Michaelerplatz, Vienna

Michaelerplatz, Vienna

Michaelplatz is a square in front of The Hofburg Imperial Palace. As you enter, you can't help noticing the impressive Neo-Baroque Michaelertor (Michael’s Gate) leading through the Michaelertrakt to the Hofburg’s inner courtyard. On both sides of the doorway are 19th-century fountains, created by Rudolf Weyer.

Opposite the gate is the grand Michaelerkirche (Saint Michael's church), formerly the parish church of the imperial court and one of the oldest Baroque churches in the city which lends its name to the square itself. The earliest parts of the church date back to the 13th century; according to legend, the Michaelerkirche was built in 1221, yet its present form originated in 1792. The porch is topped by Baroque sculptures depicting the Fall of the Angels. Inside are Renaissance and 14th-century frescoes, and a vividly carved, gilded organ (1714) by Johann David Sieber, the largest in Vienna, once played by Joseph Haydn. Off the north choir is the crypt entrance. In the 17th and 18th centuries, parishioners were often buried beneath their church. Well preserved bodies clothed in their burial finery can still be viewed in open coffins.

At the center of the square there is a viewing spot for an excavation of a Roman encampment. There are also some old Medieval foundation walls to be seen, plus the remnants of the old Burg Theater.

In contrast to this, overlooking Michaelerplatz, opposite the Michaelertor, is one of the most modern buildings in Vienna, called the Looshaus. Designed by Adolf Loos, it is now famous, although, back in the day, it was considered an eye sore for its rather simple, unadorned design. So much so, in fact, that when completed in 1912, the building caused so much outrage on the part of the Emperor Franz Joseph who declared that he would never use the Michaelertor ever again. The source of his indignation was the building’s starkly functional upper facade contrasting dramatically with the nearby fine ornate Baroque architecture. Today, the Looshaus is a working bank, but visitors are allowed into the lobby to view the elegant interior, which is richly clad in polished timber, green marble and mirrors.

Sitting just across from the Looshaus is the Palais Herberstin. Built in 1896, it replaced an older building that used to be a popular meeting spot for young writers and artisans. The old cafe, called Griensteidl, has been rebuilt in the new structure, though much of its regular crowd have moved to Café Central in Palace Ferstel.

Why You Should Visit:
Main entrance to the historic center of Vienna, there's just so much to see and enjoy – grand architecture or just a cup of coffee.

Tip:
Doing one of the horse-drawn carriage tours is highly recommended, a great way to see the central part of Vienna and worth the money.

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 Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 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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Michaelerplatz on Map

Sight Name: Michaelerplatz
Sight Location: Vienna, Austria (See walking tours in Vienna)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

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Famous Homes of Vienna

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Mozart Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

Vienna, the former capital of the once mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire, is the second largest city in the German-speaking world after Berlin. Steeped in history, today's Vienna is still much revered for its cultural grandeur. The abundance of it, manifested in imperial palaces, diverse museums, and historic churches, beckons annually over 6 million guests from around the world.

One of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Vienna Old Town Walking Tour

Encircled by the grand Ringstrasse, otherwise known as the Ring, the historic Old Town of Vienna (Innere Stadt) is a designated World Heritage Site.

At the heart of it all lies Saint Stephen's Square (Stephansplatz), a bustling hub surrounded by iconic landmarks and vibrant street life.

Mozarthaus, once home to the legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is a delightful stop for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Vienna's Art Nouveau Architecture Tour II

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Characterized by ornamental and organic designs, flowing lines, and harmonious integration of various artistic elements, Vienna's Art Nouveau architecture was aimed at breaking away from historical styles and embracing a more modern, decorative approach. The city's architects of that era sought to create an absolute work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk), where all aspects of a building's...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Old Town Churches Walking Tour

Old Town Churches Walking Tour

"Vienna is the city of miracles and music" – Whoever said that must have emphasized Vienna's close association with the Christian faith. The intertwining of Christian heritage and artistry in the Austrian capital finds expression primarily in its magnificent churches.

Sitting at "the crossroads of Christian traditions", Vienna is home to various Christian...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles

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