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The Karlskirche

 

 

 

  

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Karlskirche

The column contains scenes from the life of St. Charles Borromeo

The center facade of the Karlskirche  is a classical Greek temple portal, but one that is surrounded on each side by a towering column, each of which contains a representation of the life of St. Charles Borromeo in a strip-relief that curls up the column.  The design for these columns  was based on Trajan’s Column in Rome.

The two columns at the Karlskirche are topped by lanterns, adorned with gilded eagles. The church proper is topped with a massive drum that is adorned with a large elliptical dome, itself topped by a lantern and a crucifix.  Inside the Karlskirche, there is an elevator that will transport you to a platform where you can view the ceiling frescos and, then, climb up some rickety stairs for a view from the cupola.


The main altar of the Karlskirche is a masterpiece of artworkWhile 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 elevator ride to the viewing platform helps bring  the fresos to life  A view of the frescos from the viewing platform.

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.

   A close-up of the detail of the frescos on dome at the Karlskirchce

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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Vienna

Getting Started
Best Palaces
Best Churches
Best Music Venues
Best Museums and Galleries
Other Attractions
Best Shopping
Best Cafes
Best Day Trip
History of Vienna

Index of Places To Visit in Vienna

Best Places to Visit in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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