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Flak tower crane removed to make way for viewing platform

A huge crane left over from the war and mounted on top of one of Vienna's massive Flak towers is set to be taken down after 70 years to make way for a new panorama viewing platform.

During the war Vienna built six massive flak towers in which people could take shelter and which were designed to withstand a direct hit from an Allied bomb – and which were also designed so that huge anti-aircraft guns could be mounted on the top.

Made out of steel reinforced concrete they were so well built and so tough that it was found to be impossible to demolish them after the war and they were left standing as a silent sentinels to the horror of the Second World War.

Only one was ever used afterwards and that was the tower located near the busy shopping street the Mariahilferstrasse  -  where it was converted into an aquarium - the Haus des Meeres. More recently a rainforest area was added inside and a glass conservatory to provide light as well as a climbing wall on one side.

The attraction is so popular that it recently extended into the cellar with more animal residents and now over the coming months the panorama viewing platform will be added on the top of the building.

During that process the crane needs to be removed and will be restored by the experts Robert Bouchal and Wolfgang Frühwirth.

The 3.5 tonne crane had to be cut free from its concrete base and then will be lowered down to the ground later this week.

It will then be taken to a military base where its restoration will take place in a process expected to take several years.

As part of the process of creating the platform around 700 tonnes of steel reinforced concrete will need to be removed from the roof because it is damaged and what remains will then need to be resealed and replaced with a new cover.

At the end of it there will be a 460 square metre terrace for the public.

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