During the Second World War, Germany planned to build several flak towers in major cities in Germany and Austria. By the end of World War II, there were three pairs of flak towers in Vienna. All of them still stand today as sturdy memorials to World War II.
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The history of the Flak Towers in Vienna
In 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, National Socialist Germany annexed Austria.
National Socialist Germany planned the flak towers in major cities like Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, and Bremen to protect major cities from allied air-raids. But only 8 pairs of flak towers were finished by the end of World War II in Vienna, Hamburg, and Berlin. 3 pairs of flak towers in Vienna and Berlin and 2 pairs in Hamburg.
Each pair of flak towers had a so-called L-Tower (“Leitturm” in German; Lead Tower in English) and a G-Tower (“Gefechtsturm” in German; Combat-Tower in English). The lower flowers of the flak towers provided shelter to the civilian population of Vienna, while the middle floors contained hospitals and even production facilities. Only the upper floors were used for military purposes.
Except for one, the flak towers are not accessible to the public. Let’s begin with the one that’s accessible.
Flaktower V – Stiftskaserne / Esterhazypark
The two flak towers of pair number 5 are located in the 6th and 7th district of Vienna. The combat tower is located in the 7th district inside the Stiftskaserne, a military complex. Thus, I don’t have a photo of the combat tower.
The lead tower is the only flak tower that was put to non-military use after World War II. Since 1957, it houses the Vienna aquarium, also known as the aqua terra zoo Vienna. It’s the only accessible flak tower in Vienna. On the upper floors of the aquarium, you’ll find a permanent exhibition about the Vienna Flak Towers, and you’ll get an impression of the thickness of the almost 10 feet thick walls.