Votive Church

July 24, 2013

One distinct historical church in Vienna that should be included in every tourist’s itinerary is the Votivkirche or the Votive Church. This religious structure is well known for its two high spires at 99 meters that rise above the trees and buildings around it.

Situated on RingStrabe in Vienna’s 9th district just near the University of Vienna, this Neo-Gothic church was erected in honor of then Emperor Franz Joseph as a form of thanksgiving and took 23 long years to build from 1856 to 1879. It was at this site where the Emperor experienced an assassination attempt while walking around. Fortunately, he survived the stabbing attack by Hungarian nationalist Janos Libenyi which seriously injured his neck.

After that incident, the Emperor’s brother, Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, began collecting money and started a competition inviting architects and other artistic people to create a design for the church. Architect Heinrich von Ferstel, who was only 26 at that time, got the assignment. Emperor Franz Joseph himself supervised the construction of the Votivkirche which was dedicated on April 24, 1879.  

The church was named after the word votive which means an offering made in exchange for a fulfillment of a vow or pledge. Rightly so as the Kaiser-Franz Joseph family had the structure built as a thanksgiving for the failed assassination attempt on the Emperor.

Renovation works have been done in the church after it was damaged during the Second World War.

The votivkirche can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday starting at 10 a.m. A small fee is required to enter the premises.

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