Posh pigeon loft reopened

A Viennese tourism body has spent more than 270,000 Euros on the renovation of a pigeon loft, it has emerged.The city’s Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und BetriebsgesmbH – which manages Schönbrunn Palace, its gardens and the adjacent zoo – said today (Fri) it had invested 272,000 Euros on the refurbishment of the baroque dovecot.Schönbrunn Zoo director Dagmar Schratter explained two endangered pigeon breeds have already settled in the spectacular building located in Schönbrunn park which can be visited free of charge.She pointed out that the circular building was set up on order of Habsburg emperor Maria Theresia in the 18th century.Pigeon expert Peter Heindl, who looks after the birds nesting in the popular park’s loft, said: “Tourists are very interested and ask many questions about them. I’m happy that people finally see the positive side about pigeons.”Schönbrunn Zoo suffered a massive decline in attendance figures last year.Around 2.18 million people visited the oldest zoo in the world between January and December 2009, around 400,000 fewer than in the previous year.The zoo was nevertheless Vienna’s second-most popular sight behind Schönbrunn Palace. The Habsburg era building registered 2.467 million visitors in 2009, down from 2.581 millions year on year.