• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Nazi-era building filled with sharks in Vienna
Costa Rican hammerhead shark. Photo: Barry Peters - Flickr

Nazi-era building filled with sharks in Vienna

The Local · 9 Mar 2016, 23:43

Published: 09 Mar 2016 23:43 GMT+01:00

The guns that were on the steel reinforced concrete structures fell silent and were removed many years ago, but the buildings themselves were so strongly made that it was not easily possible to demolish them.

And so they remain, haunting the city’s skyline, where they became known as the Grey Elephants, the giant remnants of the Nazi’s last line of defence against Allied troops that still tower above Vienna’s streets.


Photo: CEN

The 170-foot-high concrete flak towers are now so much a part of the city that many admit they do not even notice them. Most are now as they were at the end of the war, empty and deserted.

But for the flak tower in the Mariahilferstrasse, it has been converted into a multipurpose structure that includes the huge aquarium, a climbing wall, a zoo and now a spectacular panorama restaurant.

The hammerhead shark tank containing 150,000 litres of water is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular attractions, but it also includes the overhead crocodile pool which puts visitors coming in through the entrance of the building underneath a crocodile enclosure.

In other parts of the flak tower are further aquariums. The crocodile pool is surrounded by a humid jungle fitted into a converted greenhouse on the side of the flak tower. And on the outside, climbers can be seen scaling to the top, peering in through the greenhouse windows at the exotic wildlife and plants inside.


Photo: CEN

The flak tower was built at the location because of the clear view it had of the sky but that now gives the new "Ocean Sky" restaurant an event location with an unrivalled view of the area as well. And of course to get to it, it involves passing by the aquariums and other exotic creatures kept in the former flak tower several levels below.

With a combination of natural attractions and now the restaurant at the top, the "House of The Sea" (Haus des Meeres) is a tourism magnet with over 570,000 visitors a year.

Manager Hans Koppen said: "Many of the guests that come to the restaurant or to events here have never visited our attraction before. It's a great combination and the great thing is we notice that they sometimes then come back with their families or friends."

Story continues below…

Story courtesy of Central European News

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Baby hospitalised after licking discarded drug packet
Emergency services transfering the baby to hospital. Photo: ÖAMTC

A baby is in intensive care in Austria after licking a piece of foil thought to have drugs on it while out for a walk with her parents.

Brits help to give tourism in Vienna a boost
Wien Tourismus/Christian Stemper

Vienna is going through a tourism boom at the moment after seeing significantly more tourists in the first half of this year.

Armed robber evades police capture in Vienna
LPD Wien

An armed thief who robbed a jewellers in Vienna managed to slip away and evade capture despite police surrounding a hotel he escaped into.

Austria and Hungary meet to discuss refugee policy
Refugees cook dinner at the Hungarian border with Serbia. Photo: UNHCR/Zsolt Balla

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is travelling to Budapest today for talks with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban over refugee policies.

Human trafficking gang busted in Europe
Photo: LPD Salzburg

Austrian police said Monday that an international operation has smashed an alleged people-smuggling ring suspected of illegally bringing more than 1,000 people from Hungary into western Europe over the past year.

Fireman discovers son's death on call out
Unterstinkenbrunn, near where the accident happened. Photo: Gemeinde Unterstinkenbrunn

A fireman called out to fatal car crash tragically discovers his own son was among those killed.

The best cycle routes in and around Vienna
Photo: YouTube/Hanse3Official

Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular way to get around Vienna and the city has plenty of cycle paths to explore.

Austrian phone addicts taught how to cross the road
Sascha Kohlmann/Creative Commons

Pedestrians offered workshops to remind them how to cross the road without looking at their phones.

Border security tightened after Munich massacre
File Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austria has "significantly" tightened security measures along its border with Germany and put an elite police force on high alert following the Munich mall attack, a government security chief said Friday.

Rampage shocks Munich leaving nine dead
Photo: Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de

Elite German police were hunting for gunmen who went on a shooting rampage at a busy mall in Munich, killing eight people in cold blood in the third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
2,485
jobs available