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St. Michael's Church (Michaelerkirche)

St. Michael's Church (Michaelerkirche) (48)

Perhaps at first glance this church does not look anything spectacular, but give yourself the opportunity to take a peek inside. Built from the early thirteenth century, it is one of the oldest in the city. Overlooking Michael's gate, the monumental entrance to the Hofburg Palace, St. Michael's Church competes with another construction, the controversial Loos Haus, by the architect behind Michaelerplatz.

In the era of Franz Joseph, the church had had everything to gain, as it is said that the emperor thought the building built by Adolf Loos from 1910 to 1912 was so awful, to avoid having to see it, the curtains on this side of the palace were kept permanently closed.

St. Michael's Church is said to be a representation of the majority of styles that have passed through Vienna. Because the church, which was started in the thirteenth century in Romanesque style, is actually a remarkably eclectic construction, since, in addition to a simple neoclassical façade dating from 1792, it has a bell tower and Gothic choir, and the interior decoration is essentially Renaissance and baroque. 

The atrium is topped with Baroque statues depicting the fall of the angels, the work of Lorenzo Mattielli.

Key is the great organ, beautifully sculpted in 1714 by Johann David Sieber. And the chorus full of cherubs is the work of Karl George Merville.

In this temple Mozart's Requiem was first performed shortly after the death of the composer and indeed the relationship of this church with death is one of its greatest attractions for visitors, since in its catacombs more than 4,000 people are buried, some of them well-known. This is the case for the Italian poet Pietro Metastasio, author of the scripts for some Mozart operas. 

This necropolis may have a strong impact on you as there may be hundreds of open coffins in which mummified bodies dressed in rich robes lie. Some even wear exaggerated wigs. 

Do not panic; nothing paranormal happens here. This part of the church simply has a unique microclimate that prevents bodies from decomposing. Although when entering the idea of going down to the crypt may seem grotesque, you certainly end up being interested. 

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