Karlskirche - St Charles Church, Vienna
The stunning church combines Oriental and Baroque flourishes.
This striking church was built between 1715 and 1737 to honour Karl Borromeo, the patron saint of the fight against the plague.
Its aim was to thank God for delivering Vienna from the plague epidemic in 1713 that claimed more than 8,000 lives.
Emperor Karl VI held a competition among architects to design the church, which was won by Johann Fischer von Erlach.
The Baroque masterpiece has a dome and portico borrowed from classical architecture, while there are Oriental echoes in the minaret-like columns.
Karlskirche is the most famous baroque church in Vienna and was built to honor Saint Borromeo. The project was of Johann Fischer von Erlach.
Both columns of church were inspired by Trajan's column in Rome.
There are nice main altar inside and nice fresques on the dome there.
Karlskirche (Charles Church) is a beautiful baroque church that was built in the 1700s in honor of St. Charles Borromeo. The exterior of the church features a large dome and two tall columns flanking the entrance. The interior of the church is very ornate and worth a visit.
An elevator will take you up most of the 72 meters for an upclose view of the Karlskirche dome. These celestial scenes were painted by Johann Michael Rottmayr. I was scared just walking up the steps once I got off the elevator--I cannot imagine what it was like painting the dome on rickety scaffolding back in the 1700s.
Once you are at the top of the dome, you can look out the windows at sprawling Vienna--unfortunately the windows are covered by mesh, so the opportunity for quality photography is lackluster at best.
Emperor Karl IV vowed, in 1713 a plague epidemic, that as soon as the city was free from its plight he would build a church. He would dedicate it to St. Charles Borromeo - a former Archbishop of Milan and a patron of the plague. In 1714 he announced a competition to design the church and this was won by the archtitect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. The resulting church is a richly ornate Baroque masterpiece.
A must for anyone interested in architecture, the stunning Karlskirche mixes Austrian baroque and Oriental elements together. The central dome is classic, but the side pavillions resemble Chinese temples, the lanterns appear like a hybrid of the Trajan Column and a minaret. Inside, an elevator takes you to the top of the dome to admire the airy frescos.
An impressive detail overlooked by many, with so much ornate "baroqueness". In the very center of the high altar there appears the "tetragrammaton", or YHWH, which is how God's name, Jehovah, was written in ancient Hebrew.
Karlskirche is my favorite church in Vienna. This church was built in the early 18th century and took 25 years to complete. It was commissioned by Emperor Karl VI after a plague ravished the city of Vienna in 1713. He vowed to build a church dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, a patron saint of the plague, when the plague ended.
The Baroque building incorporates architecture of Greece and Rome. The columns out front are modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome and depict scenes of St. Charles Borromeo's life. The two angels at the entrance represent the Old and New Testaments (left to right).
Also pay special attention to the frescoes in the dome and the pulpit. The High Altar is another thing not to miss.
Hours are 7:30 AM - 7 PM Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 7 PM Saturday, and 9 AM - 7 PM Sunday.
See my travelogue for more pics.
Karlskirche, begun in 1715, in Vienna, is dedicated to Carlo Borromeo, the Italian cardinal and saint of the Counter Reformation. What is most extraordinary about this structure is the successful coherence of its design despite a seemingly irreconcilable eclecticism. In front of a longitudinally placed oval nave stands an unusually wide facade composed of a bizarre combination of elements. A Corinthian hexastyle temple portico on top of a stepped podium, archaeological in its fidelity to Roman temple fronts, represents the entrance to the church.
The church of St Charles is absolutely stunning, and was designed in the Baroque style. The dome measures 72metres, the columns either side rise to 47metres. Inside the church is fantastic artwork on the celings including the fresco Arrival in heaven of Saint Charles.
This beautiful 1250m² large fresko by Michael Rottmayr in the dome of the Karlskirche can only be seen by going up by elevator, which costs 2 EUR. This isn't cheap, but believe me, it's worth it! You'll love the paintings!!
The building of Karlskirche was started in 1715 following plans of one of the most famous Austrian Baroque architects, Johann Fischer von Erlach. The church is spectacular. It is the biggest cathedral in Baroque style north of the Alps.
Initially, the church was build to honor the vows of Emperor Karl VI. given in the time of a severe plague epidemic. It was dedicated to saint Karl Borromeo.
An unusually wide front is composed of a number of contrasting elements which surprisingly add up to a unique and harmonic overall image. Two colums with an allegoric representation of the life of saint Borromeo are reminiscent of Italian Renaissance Trajan colum. They frame the main portal which resembles a Greek temple. The oval nave of the church is topped by an eye-catching dome (72 m high) spectacularly painted at the inside.
The church is situated at one of Vienna's central nodes, spacious 'Karlsplatz'. The area in front of Karlskirche was redesigned in the 1970s by one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century: Henry Moore. His artwork 'Hill Arches' adornes an oval water basin which reflects the church building.
If you take the tube (U4 or U2) you can admire one of Otto Wagner's art deco tube stations. Secession museum is another famous sights closeby where Karslplatz meets Naschmarkt!
It is timely here to remember why this church was built. In the 1713 plague over 10,000 people died and it was the second one in 20 years.
Charles VI thus dedicated this church to the town being rid of the plague, an act Charles Borromeo was given much credit for.
Allegorical paintings such as Faith, Hope and Charity are thus well in tune with the sentiments behind this building.
It's a miracle (right place for that type of thing I guess) that this shot came out at all. Upon a sudden inspiration while going down on the lift I grasped my camera, took aim and blazed away, full well realizing that this shot would be almost impossible to duplicate in another couple of months when the work is finished.
It clearly shows the altar that features the Holy Trinity above St. Charles Borromeo, a bright feature in the otherwise subdued light of a church interior.
.............for there, just a short lift ride up the centre of the dome, was access to the Rottmayer allegorical works currently undergoing restoration. The scaffold-supported walkways allowed you to get up close and personal with the frescoes and, surprise, surprise, you could use your tripod! This God-sent opportunity to a heathen like me was not to be missed.