October 23, 2017

Top Ancient Churches to Explore in Vienna

Tourists have so many places to explore while in Vienna. But if you’d like to do things out of the usual, then a tour of the churches is strongly recommended.

Vienna is home to beautiful ancient religious structures that have survived natural and man-made calamaties. Make sure you visit these sights and find out what makes them different from each other.

Church of the Augustinians (Augustinerkirche) – This Gothic-style church built for the Augustinian Canons was a witness to royal weddings such as those of Napoleon I and Archduchess Marie Louise in 1810, Emperor Franz Joseph and Elisabeth (Sissi) of Bavaria in 1854 as well as that of Crown Prince Rudolf and Stefanie. Visitors can also find here the Chapel of St. George, the Christinendenkmal monument, heart vault, organ and the Loretto Chapel.

Collegial and Parish Church of St Peter (Peterskirche) — Patterned after St. Peter’s  in Rome, this oval church features a massive dome with a fresco done by J.M. Rottmayr. It was said to be occupied by a late Roman church and another one founded by Charlemagne. The chapels of St. Michael and Barbara can also be found here.

Dominican Church (Rosary Basilica ad. S. Mariam Rotundam) (Dominikanerkirche) – This is a Baroque church considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Austrian capital of Vienna. It was promoted to a minor basilica in 1927 and features frescoes in the nave. The present church is already the third on the site as the first two suffered from fire and severe damage caused by the First Turkish Siege.

Mary on the Strand Church (Maria am Gestade Kirche) – More known as Mary on the Steps, this Gothic Czech National church used to be situated on the banks of the old arm of the Danube River on a steep slope. The present church built between 1394 and 1414 features stained glass, Gothic sandstone figures, paintings and the Johann Perger Chapel with an organ gallery and a stone Renaissance altar.

Redemptionist Church of St Michael (Michaelerkirche) – This is one of Vienna’s oldest churches dedicated to Michael the Archangel. A Romanesque-Gothic religious structure near the Hofburg palace, this church has undergone several renovation works and was once the parish church of the Imperial Court. It features a nave, side chapels, a Rococo sculpture “Fall of the Angels” and a high altar featuring  the Byzantine image of Virgin Mary or Mari Candia.

Snow Madonna Italian National Church (Minoritenkirche) – This is the former church of the Minorites which has become the Franciscan church in 1957. The original church of the Frates Minores was built in 1230 but was ordered replaced by Duke Albrecht the Wise. At present, this Gothic church features the mosaic copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Last Supper courtesy of Giacomo Raffaelli which was commissioned by Napoleon I. Above the high altar is another art work, a copy done by Chr. Unterberger. 

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