The Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese giant Ferris wheel), or just Riesenrad, is a 65 metre (212 ft) tall Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria's capital Vienna. It is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, and symbolises the district as well as the city for many people. Constructed in 1897, it was the world's tallest extant Ferris wheel from 1920 until 1985,
by the English engineer Lieutenant Walter Bassett Bassett (1864-1907) of the Royal Navy. Its purpose was to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I, and it was one of the earliest Ferris wheels ever built. Bassett's Ferris wheel manufacturing business was not a commercial success, and he died in 1907 almost bankrupt. A permit for its demolition was issued in 1916, but due to a lack of funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived. It originally had 30 gondolas, but was severely damaged in World War II and when subsequently rebuilt only 15 gondolas were replaced. The wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base,
and its spokes are steel cables, in tension.
Durch Staub und Wolkenspreu schleift den Mantel, der unsere Liebe deckte, das Riesenrad - Ingeborg Bachmann
(freely translated as; Through clouds of dust and chaff loops the mantle, who covered our love, the Ferris wheel)
Ingeborg Bachmann (25 June 1926 – 17 October 1973) was an Austrian poet and author.