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.

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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 Chocolate Stores

Old Town Chocolate Stores

Vienna is famous for its mouth-watering confections. In its specialty shops and boutiques, usually located on the ground floors of historic buildings, you will find the best roasted coffee, high quality chocolates, sweets, wafers, cocoa and, of course, Mozartkugels. Don’t hesitate to visit the wonderful chocolate stores in the Old Town featured in this guide.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Mozart Walking Tour

Mozart Walking Tour

Back in 1781, Mozart was summoned to Vienna, where his patron – the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg – was attending celebrations. He got into a big argument with the Archbishop until ultimately getting fired. The young man decided to stay in the city as a freelance composer, musician, and music teacher, and so a legendary partnership began: Mozart and Vienna. Follow our self-guided walk for a...  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 introduced...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Famous Homes of Vienna

Famous Homes of Vienna

From creative artists to big thinkers, Vienna was the home residence for a number of celebrated people. Talented musicians, composers, architects, and even famous psychologist once resided in this beautiful city – once the capital of a great empire. Follow our self-guided walk to tour the former dwelling houses of Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and Freud, now converted into museums which acquaint us...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Encircled by the grand Ringstrasse, the historic Old Town of Vienna, known as Innere Stadt, is a designated World Heritage Site. Today, the “inner city” abounds in upscale shops and cafes lining pedestrianized Kärntner Strasse and Graben, with art galleries and restaurants dotting the surrounding streets. This self guided tour offers you a chance to visit Stephansplatz dominated by Gothic St....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 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

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