Book look: Linz leisure

The largest and oldest fun fair of Austria is located in Linz where people take the chance to keep their worries at bay for nine days in spring and nine days in autumn. Twice a year, the Urfahraner Markt opens its gates for families who enjoy the various attractions and the vast variety of culinary delicacies.

Now, as the fair turns 200, the city’s Nordico Stadtmuseum published a book featuring historic details and fantastic photos. Attendance ranges around half a million today but figures were arguably smaller during the war.

“Urfahraner Markt. 200 Jahre Linzer Lustbarkeiten” discloses that the fair business kept going until 1943 despite horrific battles across the continent and food scarcity in Linz. Old photographs show kids enjoying the ride at a carousel featuring swastika-embellished jets.

Already in spring 1946, the fair reopened despite conflicts between local authorities and Russian military as Austria would be occupied for another nine years. The book also documents how family businesses continued to ply their trade at the 66,000 square metre venue through the decades regardless of various economic downturns. Fun facts such as the price for balloons in 1986 (40 Schilling) and a Ferris wheel family ticket seven years later (just 100 Schilling) can be found too.

Urfahraner Markt. 200 Jahre Linzer Lustbarkeiten
By Andrea Bina & Georg Thiel
Published by Verlag Anton Pustet (

Book look: Russia & Turkey

Considering the Russian point of view in current global politics is a tough challenge, but a respected former Moscow correspondent appeals on readers to change their perspective. Ex-ARD reporter Gabriele Krone-Schmalz claims that the decades of Western ignorance towards positive developments in Russian politics and society is the root of the current conflict. She criticises European leaders for ridiculing attempted reforms in the system which had to get back on its feet after decades of communist order. Krone-Schmalz bemoans the missed chance of reaching out a hand to Vladimir Putin when he, according to the author, offered a constructive partnership after becoming prime minister. As far as the Kremlin’s constant sabre-rattling is regarded, Krone-Schmalz attacks the NATO for its reckless expansion in Eastern Europe. The expert on Russia is convinced that these measures and the unanimous support for the Ukrainian Yushchenko administration brought cautious attempts of a dialogue between Moscow, Paris, Washington D.C., London and Berlin to a gruesome end.

Russland verstehen. Der Kampf um die Ukraine und die Arroganz des Westens
By Gabriele Krone-Schmalz
Published by C.H. Beck (

Arresting thousands of journalists, clerks and judges, accusing European politicians of acting like the Nazis and claiming and western authorities are cooperating with enemies of the state. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not shied away from the serious conflict with the European Union, NGOs and foreign media following the attempted coup of last summer. Now a biography investigates the Turkish president’s personal background and his impressive rise to power. Cigdem Akyol took a closer look on Erdogan’s attempts of reconciliation with Turkey’s Kurds to find out whether this step is more than just a figleaf. The journalist, who has provided articles for renowned newspapers such as Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, portrays Erdogan’s comrades and counterparts, his personal environment and economic alliances. An autocratic leader or even a dictator in the eyes of his opponents in Turkey and abroad, a faultless genius according to his supporters. The decisive question is whether his politics will stand the test of time.

Erdogan. Die Biografie
By Cigdem Akyol
Published by Herder (

Traiskirchen test for Rapid as team face ‘cut’

A town in rural Lower Austria will be the country’s sports hotspot this weekend.

Temperatures are not the only rising issue in Austria these days as football fans are eagerly awaiting the Bundesliga kickoff in a few weeks’ time.

Rapid Vienna, the Bundesliga champions of 2005 and 2008, are at the ready for a friendly against local club FCM Traiskirchen at 6pm on Saturday.

Finishing the 10-team league only in fifth, the Green-Whites are determined to achieve more in the upcoming season. The encounter with the Regionalliga team is the first serious test for the Rapid squad as the battle for a spot in the starting eleven kicks off.

Rapid director Fredy Bickel recently confirmed that he was scouring the market for a left-back to create team-internal competition for Thomas Schrammel. Philipp Prosenik returned from his loan spell at WAC. However, the striker is not expected to finally achieve his breakthrough at the Allianz Stadion. Meanwhile, Philipp Schobesberger will be sidelined for another couple of months due to a complex oedema.

Rapid manager Goran Djuricin is expected to nominate some Rapid 2 players against the team managed by Robert Haas and in other upcoming tests as Giorgi Kwilitaia, the Green-Whites’ promising Georgian striker, is still injured as well.

Djuricin revealed today that there would be a “cut” soon to reduce the bloated squad to a reasonable number of players. “I’ll also create a ranking so everyone is aware of his chances,” the manager controversially added.