Image by David Titcumb

Arenbergpark and Flaktürme – Living history

All belligerents have had their own unique difficulties in coming to terms with the cataclysm of World War II. Austria is no exception. There are many physical facets of the history of the Second World War in Vienna. One is the living legacy the flaktürme provide; they are six monolithic structures dotted around the inner-city.

Without examining all of the questions posed by the outbreak of peace – this is a travel article, not a history lecture – the state was left with a difficult decision regarding the future of these buildings following the downfall of Nazism in 1945. On the one hand, these fortresses (built with forced labour) are a constant reminder of the period, but on the other hand they have forged a positive post-war Viennese identity, a legacy. What was the state to do with them?

Fortunately, the answer has not been ‘tear them down’. One is in use by the Ministry of Defence, one has been turned into a museum and climbing wall, whilst the other four are surrounded by beautiful parkland. Arenbergpark is one of my favourite spots in the whole of Vienna, and very low-key in comparison to its more famous brother, the Augarten.

It is a marvel that this brutal architecture, once a clear symbol of the Fascist stranglehold over Vienna, has assimilated so totally into the cityscape. What fascinates me is that although what these towers once represented no longer has any resonance, their enduring presence shows how relevant this period of history remains.

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Details about this spot

Categories

Address

Arenbergpark, Vienna

Opening Times

24 hours daily

Price

Free

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)