The Prater Hautallee is a road that links the Lusthaus, a Classicist folly, with the Praterstern in the second district of Vienna (Leopoldstadt). The road is 4.4 kilometres long and actually called simply "Hauptallee". It crosses the Prater region since the days when the Prater still comprised of floodplain forests and wilderness: It was built in 1538 to improve the accessibility of the Habsburg hunting grounds from Palais Augarten. Today′s appearance of the Prater Hauptallee is characterised by lines of chestnut trees. Most of the street is pedestrianised and an important recreational ground for local Viennese.
One section of the Hauptallee, the area between the Lusthaus and the first Rondeau, was not straight. Instead, it followed the ponds and little lakes at today′s Heustadelwasser and was "evened out" a long time after the Hauptallee had become increasingly popular as a leisure ground in the 18th century: The current direct and straight link to the Lusthaus was completed only in 1867.
Some History of the Venediger Au
By then, the tradition of using the Prater as a recreational area was already almost a century old: Emperor Joseph I had opened the former hunting grounds to the general public and as early as in 1786, three cafes were opened here – appropriately named "Erstes", "Zweites" and "Drittes Kaffeehaus" ("First", "Second" and "Third Café"). They were popular destinations for walks, and since the early 19th century and the Biedermeier period, live music performances became increasingly popular in these venues.
After 1886, Princes Pauline von Metternich (she of the Paulinenwarte in the Türkenschanzpark) held a flower show at the Prater Hauptallee every year, the so-called Blumenkorso.
For a long time, the Prater Hauptallee also served as a venue for horse races, another leisurely activity for which the natural landscape of the Prater proved highly suitable – until horse races were moved to the Trabrennbahn Krieau. In 1903, the first car race of Vienna was held here, too.
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