Monday, March 8, 2010

Augarten Park's Flak Towers

With all the magnificent imperial buildings in Vienna, six enormous concrete monstrosities loom over the city. The sight of any of them savagely intrudes on any comfortable, romantic perception of Vienna and crudely forces you to remember a dark chapter in Austrian—and world—history.

Built in the early 1940s for the Nazis, these flak towers with their anti-aircraft guns and communication systems were supposed to play a major role in defending the city against air attack. Their walls are up to 3.5 meters thick and they stand today largely because they are too expensive to take down. Some citizens of Vienna want the towers to remain to serve educational purposes.

Does this formal garden path leading to the entrance of one of the two Augarten flak towers seem a bit bizarre to you?

There are stories that children playing in this tower set off explosions that broke thousands of nearby windows but did little damage to the structure. I have heard this story many times but have never heard what happened to the children. I've also read that the Russians started to take it down after the war. I do not know if either story is true. The steel cables provide reinforcement where some kind of damage was inflicted.

This is the second of the two towers in Augarten...they were usually constructed in pairs and strategically positioned around the central part of the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment