When a plague epidemic once again spread through Vienna at the beginning of the 18th century, Emperor Karl VI vowed to have a church built as soon as it was over so that the disease may never hit the city again. The church would be dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, who is believed to have cured many people affected by the disease. A design competition was announced in 1713 and J.B. Fischer's project was selected. Construction was completed in 1737, and the result is a stunning Baroque church topped by a gigantic dome. Its large facade features two gatehouses (one on each side), and the main entrance, which resembles that of a Greek temple, is flanked by two tall Roman columns. Inside, the high altar surrounded by marble columns features a stucco relief of the church's patron saint being lifted up to heaven. The visual effect truly is divine! But what I thought was the most unique feature of this church is that it is possible to go up the dome, first using an elevator and then some rather shaky scaffolding, to see the frescoes painted by Rottmayr from up close. I had to keep reminding myself that they wouldn't let people climb up there unless it was safe to do so, but I must admit that I was shaking like a leaf the entire time I was looking at the paintings, doing my best to take pictures. But having the opportunity to admire these masterpieces definitely made it worth getting a little scared!
The Church of St. Charles/ Karlskirche: Dedicated to St Charles Borromeo, known for his work with plague victims in Italy.
Second only to St. Stephens Cathedral, this imposing Baroque building was built to fulfill a vow made by Charles VI during the plague in 1713.
Today it is not only beautiful to see, it's also a wonderful place to hear beautiful music. Of course it's also a glorious place to celebrate the Mass, if that is what you're interested in.
Karlskirche is certainly one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Vienna and besides the times of church-service it is used as a museum and you have to pay an entrance-fee in order to see the great works of art there.
On the other hand there are construction-works going on there at the moment and a giant construction including a lift takes up visitors and restaurators to the very top of the church - a unique possibility to see these great works of art from a short distance !! Photography only without flash or tripod !!
Karlskirche was constructed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who was also the architect of Schoenbrunn and Palais Trautson. The frescos in the dome were made by Johann Michael Rottmayer in 1725, showing the glory of holy Karl Borromäus, that is where the name Karls-Kirche comes from.
The church is open to the public against a fee of 6 Euros
mondays-fridays 07.30a.m. - 07.00p.m.,
saturday it opens at 08.30 and sunday at 09.00a.m.
You ought not to miss this fantastic building if you're interesting in style and baroque paintings. Karlskirche, or St. Charles' Church (Roman Catholic) was completed in 1737 with its Dome height 70 m . In the church there was an opportunity to first take an elevator and then walk the stairs up into the very ceiling of the church. This was made possible by a ramp becuase the church and its painting was under construction during this period. A fantastic experience to admire all the art and get close ups on the architecture of the Karlskirche.
The Karlskirche - at first glance - reminds me of ancient Roman temples, with its pearl-white facade, the classic portico, monumental columns and martial Angel statues. The grandiose baroque ceiling of the Karlskirche can be appreciated from a scaffold (not for those with fear of heights). While I appreciate the opportunity to view the ceiling from close-up, the scaffold itself disrupts the beauty of the interior in my opinion.
Coming out of the underground station we were first pleased with the garden allowing a good perspective on the Karlskirche and then we were surprised !
We had read a French critic describing the church as a "huge pastry monstrously Kitsch or as the absolute masterpiece of the imperial monarchy exalting power at its zenith. "
I will limit my comment to the fact that this church combines, for us in a surprising way, two Trajan columns with at the top a minaret structure, an antic temple and a baroque church behind.
We did not get in (price 6 €) as we feared that the inside might be like the outside and took the tram to the Upper Belvedere where we had another disappointment as the so nice pond and gardens in front of the palace are undergoing works.
The Karlskirche is a very beautiful church. Already before coming to Vienna I have seen it in my guide and thought that I need to see it in real life.
During the plague in 1713, which killed about 8000 people in Vienna, Karl VI. swore that he would order the construction of a church devoted to the plague saint if the plague would disappear. The following year the plague stopped and in 1717 the foundation was set for the Karlskirche. In 1733 the church was ready. The Karlskirche is the second most important and largest church of Vienna after the Stephansdom. The highest point in the cuppola is 82 meters above ground. The reliefs on the columns show scenes of the life of Karl, the plague saint.
Entering the Karlskirche you will need to pay a small fee, which is used for restauration of the church. Inside the church a (slightly disturbing) elevator gives you the unique chance to get very close to the cuppola. The elevator was left after restaurations.
I recommend to visit this church!
The area around is filled with so many beautiful buildings -- the museum,the opera house,the rathouse,the parliament and so on that it is a good idea to take a walk and admire the buildings.While at it,you could take a break/picnic at the bundesgarten.Dont forget your camera!
This magnificent Baroque church with its dome and two giant pillars is such a beautiful building. The church was built as a vow taken by Emperor Charles VI during the plague of 1713, it was completed in 1737. It's dedicated to the patron saint of the Habsburg Emperor, St Charles Borromeo.
Inside the church the dome is covered in colourful frescoes depicting St Charles Borromeo ascending into heaven.
The beautiful Karlskirche is the only church I will mention, for the simple reason that it is not within the Ring. The other most beautiful churches of Vienna are in that area, so they are virtually impossible to miss.
The St. Karl it is dedicated to is actually an Italian, San Carlo Borromeo, from the aristocratic family that owned the beautiful little islands in the Lago Maggiore.
Built in the baroque style, it has an unusual feature in the two big columns, modelled on the example of the Trajan Column in Rome.
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