Favorite thing: This church is also very different to the usual Viennese Baroque being neo-byzantine in design and really looking very unlike a church at all from the outside. It's in the old Fleischmarkt area, once frequented by many Greek merchants who eventually built their own church and had it re-designedn in mock- Byzantine style in 1861. This red brick edifice sticks out a mile in Vienna and the gilt in the castellations make it even more prominent. Inside though it is truly beautiful, small and mysterious. Two silver and glass chandeliers light up the darkness which comes from black marble-type walls and very dark paintings. As you become more accustomed to the dimly-lit interior you begin to pick out the icons and frescoes and appreciate the very rich decoration.On the gates into the inner sanctuary is a wonderful Annunciation, two seperate panels representing Mary and the Angel who is telling her she will become the Mother of God. The congregation here is obviously small with seating restricted to just one row, flush with the wall and a balcony upstairs. There was no entrance fee for visiting the church but you can pay a small fee to light some candles inside and presumably this helps with the upkeep.
Karlskirche more than makes up for the lack of extravagence in the other two churches I have described. This is built to impress and from quite far away it makes a big impact. It's absolutely enormous, with two front pillars which immediately make you think of Rome. This is because they are modelled on Trajan's column and indeed look exactly like it. The front of the building also has an impressive neo-classical portico and the whole lot is topped off by a vast dome. Inside there is an amazing sculpture above the altar, a gold sunburst by Fisher Von Erlach. This also makes one think of Rome and Bernini's work which somehow fits in with the whole ethos of splendour and showiness that defines Karlskirche. The ceiling frescoes by Rottmayr are also first class and as the light is good it is relatively easy to see them. Karlskirche is situated on Karls platz and in December has a very good craft market just outside.
There is an entrance charge to visit Karlskirche but if you can manage to convice the girl at the entrance that you are going in to pray it might be waived. The photo shows the detail on one of the columns.
Sunday mass in Augustinerkirche was my first exposure to Viennese churches. It is in no way typical, being rather austere inside and lacking in Baroque decoration. The Choir here is famous though and to get a seat you must arrive at least an hour in advance. It's well worth the effort as the singing is just superb and then afterwards you can set off in fear and trepidation to the vaults to see Augustinerkirche's biggest claim to fame. This was a big anticlimax as the 'vault' in question is a little side chapel and all that is visible of the famous 'Hearts of the Hapsburgs' are 54 urns neatly arranged in rows. I'm not sure what I expected - maybe red bleeding hearts impaled on stakes - but peeping through a tiny grille, in a perfectly ordinary room certainly lacked a sense of occasion.
Back in the church there are two major attractions: Canova's marble cenotaph commemorating Marie Christine ( Maria Theres's favourite daughter ) and the large rococo organ on which Bruckner composed his mass no. 3.
Augustinerkirche is part of the Hofburg and is situated on Josephplatz. As the church is pretty difficult to photograph, I've included a photo of the square it's situated in.
The interior of the cathedral was beautiful, particularly these medieval stained glass windows. At the back are 5 other windows telling stories from the bible about saints, prophets and Jesus.
Fondest memory: I would love to come back at a quieter time of year and have a better look round without the crowds!
Another closer view to the Chatedral.
This chatedral is absolute one of the landmarks of Vienna. Very impressive is wonderful tiled roof.
Next to the chatedral is a square, very crowdy, where various activities are taking place.
Very monumental building from 12th century
On my photo, unfortunately you can see only a small part of this impressive church. The tower of the church, called "der Steff" is one of landmarks of Vienna
Favorite thing: Wander past the Votiv Church, it looks great...it was being cleaned when we saw it so the top half looked great and the bottom was very dirty (the reason for the trees in the bottom of my photo...it would have looked better all clean or all dirty).
Favorite thing: Like Vienna itself, St. Michael's is a hodgepodge of different styles and different eras: medieval inside, with a late Baroque exterior. The facade of the chuch was completed as "recently" as 1782. It occupies a comfortable corner near the center of the Hofburg, and on hot summer days the church offers a cool refuge from the heat and thronged tourists passing by outside. You can't miss the dramatic figures adorning the church's pediment: St. Michael himself preparing to slay Lucifer. The creator of the sculptural figures was the Italian Lorenzo Mattielli - who was also responsible for the Hercules figures on the Hofburg immediately opposite the church.
Fondest memory: From Himmelpfortgasse it is not to far to the quiet Franziskanerplatz where the church is settled. It's a Renaissance church from 1603-11 with Gothic-type windows, a Baroque interior containing a richly-carved organ of 1642 and a high altar with a revered picture of Our Lady.
Favorite thing: Visit the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Its icons are more traditional than those in the Greek churches, and the Russian church in Vienna is better than the Greek one. Important for non-Slavic faithful: On Sundays some parts of the services are in German too. - Address: Jauresgasse (3rd district)
see Votivkirche -
One of the wonderful churches of Vienna! As a gesture of gratitude that he survived an assassination attempt, Emporer Francis Joseph I. had this church built in 1853. This church impresses its viewers with its rich adornment of numerous figurines and the subdued lighting inside that filters through the more than 70 stained glass windows.
Favorite thing: Votivkirche, just along from the Rathaus. This reminded us a lot of St. Pauls Church Strasbourg, though apparently it was built in the style of Cologne Cathedral. We had the feeling that the Viennese court of the time was modelling its city on other fine cities around Europe - a little stuck for originality. Well, it was a lovely church all the same, and in a fairly quiet corner of the city - maybe I should have put this 'off the beaten path'.
Favorite thing: Llies in Vienna's inner city. This is beauitiful very old church from 11st century, and was made baroque in 18th century, stood in the Graben
Favorite thing: If you're planning to climb to the top of St Stephan's Cathedral, DO NOT wear a shirt that clashes with the roof. It looks weird in pictures.
Favorite thing: Rupertskirche - I think the oldest church in Vienna, but I can't find anything about it now in my book or on the net. Well, it sure looks old.