Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Deep in Vienna, Austria sits yet another crazy wacky republic. This one is a spherical ball that is a house and a separate country that borders Austria. This is Kugel Mugel! It was one of two new countries on my October 2019 tour, where I visited Poland, Austria, Kugel Mugel, Germany, Czechia and the Kingdom of Wallachia.

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

 

What is Kugel Mugel?

The Republic of Kugelmugel is a country located at the Prater in Vienna, Austria (where I backpacked in 2005 before I was lunatical about wacaday republics). It’s basically a ball that looks like a spaceship! The Republic of Kugelmugel declared independence from Austria in 1976, after disputes between artist Edwin Lipburger and Austrian authorities over building permits for his wacaday ball-shaped house. Edwin built this house at the Landesstraße 4091 in Katzelsdorf, Lower Austria in 1971. In 1979, Lipburger was arrested and sent to jail for ten weeks. Ridiculous to me – he’s a hero!

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

In June 1982, the house was moved into the Prater park, near the Hauptallee, and was enclosed by eight-foot-tall barbed-wire fences. The house has the only address within the proclaimed Republic, that being “2., Antifaschismusplatz” (“2. district of Vienna; Anti-Fascism Square”), which has since been officially adopted by the city of Vienna. The republic has its own flag, borders, website, capital city (Kugelmugel), passports and a population of 650 (none of whom live there).

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

And does the country still function as it did in the 1970s?

Sadly, no – Edwin Lipburger died in January 2015, but the Republic still officially holds a population of over 650 non-resident citizens and so Austria kept it. Nowadays, the Republic is administered by Vienna’s government and used as a tourist attraction.

The word “Kugel” means “ball” or “sphere” in German; the word “Mugel” is an Austrian German expression for “bump” or “hill on a field”.

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna

How to get to Kugel Mugel?

I’ll write a separate article on my World Borders series about it, but basically get to Vienna’s Prater Park and you will see it on the corner, sitting randomly in the park. By putting your body through the fence or the hole in the back, you can say you officially crossed the border between Austria and Kugel Mugel. However the Republic is a strict one and despite emailing and Facebooking every conceivable way of contacting them, an official visa or permit was not granted so I couldn’t enter the actual spherical building. Bring back the days of Edwin Lipburger who would clearly have let me backpack the sights properly…

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

Backpacking in Kugel Mugel: A Spherical House Republic in Vienna, Austria

** I wanted this article to be longer and have photos and videos but unfortunately I lost all of mine. If I ever recover them or revisit Kugel Mugel, I will try and write the following blog articles:

World Borders: How to Get From Austria to The Republic of Kugel Mugel (in Vienna)
Backpacking in The Republic of Kugel Mugel: Top 10 Sights

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