History of Votivkirche
If you take a walk along Ringstraße (the street which surrounds the Old Town of Vienna) a beautiful sandstone church in neo-Gothic style will come in your sight. The church is often mistaken with St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom). The history of Votive Church (Votivkirche) began with a failed assassination attempt. In 1853 during one of his regular walks around the city, emperor Franz Joseph was attacked from behind and stabbed in the collar with a knife by the Hungarian nationalist János Libényi. The attack was unsuccessful and although the emperor was heavily wounded, his life was out of danger. János Libényi was arrested for an attempted regicide and later he was executed.
The emperor’s brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian (who later became an emperor of Mexico and was executed by the Mexican government, but this is another story) decided to build a church in gratitude to God for the salvation of the emperor. He asked the people in Vienna for donations and after a year the needed amount was gathered. The name of the church Votive Church (Votivkirche) derives from the fact that it is built entirely by donations (votive offerings).
In 1854 in a contest for an architect of the new church the project of the 26 years old Heinrich von Ferstel was chosen. The construction of the Votive Church began in 1856 on the place of the attack. It took more than 20 years for the church to be finished. In 1879 Votivkirche was consecrated, just in time for the silver anniversary of the imperial couple.
The church holds the tomb of Count Niklas Salm, an imperial military commander who led the defense of the city of Vienna during the first siege by the Turks in 1529.
The famous Antwerp altar in Late-Gothic style from 15th century is kept in the museum of the Votive Church.
Tips for visiting Votivkirche
Address: Rooseveltplatz, 1090 Wien
Access: Metro station Schottentor – line U2
From Tuesday to Friday: 02:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Saturday: 09:00 AM – 01:00 PM and 04:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Sunday: 09:00 AM – 01:00 PM
From Tuesday to Friday: 04:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 01:00 PM
The church: free
The museum: 3,90 EUR (~4 USD)
Web site: http://www.votivkirche.at/
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