air balloons were launched from the area near the tower. Three of them passed the Donauturm safely, but the fourth one crashed into the tower at height of about 150 metres and after a while its gondola fell down to the ground, killing three people.

Donauturm as a tourist attraction

The Donauturm has been very popular and widely visited throughout its history – the annual number of visitors has been around half a million in the last years. They are primarily attracted to its observation deck, which provides a great view of Vienna. There are also two restaurants at the top and bungee jumping is available during the peak summer season.

Donauturm’s other functions

Though most visitors to Vienna realize mainly the role of the Donauturm as one of the greatest tourist attractions, the tower serves several other, mainly telecommunications, purposes. There are numerous broadcasting devices and antennas for mobile phone networks, smaller radio stations, and other radio communication services.

Contrary to popular belief, the Danube Tower is not a television broadcasting device. The primary TV transmitter for Vienna and a big part of Lower Austria is located on a 165-metre high steel tower on Kahlenberg – a hill several kilometres away from the Donauturm at the opposite bank of the Danube.