Episode 307 – A Plague Church and A Pauper’s Grave
Way back in 1713, a plague epidemic raged through Vienna that killed more than 8000 people. As was common in those years, when the plague was finally over the credit was given to God (who somehow wasn’t blamed for it initially) and a grand gesture of thanks was needed.
In Vienna, that was the building of a grand church, dedicated to St. Charles Boromeo, patron saint of plague sufferers and (coincidentally?) the patron saint of the reigning emperor, Charles VI. That church is the magnificent Karlskirche (Charles Church) that we explored today.
Building of the church spanned 20 years, from 1717-1737, and was built using money contributed by all of the many countries the Hapsburgs ruled at that time, the Emperor having decided that it would be a votive church for the whole empire (not just Austria). I have no idea whether any of those other countries thought that was fair (I’m guessing they did NOT), but the result was a beautiful church in which people worshiped for centuries.
We were able to walk around the sanctuary, walk up the spiral staircase to the organ and the viewing platform, and then ascend a temporary lift into the dome itself.
It’s not often we get to go directly into the organ loft of a church. This pipe organ was much smaller than many we’ve seen, but quite ornate.
A few more stairs up from the organ level, we got our first panoramic view over Vienna’s inner city.
After touring the church, we continued on for a walk around yet another gorgeous block within Vienna’s “Innenstadt” (inner city), this time the area called Karlsplatz, which is home to the Vienna Technical University (TU), the Albertina Modern art museum, and the Musikverein Wien (Vienna Music Society) concert hall – the latter two top and bottom, respectively, in Ted’s photos below.
Despite the fact that we got a late start today because it rained all morning, we still had a wonderful day – and I managed to get a load of bedding washed too!