Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church), Vienna

Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church), Vienna

Vienna's Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church) is located in the eponymous Karlsplatz (St. Charles' Square), about 200 meters away from Ringstrasse, and is one of the finest examples of Baroque religious architecture in the city. Among its prominent features are the impressive oval high ceiling dome topping the structure, the elongated form of the building, and the exterior columns modeled on the famous analogues in Rome dedicated to the Emperor Trajan. The Viennese columns celebrate the life of St Charles Borromeo (to whom the church is dedicated) and the vast power of the Hapsburgs, symbolizing the Pillars of Hercules. Another interesting feature are the two spheres with metallic reflective sides allowing viewers to observe more details of the interior.

In recent times, the location has become a very popular tourist attraction, in large part due to its peculiar style, starkly contrasting that of other buildings nearby. St. Charles' is run by a local Catholic order and remains a parish church. It is also seat of the Catholic student ministry of the Vienna University of Technology and thus, apart from being an architectural marvel, is a functional institution.

Erected to celebrate the emergence from black plague that struck Vienna hard in the early 18th century, the Karlskirche is virtually a monument to St Charles Borromeo who was renowned for ministering to the needs of plague victims. History tells that Emperor Charles VI made a vow to God that he would build a church and name it after St. Charles Borromeo, if God relieved the city of the disease. God did, and so did the Emperor.

*****Johann Strauss Walk*****

On May 28, 1878 Strauss married his second wife, a young singer named Angelika Dittrich, at St. Charles' Church. Unfortunately, Dittrich was not a supporter of his music and their marriage ended in divorce in 1882.

Tip:
You have to pay to get in (students get a discount), but it's well worth it for the lovely interior.
There is a lift inside that can take you close to the murals on the dome ceiling. From up there, you can also enjoy a spectacular view of the city from the dome window.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Vienna. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church) on Map

Sight Name: Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church)
Sight Location: Vienna, Austria (See walking tours in Vienna)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Creating your own self-guided walk in Vienna is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old Town Churches Walking Tour

Old Town Churches Walking Tour

Sacred buildings in Vienna impress visitors with their historic architecture and magnificent interiors. The remarkable Gothic Stephansdom, charming Baroque St Peter’s church, and other sacred buildings of Vienna provide not only a history of the city, but a refreshing look with truly beautiful architecture, as you will see on this self guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour I

Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour I

To see some of Vienna’s most architecturally intriguing buildings, take this self-guided walking tour that will introduce you to the city's 20th-century landmarks, most of which revolve around the Viennese Secession movement, or the Austrian Art Nouveau. From Otto Wagner's massive Postsparkasse to the towering Urania Observatory, these then unconventional buildings brought an...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

The former capital of the once mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire and the second largest city in the German-speaking world after Berlin, today's Vienna is still much revered for its great historic and cultural past, as well as present. The abundance of imperial palaces, diverse museums and historic churches attracts millions of international guests to Vienna each year. This introduction walk,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Vienna's Historical Music Venues

Vienna's Historical Music Venues

Austria is synonymous with classical music almost to the point of obsession, and to call Vienna the "Music Capital of the World" would not be an exaggeration. It was the home and workplace of some of the greatest ever musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert and many others. Follow this self guided walk to visit some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour II

Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour II

Unlike any other architect, Otto Wagner (who was also an urban planner, furniture designer, and interior decorator) holds the key to Viennese turn-of-the-century architecture and design, which he helped drag away from the more historical styles and into Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) and beyond, combining aesthetics with functionality in his many building projects. As he's claimed himself,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Johann Strauss Walking Tour

Johann Strauss Walking Tour

Strauss Jr. succeeded his father (Johann Strauss Sr.) as Vienna's "Waltz King", and surpassed him at it. Strauss Jr.'s waltz compositions are widely considered the most famous of the Viennese waltzes, so how can you visit Vienna and not pay homage to the iconic composer? From the family home to the gold-plated statue in the Stadtpark to the theater where the musician...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Top 16 Austrian Things to Buy in Vienna

Top 16 Austrian Things to Buy in Vienna

Vienna stool, Viennese schnitzel, Viennese waltz, Vienna sausage, Viennese apple strudel... There's so much Vienna to it, that you might think you've heard it all. Luckily, chances are that you haven't and there's much more in store left to be discovered about this fascinating...
7 Ultimately Austrian Foods to Taste in Vienna

7 Ultimately Austrian Foods to Taste in Vienna

Once the center of the vast Hapsburg Empire, stretched from France in the West to Russia in the East, Austria has embraced many ethnic influences in its cuisine over the course of centuries. Many of the country's distinctive dishes reflect its multinational heritage. Coffee culture, for...