the exterior of the Karlskirche is stunning, the Baroque interior is
extraordinary. The ceiling frescos inside the dome are beautiful, as is its
ornamentation. The main altar of the Karlskirche, however, is the most eye-catching
aspect of the church.
The altar is capped with a large
nimbus of gilded rays surrounded by stuccowork, angels and putti
(cherubs) above a statue of St. Charles Borromeo during his ascension to
Heaven. On each side, the altar is overlooked by oratories (that appear to
have the characteristics of a box-seating area in an opera) for the Emperor,
his family and guests.
The frescos in the Dome are the work of Johann Michael Rottmayr and he
worked on them for five years until his death in 1730. The frescos are
currently being restored and it is impossible to see the entire frescoed
surface of the dome from the ground. However, there is an elevator (the cost
of using it is included in the entrance fee) that will whisk you 30 meters to a viewing platform
where you can see the frescos up-close. It is an experience we highly
recommend, as the details are impressive. You can proceed further up
scaffolding (it shakes when you climb the stairs) to the cupola for a scenic
overview of Vienna.
The organ loft and side altars of the Karlskirche are also exquisite and bear
further examination. In addition, there is a modest museum that might be of
interest to you.
Open most days until 1900, although unavailable for
touring when the church
celebrates mass (1800 everyday, except for Sunday when services are also
held at 1100)
For more information see this
official site (in German), which also provides an in-depth multimedia
tour of the church.
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types of sightseeing in Vienna
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