Urania Observatory, Vienna
The Urania is a community education center with an observatory in the first district of Vienna on Uraniastrasse. The club was founded in 1897 and put its neo-baroque style clubhouse into operation in 1910. Today the Wiener Urania is an institution of the “Wiener Volkshochschulen GmbH”.
Prehistory up to 1910
In 1883 the German astronomer Max Wilhelm Meyer came to Vienna to calculate historical and future solar eclipses as an assistant at the University of Vienna. He also gave folklore lectures and developed the idea of a folk-educational institution. But since he was called to Berlin in 1885, he developed his ideas further there and founded Urania in Berlin together with Wilhelm Foerster in 1888. Its goal was to make scientific knowledge accessible to a lay audience. The institution was named after the muse Urania, who was considered the tutelary goddess of astronomy in Greek mythology.
The Wiener Urania syndicate was founded in Vienna in 1897 as a "non-profit business enterprise" based on the example of Berlin's Urania. First, in 1898, a provisional Urania building was erected in Vienna's Prater as a prototype for a future people's education center. It was opened on May 7, 1898 and was part of the jubilee exhibition organized to mark the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph I's reign. The building was north-west of the rotunda, roughly in the area of today's Messestraße. The provisional Urania was built by architect Ludwig Baumann in timber construction and in a mixture of neoclassicism and art nouveau. It seated 800 people and contained a lecture hall for 200 people, rooms for scientific demonstrations, and an observatory with an eight-inch telescope and other smaller telescopes. Despite the great public success, the Urania was an economic failure for the association; it therefore had to be closed on December 2, 1898. Since there was no money for the proper demolition of the building, it was sold to timber merchants and demolished by them in 1899.
March 29, 2022
A walk along the Danube Canal Promenade offers a colorful program - from a visit to a beach bar to architectural sights and graffiti works of art.Urania
The wonderful Art Nouveau building on the Danube Canal houses an observatory, a cinema, a restaurant, a folk high school and a puppet theater.
July 20, 2020
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