Votive Church in Vienna, Austria

The Votivkirche in Vienna is enthroned as a neo-Gothic masterpiece at the Schottentor station next to Vienna's main university and, with its imposing towers, is the second highest church in the city.

The impressive Votivkirche on the Ringstraße is considered the highlight of Vienna 's historic church buildings and is also one of the most important and most beautiful neo-Gothic sacred buildings in the world. Also known as the Ringstrasse Cathedral, the magnificent Roman Catholic church towers unmistakably in the Alsergrund district next to the main building of the University of Vienna and can be reached via the underground station "Schottentor".


PICTURES: Votivkirche in Vienna

Photo gallery: Votivkirche in Vienna

The consecration of the magnificent church in April 1854 was the prelude to the city's expansion, in the course of which magnificent buildings such as the Parliament, the Museum of Art and Natural History and the State Opera House were built on the Ringstrasse in the following years. With its two 99-metre-high towers, the three-nave cathedral is the second-highest church in Vienna behind the 136-metre-high St. Stephen 's Cathedral.

Impressive furnishings of the Votivkirche

The high altar of the Votivkirche in Vienna was partly dedicated by Pope Pius IX and made in Rome, Austria - © Tupungato / Shutterstock
© Tupungato / Shutterstock

With its spectacular neo-Gothic façade, Vienna's Votivkirche is not only impressive to look at from the outside, but can also be seen from the inside. The monumental nave with countless columns of richly decorated marble and limestone is bathed in mystical light from 78 painted glass windows.

The high altar was partly dedicated by Pope Pius IX, made in Rome and rests on an altar table of Lasa marble and Egyptian alabaster. The ornate chapels and altars of the Votivkirche, with their masterful details, all deserve a closer look.

The Votivkirche was built in the 19th century in gratitude for the failed assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Joseph I, Vienna, Austria - © julius fekete / Shutterstock
© julius fekete / Shutterstock

Cosmopolitan Votive Church

The Votivkirche is not only significant for its architectural fascination, but is also considered the city's most cosmopolitan place of worship, as it is home to many foreign-language congregations in Vienna.One side altar, for example, is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

The Sunday Mass at 11:15 a.m. is also held in several languages.Twice a month, separate children's services are held in German and English.

Origin of the Votivkirche in Vienna

The magnificent Votive Church owes the original idea for its construction to Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. Shortly before, on 18 February 1853, the assassination attempt on his brother and emperor, Franz Joseph I, planned by the journeyman tailor János Libényi, was foiled.


Consequently, the future Emperor of Mexico, who also had Miramare Castle built near Trieste in Italy, called for donations from the people for a church to be built "in thanksgiving for His Majesty's salvation".

This is where the church got its name from, because a votive offering is a symbolic sacrifice in thanksgiving for salvation from an emergency.

Thanks to the grateful people, sufficient donations were raised. The architectural competition in 1854 was won by Heinrich Ferstel, then only 26 years old, whose design beat out 74 others from Austria, Germany, England and France.

Two years later the foundation stone was laid and after a construction period of 26 years the Votivkirche was consecrated on 24 April 1879 - exactly on the day of the silver wedding anniversary of the imperial couple Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth.

Renovation after the Second World War

Of the total of 78 stained glass windows in the Votivkirche in Vienna, almost all were destroyed during the Second World War, Austria - © Tupungato / Shutterstock
© Tupungato / Shutterstock

After the Second World War, the Votivkirche was badly damaged and almost all of its wonderful stained glass windows were broken. Due to a lack of funds, the Votivkirche was not renovated until the 1960s. However, many original drawings were no longer available. For this reason, the stained glass windows in particular were completely redesigned for the most part. Today, Holy Masses are once again held every Saturday and Sunday.

Related links:

Official website of the Votivkirche in Vienna