The Donauturm was constructed during 1962–1964, as designed by architect Hannes Lintl, in preparation for the Viennese International Horticultural Show 1964. The tower stands at 252 metres in height. Groundbreaking took place on 12 October 1962. After approximately 18 months of construction, under the supervision of Eberhard Födisch, the tower was officially opened on 16 April 1964 by Federal President Adolf Schärf.
Since then, it has become a part of the Viennese skyline and has become a popular lookout point and a tourist attraction. It is situated in the middle of the Donaupark, which was built to host the horticultural fair in Vienna’s 22nd District, Donaustadt, near the northern bank of the Danube.
Two high-speed elevators transport passengers to the tower’s viewing platform at 150 metres . Each lift, carrying up to 14 passengers, takes only 35 seconds to reach the observation platform. In strong winds, the elevators travel at only half speed because of the possible fluctuation of the tower: the movement of the elevator cable could be dangerous. By walking about 779 steps (775, according to architects Lintl), the platform can also be reached on foot. The stairs are, however, usually only accessible during the annual Donauturm run, or in an emergency.
The Donauturm spire carries antennas of cellular phone networks, private VHF radio stations and several other radio communication services. Despite its similarity to TV towers elsewhere, it has not been used for TV broadcasting. The major TV transmitter for the Vienna area is situated on Kahlenberg hill.
Two revolving restaurants (at a height of 161.2 and 169.4 metres, or 529 and 556 ft) offer a varied view over the Austrian capital and the Danube River below. It takes the platform either 26, 39 or 52 minutes to complete a full revolution. The restaurants were originally largely identical; however, now the top is an “upscale” restaurant (named “Donauwalzer”) and the lower restaurant is a café (named “Panorama”). Even so, the menu and prices continue to differ little.
The observation deck also bears a bungee-jumping site, with a platform projecting from the area. It is used at times during the summer months.