Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna, Austria by Leigh (Bella) St John

Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna, Austria

Built in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I, this giant historical attraction is one of the oldest operating Ferris Wheels in the world - and until 1985, was the world's tallest.

Not only an amusement, this Riesenrad saw its share of controversy soon after being built when in 1898 a Viennese woman hung by her teeth from a rope suspended outside one of the cars in an attempt to bring attention to the plight of the poor in the city.

In 1914 the wheel saw yet another act of bravery (or stupidity) when Madame Solange d’Atalide completed a full rotation while on the back of a horse that was standing on one of the cars. In this instance, the stunt was for a film.

1916 a demolition order was issued for the destruction of the Riesenrad, however thankfully the demolition team ran out of money and could not complete the task.

Riding on the giant wheel today, one feels easily transported back to a time when attractions such as this were truly marvels to behold.