Monday, August 27, 2007

For the chain of fast-food restaurants, see Wienerwald (restaurant).
The Vienna Woods (German Wienerwald) is a low, wooded section of the Alps in eastern Lower Austria and Vienna, covering over 1,000 square kilometres and including the northernmost parts of the entire Alpine chain. The Vienna Woods may be defined as that group of hills bounded by the rivers Triesting, Gölsen, Traisen and Danube, and is a favourite outdoor destination for the densely-populated area around Vienna .
It is located at the border between the Mostviertel and the Industrieviertel, two of the four quarters of Lower Austria, and reaches far into the city of Vienna.
The mountain ranges of the Vienna Woods are the transition of the Eastern Alps to the Carpathians, separated by the Danube and some tectonic lines near of Vienna. Its north is part of the Alps' sandstone zone, while its south is part of the Northern Limestone Alps. In the east, its border is the thermal line, which forms a geological break line to the Viennese Basin. The forest in the north consists largely of beeches, oaks and hornbeams, whereas in the south conifers, mostly pines and firs add to the botanical mix. In the latter region the natural park Föhrenberge (pine mountains) is located.
The highest elevation in the Vienna Woods is Schöpfl at 893 m above sea level, on which the Leopold Figl observatory is located. Even though the Vienna Woods is a landscape conservation area, it is threatened by urban sprawl. It is an important recreational area, in which, on the territory of the city of Vienna, the Lainzer Tiergarten (an extensive park populated by wild boar and other woodland animals) and the Schwarzenbergpark were created during the 19th century.
The natural park Sandstein-Wienerwald is located near Purkersdorf, some 20 km west of Vienna.
The Vienna Woods has probably been populated since the 8th century. Under the influence of the Avars, a Slavic population settled here after the Völkerwanderung, which may account for village names such as Döbling, Liesing or Gablitz. The Vienna Woods was a princely hunting ground, but beginning with the 16th century, it gained importance also for forestry. From 1840 onwards, the industrial development encouraged increased settlement of the area. In 1870, plans were brought forward to mostly clear the forest, but this caused widespread public resistance, in which Josef Schöffel was one of the most important figures.Wienerwald In 1987, the governors of the states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland signed the Vienna Woods Declaration to protect nature in the region.
Important rivers in the Vienna Woods are the Wien, the Schwechat and the Triesting.
There are also some natural caves, such as the Dreidärrischenhöhle ("cave of the three madmen").

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