Vienna Prater celebrates 250 years as public park

Vienna's Wurstelprater amusement park kicked off on Saturday a series of celebrations for its 250th anniversary with a flower parade and traditional costumes.

Vienna Prater celebrates 250 years as public park
Waltzing in the Prater. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Despite chilly and overcast conditions, thousands of people enjoyed the spectacle of an old tradition, the flower parade, which was revived after a 17-year hiatus.

Beginning with waltzing from nearby dance schools, members of the public joined in, and were soon thrilled by the procession of horses and carriages, old-timer cars and assorted characters in period costumes.

Vienna's Prater park was originally a hunting ground reserved for nobility, until Emperor Joseph II declared it as a place for the public on April 7th, 1766.

Soon after, the Prater became a place where coffee houses and games could take place, as well as sports and picnics.  Hunting continued right up until 1920.

One of the many beautiful carriages adorned with flowers.  Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Those with an interest in philately would be keen to learn that Austria's Post Office issued a special commemorative stamp, marking the 250 years.  

The stamp features Vienna's iconic Riesenrad Ferris wheel, which has run since 1897.

New stamp issued to mark 250 years of the Vienna Prater.  Photo: Paul Gillingwater