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 (St 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 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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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

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.
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
Klimt Paintings Tour

Klimt Paintings Tour

Gustav Klimt's name is indelibly linked with Vienna and its art. He was a public figure in the city and a founding member of the Vienna Secession who resisted the conventions of the national art establishment to become a wildly influential figure in the Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau) style. While he lived a rather secluded life, his paintings snatched such critical accolades as first prize at...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 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
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
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
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

A city of green parks, opulent architecture and elegant shopping, crowded theatres and boulevards for leisurely sauntering—Vienna is rightfully regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The etymology of its name is subject to a debate in which some say it comes from vedunia ("forest stream"), which subsequently produced the Old High German “uuenia” (“wenia”), the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

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