Vienna, 16th District: Ottakring
There are three national icons that originate from Ottakring: The Ottakringer Beer, the Meinl coffee roasting company and the Manner Schnitten, wafers with hazelnut filling that are sold in a legendary pink wrapper. That means, that the average Austrian could basically survive on nothing but Ottrakring products. Otherwise, there are a few other things that Ottakring is famous for.
The Brunnenmarkt, for example - after the Naschmarkt, the Brunnenmarkt is Vienna′s most extensive and most exotic market for fresh foods such as vegetables, fruit and spices. It benefits from the relatively low rents in Ottakring and the resulting immigrant population. There are some 90,000 people that call Ottakring home - approximately half of the population it had a century ago, when it was a pretty crowded corner of Vienna.
It is the large number of immigrants from Turkey and the Balkan that have earned the 16th district a somewhat dubious reputation. I have a few friends who live in Ottakring and they keep insisting that "...it′s not quite that bad after all.." - which makes me even more suspicious about the general standard of living there.
Idioms of Ottakring: Some History & Vienna Culture
However, as elsewhere in Vienna, the general rule of the real-estate-thumb "stay away from the Gürtel" applies to Ottakring, too - certain areas in the West of the district are indeed rather charming. The area around the Ottakring cemetery is even a very pricey one and it is easy to tell from the luxurious villas there.
Some Vienna idioms: If you order a "Sechzehner Blech" ("16-type tin"), you want a can of Ottakringer beer - the tin obviously refers to the can, the 16 to the number of the district. Especially if you are not a German native speaker, this will earn you a great deal of respect and recognition among Eastern Austrians. Historically, Ottakring has been a district of simple people and labourers ever since the 19th century. It became part of Vienna in 1892 and saw its golden age in the era of the "Red Vienna", the 1920ies.
In this decade, many communal apartment blocks were built and there must have been a spirit of optimism and progress. Things went bad a wee bit later: The economic crisis of the 1930ies was accompanied by an unemployment rate of 50 percent in some areas of Vienna, including Ottakring. Fascism abruptly ended the Socialists′ dreams of a real-time animal farm. Only the beer, coffee and wafers were made throughout the ages. With the general deterioration of the Gürtel area after WWII, Ottakring developed a social East-West division not dissimilar from Germany.
Nice bits of Ottakring
I enjoy going to the Wilhelminenberg, where you can dive into the outskirts of the Vienna Woods. From here you can also enjoy some great vistas on the city. One of the few sightseeing attractions of Ottakring is the Schloss Wilhelminenberg palace, which now serves - if I am not wrong - as a hotel. In any case, it is not open to the general public. Another attraction is the Kuffner Sternwarte, a star observatory - one out of three in Vienna. The more famous one is the Urania by the Ringstraße Road.
There is a church of pilgrimage, the "Wallfahrtskirche zur Heiligen Theresia vom Kinde Jesu" (better write that down for the taxi) and the villa of Biedermeier architect Josef Kornhäusl. Not to forget the "10er Marie", a legendary Heuriger tavern. The barracks of the Radetzky Kaserne show the importance of the army in Imperial Austria.
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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna′s Districts
District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margareten) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)