Religious sites in Austria

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen's Cathedral h ...
Founded: 1359 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg"s Cathedral is probably the city"s most significant piece of church architecture and its ecclesiastical center. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome it represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. The cathedral origin is closely connected to the ecclesiastical principality"s demeanour and growth. Destroyed by fire and rebuilt, enlarged and expanded, it bear ...
Founded: 774 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Augustinian Church

Augustinian Church was originally built in 1327 as the parish church of the imperial court of the Habsburgs. In 1634, the Augustinerkirche became the parish church of the imperial church. As imperial church, many Habsburg weddings took place there, including the wedding of Archduchess (and future Empress) Maria Theresa in 1736 to Duke Francis of Lorraine, the wedding of Archduchess Marie Louise in 1810 to Emperor Napoleon ...
Founded: 1327 | Location: Vienna, Austria

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church (Peterskirche) is thought to occupy the oldest Christian sacred site in Vienna, as a church has stood here since the second half of the 4th century. According to legend, Charlemagne founded a larger church here in 792. The mediaeval church had three altars, with an apse in the south instead of the normal eastern orientation. This unusual feature has triggered many discussions among experts, and it ...
Founded: 1701-1733 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Franciscan Church

The Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. The first church on this site was built in the eighth century during the time of Saint Virgil, who may have used it for baptisms. A document from 1139 mentions a parish church on this site. That church was destroyed by fire in 1167, together with five other churches, including the cathedral. Starting in 1208, the central nave of the chur ...
Founded: 1208 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

St Peter's Abbey

St Peter's Abbey is a Benedictine monastery and former cathedral in Salzburg. It is considered one of the oldest monasteries in the German-speaking area, and in fact the oldest with a continuous history. St Peter's Abbey was founded in 696 by Saint Rupert at the site of a Late Antique church stemming from the first Christianization in the area. Likewise the establishment of the monastery was meant to forward the missionar ...
Founded: 696 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Collegiate Church

The Kollegienkirche was built between 1694 and 1707 for the local Benedictine university founded in 1622. The university was disbanded in 1810 but reopened in 1962 as part of the University of Salzburg. Certainly the largest and best Salzburg church designed by Erlach (who also built the Holy Trinity Church and renovated the Franciscan Church), the Collegiate Church is also one of the most celebrated Baroque churches in ...
Founded: 1694-1707 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Minoritenkirche

The Minoritenkirche is a church built in French Gothic style in Vienna old town. The site on which the church is built was given to followers of Francis of Assisi in 1224. The foundation stone was laid by King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1276. Duke Albrecht II later supported the building process, especially the main portal. The Gothic Ludwig choir was built between 1316 and 1328, and used as a mausoleum in the 14th and 15th ...
Founded: 1276 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Capuchin Church and Imperial Crypt

The Capuchin Church in Vienna, Austria is a church and monastery run by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. It is most famous for containing the Imperial Crypt, the final resting place for members of the House of Habsburg. About 1599 the Capuchin brothers resided at Vienna on their way to Prague, where they had been sent by Pope Clement VIII in the course of the Counter-Reformation. The church was donated by will of Anna ...
Founded: 1599-1632 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Innsbruck Cathedral

Innsbruck Cathedral was built between 1717 and 1724 on the site of a 12th-century Romanesque church. The interior is enclosed by three domed vaults spanning the nave, and a dome with lantern above the chancel. With its lavish Baroque interior, executed in part by the Asam brothers, St. James is considered among the most important Baroque buildings in the Tyrol. Innsbruck Cathedral is notable for two important treasures. ...
Founded: 1717-1724 | Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Karlskirche

Widely considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna, as well as one of the city's greatest buildings, Karlskirche is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great counter-reformers of the 16th century. In 1713, one year after the last great plague epidemic, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, pledged to build a church for his namesake patron saint, Charles Borromeo, who was revered as a healer for plague s ...
Founded: 1716-1737 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Maltese Church

The Maltese Church is a Roman Catholic Gothic church of the Knights Hospitaller in Vienna. The first church on this site is mentioned in 1217, as a commandry to care and support crusaders. The current building was built in the mid-15th century. In the 17th century it was a favoured preaching location for Abraham a Sancta Clara. This building was rebuilt to fit contemporary taste in the Baroque era and in 1806, and the Ko ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Vienna, Austria

Hofkirche

The Hofkirche (Court Church) is a Gothic church built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564) as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519), whose cenotaph within boasts a remarkable collection of German Renaissance sculpture. The church also contains the tomb of Andreas Hofer, Tyrol"s national hero. Although Maximilian"s will had directed that he be buried in the castle chape ...
Founded: 1553 | Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Holy Trinity Church

The Holy Trinity Church was built in the years 1694–1702. Authority of the church and the seminary was the founder Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun. The church, together with the same time build St. John's Church (hospital church) the first building designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in Salzburg. He used as models various religious buildings in Rome—especially Francesco Borromini's Church Sant'Agnes ...
Founded: 1694-1702 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Linz Old Cathedral

The Old Cathedral (Alter Dom) in Linz was built by Jesuits between 1669 and 1683 in Baroque style. From 1785 to 1909 it served as cathedral of the Diocese of Linz. The church was erected near the former Jesuits" College at the south end of the Hauptplatz. The church was originally called the Church of Ignatius and was dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit Order. The Jesuit Order was dissolve ...
Founded: 1669-1683 | Location: Linz, Austria

Franciscan Abbey

The Franciscan monastery in Graz was founded by the Franciscan order, who still own it, and is first mentioned in 1239. In the church, a high but narrow 14th-century chancel contrasts with the comparatively low and wide nave. The chancel was gutted by a bomb in World War II, and subsequently rebuilt with a new contemporary interior. The stained glass windows bathe the church in light, whilst the chancel is dominated by a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Graz, Austria

Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey is a Benedictine abbey on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river, adjoining the Wachau valley. The abbey contains the tomb of Saint Coloman of Stockerau and the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria"s first ruling dynasty. The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey. A monastic school was f ...
Founded: 1089 | Location: Melk, Austria

St. Rupert's Church

St. Rupert"s Church is traditionally considered to be the oldest church in Vienna. The church is located in one of the oldest parts of the city, the section of the Roman Vindobona. According to legend, it was founded by Cunald and Gisalrich, companions of Rupert during his occupation of the seat of bishop of Salzburg. However, because Salzburg had influence over religious issues in Vienna between 796 and 829, it is m ...
Founded: c. 800 AD | Location: Vienna, Austria

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in located in the historic Greek neighborhood of Vienna"s Innere Stadt. Greek Orthodox churches have existed near this site since 1787, as a result of the 1781 Patent of Toleration issued by Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. The architect of the 1787 building was Peter Mollner. The current building is a Byzantine Revival re-design of the Mollner building by Danish-Austrian neo-classic ...
Founded: 1858 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Schottenstift

The Schottenstift (Scottish Abbey) is a Roman Catholic monastery founded in Vienna in 1155 when Henry II of Austria brought Irish monks to Vienna. The monks did not come directly from Ireland, but came instead from Scots Monastery in Regensburg, Germany. Henry granted the new monastery extensive privileges. Construction of the first monastery started in 1160, and the structure was consecrated in 1200. The monastery was ou ...
Founded: 1160 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.