Karlskirche - St Charles Church, Vienna

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Vienna's famous baroque church

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  • the portico
    the portico
    by croisbeauty
  • the cupola of Karlskirche
    the cupola of Karlskirche
    by croisbeauty
  • Karlskirche
    Karlskirche
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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    KARLSKIRCHE - THE LIFT & FRESCOES # 3

    by balhannah Updated May 13, 2014

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    Lift in Karlskirche
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    Let me convince you to go inside this Church. You probably don't need convincing if you have read my previous reviews on the Karlskirche, but just in-case you need a push through the Church door, - how about being able to go to the top of the Dome and nearly touch the frescoes? Sounds good? You bet!

    The Karlskirche Dome has been under restoration since 2004 and still is. Inside is a staircase to the very top where you can view the city of Vienna.
    Lots of steps, so why climb when you can take the lift included in the price of your admission ticket. The lift will take you to the 32 metre level and from here you can wander around and have close-up views of the frescoes.
    To go higher, another 25 metres which I did, is via the stairs that tend to be a little shaky. This may depend on how many people are walking on them at a time. This takes you to the very top where you can view Vienna. {see warning & danger tip}

    This I have never experienced in any other Church, a once in a lifetime for me! Words can't describe the feeling of being so high in a Church, and being able to view the frescoes from such close quarters. It was marvellous!

    SOME IMPORTANT WARNINGS

    The lift only takes a limited number of people at a time
    If your afraid of heights, DO NOT ATTEMPT this.
    The staircase shakes a little as it isn't permanent, it could scare you, be warned.

    CHURCH IS OPEN...
    Monday to Saturday:9 - 6 pm
    Sundays and holidays:12noon - 7 pm

    Conservation contribution including panoramic lift in the dome:
    Adults: € 8,-
    Pupils and students: € 4,-
    Children up to 10 years old: free

    More photos in travelogue

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    KARLSKIRCHE - INTERIOR # 2

    by balhannah Updated May 11, 2014

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    The inside of this Church is NOT laden with gold - yes, it does have some but was deliberately decorated with not much gold and a lot of marble. Do I like it - Yes!
    The Church has so much to offer inside! Time needs to be taken to enjoy what you see, as there are many beautiful frescoes, Chapels, Altars, gorgeous Pulpit, Confessional boxes with reliefs above them, the baroque organ, dating from around 1740, which was enlarged in 1847 by the addition of side wings, and lastly but not least, the interior of the domes!

    There is an admission charge which is well worth it.

    CHURCH IS OPEN...
    Monday to Saturday:9 - 6 pm
    Sundays and holidays:12noon - 7 pm

    Conservation contribution including panoramic lift in the dome:
    Adults: € 8,-
    Pupils and students: € 4,-
    Children up to 10 years old: free

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    KARLSKIRCHE

    by balhannah Updated May 11, 2014

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    This magnificent baroque church we could see in the distance when we exited the Train station in Karlsplatz. It is actually overlooking the Resselpark end of the park where the pond is. The pond gives good reflections of the Church.

    The church is old, built between 1716 and 1737. The Church is considered Vienna's most outstanding baroque religious building,in Vienna, as well as one of Vienna's greatest buildings.
    It was built to impress and it sure does!
    My first impressions of this Church were - What a magnificent religious building!

    Karlskirche is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great reformers of the 16TH century.

    A MUST VISIT

    The church is cared for by a religious order, the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, and is the parish church as well as the seat of the Catholic student ministry of the Vienna University of Technology.

    It was in the year 1713, the Black Plague swept through Vienna killing many people. Emperor Charles VI vowed if the plague left the city, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles was a 16th-century Italian bishop famous for ministering to Milanese plague victims.
    The Emperor’s prayer was answered, and construction on the church began in 1715. It is hard to imagaine now, as when the Karlskirche was built, it was then the bank of the River Wien and is now the southeast corner of Karlsplatz!

    Unfortunately, Baroque master Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach who did the original work died before completion, luckily his son was able to take over and completed the work in 1737. Many frescoes were added between 1725 to 1730.

    STOP AND ADMIRE THE COLUMNS

    The Triumphal Pillars/Columns located at the front of the church are believed to be based on either Trajan's Column or the Pillars of Hercules in Rome. The columns are 33m high, and have spiralling bands that are full of reliefs referring to the Emperor who commissioned the church and scenes from the life of St. Charles Borromeo, to whom the church is dedicated.
    These symbolize the personal motto of Charles VI, Constantia et fortitudo (Latin: ‘steadfastness and strength’). "Charles thus positions himself as the successor of Solomon as a king of peace."

    At the top are Lanterns, the Imperial Crown and Habsburg Eagles.
    The left hand column illustrates the qualities of Steadfastness, while Courage is shown on the other.

    The façade in the center, which leads to the porch, resembles a Greek temple portico.

    THE CHURCH IS OPEN...
    Monday to Saturday:9 - 6 pm
    Sundays and holidays:12noon - 7 pm

    Conservation contribution including panoramic lift in the dome:
    Adults: € 8,-
    Pupils and students: € 4,-
    Children up to 10 years old: free

    We will head inside the Church in my next review.

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    KARLSKIRCHE - HIGH ALTAR # 1

    by balhannah Written May 11, 2014

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    High Altar
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    Time to head inside and see what the interior is like.

    THIS CHURCH HAS AN ENTRY FEE

    Don't let this put you off, as the inside is beautiful and quite a surprise!
    There is much beauty to see including the Central room, High altar, Mary's altar, Elisabeth altar, the organ, a panoramic lift, the Dome fresco and the panorama over Vienna.

    The High Altar is magnificent, made more so by the light coming into the church and landing on the Altar!

    The stucco relief on the high altar depicts St. Charles Borromeo accompanied by angels ascending on a cloud to the magnificent Trinity above. It really is a magnificent piece of Baroque!

    THE CHURCH IS OPEN...
    Monday to Saturday:9 - 6 pm
    Sundays and holidays:12noon - 7 pm

    Conservation contribution including panoramic lift in the dome:
    Adults: € 8,-
    Pupils and students: € 4,-
    Children up to 10 years old: free

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    Karlskirche - part two

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 28, 2013

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    In his plans of the church Johann Bernhard Fisher von Erlach united the most diverse historic elements of architecture. The front facade corresponds to a Greek temple portico, the two columns a model of Trajan's Column in Rome, while the two tower pavilions show the influence of the Roman Baroque.
    The two flanking columns of bas-reliefs have been crafted by Lorenzo Martinelli, an Italian sculptor from the late Baroque period. The relief of the pediment above the entrance shows the Cardinal Virtues. The columns display scenes from the life of Carlo Borromeo and are intended to recall the two columns, Boaz and Jachim, that stood in front of the temple at Jerusalem . The entrance to the church is flanked by angels from the old and new Testaments.

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    Karlskirche - part one

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 28, 2013

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    Karlskirche (St.Charle's Church) is the most outstanding Baroque church in Vienna, dedicated to saint Carlo Borromeo. Carlo Borromeo (1538-1584) was Cardinal archbishop of Milan and is considered one of the greatest reformers of the catholic church. He was a leading figure during the Counter-reformation and was honored as a saint. His feast day is 4 November.
    In 1713, a year after the great plague epidemic, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, pledged to build a church for his namesake patron saint Carlo Borromeo. The church was designed by Johann Bernhard Fisher von Erlach and its construction began in 1716, under the supervision of Anton Erhard Martinelli. After the death of J.B.Fisher von Erlach in 1723, his son Joseph Emanuel completed the construction in 1737 following partially altered plans.
    Until 1918 Karlkirche was the imperial patron parish church.

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    Karlskirche - surprising architecture.

    by breughel Updated Nov 2, 2013

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    Karlskirche - surprising architecture.

    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.
    Bad day!

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    St. Charles church

    by Raimix Updated Nov 2, 2013
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    St. Charles church is known as one of the most beautiful buildings in Vienna. Sure, I can agree about it, just weather was not so perfect to lit it well around.

    Church was built in 1716 - 1737. It has high detailed style of Baroque, also, as it is typical for that style, it is centralized in Karlsplatz. As I have seen in pictures, it is very beautiful inside also, but it was concert during my visit time.

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    Karlskirche / Karlsplatz

    by ValbyDK Written Sep 13, 2013

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    St. Charles's Church (Karlskirche) is located in the centre of Vienna, at the Karlsplatz not far from the Ringstrasse. It was built between 1716 and 1737, after a vow by Emperor Charles VI to build a church in memory of the plague of 1712. The church is dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, who was a 16th century Italian bishop famous for helping Milanese plague victims.

    It is a beautiful church, considered the most outstanding Baroque church in Vienna. The oval dome is 72 meters tall, and has two flanking columns of bas-reliefs. The church is bright inside, beautiful dome frescos, high altarpiece, marble pillars, and some paintings. There is a lift to the dome for a closer look at the frescos, but I didn't go (I don't like heights). Instead I visited the small Borromeo Museum with a few religious items on display.

    You have a really good view of the church from the Karlsplatz. Here are also a pond and a Henry Moore sculpture from 1978. It is also an important public transport junction, the Karlsplatz Station is the only metro station in Vienna served by three metro lines.

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    A fantastic (slightly scary) experience!

    by Jefie Updated Jan 7, 2013

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    Karlskirche's magnificient high altar
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    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!

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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    The Church of St. Charles

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 4, 2012

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    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.

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    Karlskirche

    by globetrott Updated Jul 30, 2012

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    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.

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    Karlskirche

    by yvgr Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    Getting up into the heavenly realms
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    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.

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    Karlskirche

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Jun 30, 2011

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    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.

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    Karlskirche

    by gubbi1 Written Jun 21, 2010

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    Karlskirche, Vienna, AT
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    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!

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