Karlskirche - St Charles Church, Vienna

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Vienna's famous baroque church

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    the Old Testament angel
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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    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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  • Escadora7's Profile Photo

    another church-visit: Karlskirche

    by Escadora7 Updated Dec 19, 2005

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    top of Karlskirche
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    I grew up in Vienna, but never actually visited the Karlskirche until last year, when Ash, my mom, and I decided to see it close-up (she had lived in Vienna for about 40 years and hadn't seen it either!). The church is Vienna's most famous baroque building, and with it's big green cuppola has become one of the city's landmarks. If you have a chance to go there, make sure to take a close look at the tall white stone pillars outside the church and the scenes delicately engraved on them. Once you enter, the almost overbearlingly huge altar draws you to the front of the church immediately. You can pay an extra couple of Euros to take the elevator ride up to the top of the cuppola to get a closer look at the Michael Rottmeyr frescos. But that's not the end of it - from here on you can venture up to the very top of the church via stairs. Poor Ashie didn't know what he was in for - I suffered from extreme vertigo, and my mother wasn't physically too fit to handle those stairs (yet insisted to make her way up to the top). :-)

    Opening hours:
    9.00-12.30pm and 1.00-6.00pm (Mo - Sat)
    1.00-6.00pm (Sun + holidays)

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  • Fam.Rauca's Profile Photo

    Karlskirche ( St. Charles' Church)

    by Fam.Rauca Updated Jul 18, 2005

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    Karlskirche
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    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.

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  • Andrew_W_K's Profile Photo

    The Karlskirche

    by Andrew_W_K Written May 23, 2009

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    The Karlskirche
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    A wonderful baroque church that is situated on Karlsplatz. The church was built in the first part of the 18th century by King Charles 6th who promised to build a church to St. Charles Borromeo, an Italian bishop from the 16th century who helped plague victims, if the plague in Vienna stopped. It's a slightly odd looking building as it has 2 towers in front of the church but not part of it, depicting scenes from St Charles life.
    The interior is no less impressive with marble and gilt decoration and beautiful frescoes on the upper walls and dome.
    When I was there in May 2009 it was possible to take an elevator up into the heart of the dome and then proceed by stairs to the very top to view the frescoes. I'm not sure if this a feature there all the time or if it was there while work was being carried out.
    Entrance to the church and lift was 6 euros.
    There is also a museum dedicated to Borromeo.

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  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    St Charles Church

    by alancollins Written Jan 2, 2007

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    St Charles Church

    The Karlskirche, or St. Charles Church, is one of Vienna's greatest buildings. In 1713, the Black Plague swept Vienna, and Emperor Charles VI made a vow that if the plague abated, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles was a 16th century Italian bishop famous for ministering to plague victims. The emperor's prayer was answered, and construction on the church began in 1715. Though commissioned by the emperor to thank God for his answered prayer, the Baroque church was also designed to glorify the power and rights of the Habsburg Empire. The first builder was Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach, who started the original work from 1716 to 1722. After his death in 1723, his son, Joseph Emanuel, took over, finishing the work in 1737. When it was finished, the church received mixed reviews and it was regarded as something of an architectural curiosity. The columns at the front of the building display scenes from the life of Charles Borromeo in a spiral relief; however they also recall the Pillars of Hercules and act as symbols of imperial power. The towers give the appearance of minarets on a mosque. The entrance is flanked by angles from the Old and New Testaments. The green copper dome of the church rises 236 feet high, and is a dramatic landmark on the Viennese skyline.

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  • morgenhund's Profile Photo

    Thanks for the plague...

    by morgenhund Written Nov 6, 2005

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    Karlskirche, Wien
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    The Karlskirche, which is dedicated to St Charles Borromeo, the Saint associated with the relief from the plague, was built as thanks for the end of the plague in Vienna in 1713. It was designed and built by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach and his son, Josef Emanuel and took 26 years to build. The columns, which are freestanding on either side of the Cathedral, have reliefwork depictions and for all its grandeur externally, the church is refreshingly plain inside. In winter the pond in front of the church is drained, in summer it is a rather fine duck pond. It can be seen across the Resselpark and looks equally impressive by night when it is usually lit up.

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  • chiara76's Profile Photo

    Karlskirche.

    by chiara76 Written Jun 2, 2005

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    Karlskirche in Vienna.

    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.

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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    Karlskirche

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 17, 2004

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    Karlskirche

    During the Black Plague, emperor Carl VI chose to build this massive church in honor of Borromäus, the plague's patron saint. Fischer von Erlach, the best of the time, designed this Barque church and in 1714, building began.

    The alter is really cool when the sunlight comes through, illuminating the frescos of the dome and everything in general. Outside there was a nice pond. Definitely worth the trek over.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    The altar

    by iandsmith Written May 14, 2004

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    A small miracle

    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.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    An opportunity

    by iandsmith Written May 14, 2004

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    Splendour on the walls

    .............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.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    A plague upon you

    by iandsmith Updated May 15, 2004

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    Refreshed fresco

    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.

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  • longsanborn's Profile Photo

    Awesome Columns!

    by longsanborn Written Nov 28, 2006

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    When you get to the Karlskirche, Vienna's finest Baroque church, you will be awed by the massive size of the church, especially the two big columns and the dome. You should go inside the church to see the magnificent high altar and the frescos in the Cupola. It is a beautiful and elegant church.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Karlskirche

    by iandsmith Written May 14, 2004

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    Not only good from the outside

    Though not the largest church in Europe by a long stretch, it is a bit of a photographer's delight. The outside lends itself to imagination and, talk about lucky, when I got inside restoration was under way................

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  • adema29's Profile Photo

    It is a must to see it....

    by adema29 Written Feb 14, 2009

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    Night view
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    We had the chance to stay in a hotel near the Karlskirche for few days and we couldn't miss it.
    My son was happy to climb the stairs to the “lantern” on top of dome and enjoy the view of the city from that place.
    The church itself has a nice architecture, with the two columns (so similar to the Trajan's Column in Rome) "protecting" the main neo-classical entrance (one of the first signs of the neoclassical architecture), and the wonderful Baroque dome and towers.
    It will be easy for us to remember the unique, unusual architecture.
    The nice church was built at the beginning of 18th century as the Emperor Charles VI has promised during the Black Plague.

    If you feel good at height don’t hesitate to go up to the top using the lift. Up there try to see everything as I did, like one of the Master J. M. Rottmayr’s apprentice, painting the huge dome, sitting on the wooden scaffolds and hanging his legs at 70 meters above the floor.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Karlschirche-The best

    by BruceDunning Updated Aug 1, 2008

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    postcard view

    Church of St. Charles Boromeo. Built at request of Emporer Karl VI in 1713 to honor is vows during the plague. It took 25 years to finish. The cupola is 210 feet tall, and columns are 150 feet. It ended up being over budget and therefore, the gilded gold inside and the detail is intricate. One of the most beautiful in Europe, it is Austrian Baroque designed by Johann von Erlach. The twop columns in front are representation of Borromeo, a saint.
    It was built in 1713 by Charles VI edict to recognize the plague ending, and named after Charles Borromeo, healer of the plague.

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