What to See at St. Michael’s Church

April 1, 2013

A tour of Vienna’s religious landmarks should include a visit to St. Michael’s Church. As one of the city’s oldest churches, the place situated at Michaelerplatz just across the Hofburg Palace is in honor of Archangel Michael. Originally, it was the Imperial Court’s parish church and was then named Zum heiligen Michael.

A romanesque building, the church features a nave and two aisles that highlight the ancient Gothic structure. Side chapels were later added to the building.

There’s so much explore inside the church. The high altar shows a Rococo sculpture called Fall of the Angels executed by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Mattielli. The art work shows a cloudburst with angels and cherubs that fall from the ceiling towards the high altar. At the center of the high alter is Maria Candida, a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary being carried by two archangels.

Two chapels are in place as well. The northern one features the Adoration of the Child while the southern chapel displays Gothic stone sculptures and a wooden crucifix.

A gilded pipe organ is another attraction of the church. It is considered the biggest Baroque organ in Vienna and was played once by young Joseph Haydn.

A must-see inside St. Michael’s Church is the Michaelergruft or the crypt underneath the building. It is here where the city’s rich citizens and noblemen were buried. So far, more than 4,000 corpses have been preserved here with hundreds of them still in their burial wear and wig. There are some open coffins as well that can be viewed.

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