How many times have you sat in a church, gazed up at the magnificent artworks that adorn so many churches throughout Europe, with a pain in your neck wishing you could get a little closer and see those masterpieces in their glorious detail?
Located just metres away from Karlsplatz in the centre of the extraordinary Imperial city of Vienna lies Karlskirche, a beautiful Baroque church architectural elements influenced from Greece and ancient Rome. In my opinion, this off the beaten track church beats the Stephensdom hands down.
Its green Baroque copper dome stands out in the Viennese skyline and its columns appear to of been transported from Rome, but what lies inside is truly one of Vienna’s gems.
From the moment you enter the church, your eyes are draw up by the monstrosity of scaffolding. While some may jump to the conclusion that restoration work is being undertaken, you’d be wrong. Look closer and you’ll see a public lift that takes you to the top of this metal monster. Be warned though, this journey to heaven is not for the faint hearted nor those who are afraid of heights.
When the doors open, you step out onto a large viewing platform where the stunning Baroque paintings can be viewed up close. Infact you are so close you can gaze into the eyes of the angel cherubs and the saints that cover the inside of the dome. If you’re brave enough, take a gaze down from the platform. It is only then that you can truly appreciate such magnificent pieces of art being created from such a height.
Standing there I began thinking, the artists would of had to of worked at this height for hours. The thought terrified me as I grasped the metal bar. With my hair standing on end I decided I was lingering far too long on the wobbly platform and I began my ascent to Heaven.
Shaking like a leaf and feeling every step of the people who passed me on their way down shudder through the metal, I held on to the railing as I climbed to the highest part of the church, passing the graceful Madonna and the Lord Jesus on my way up. Those terrifying 2 minutes of walking slowly up the metal stairway are worth it when you reach the top.
Lucky to be the only mad person up there, I enjoyed stunning crisp winter views across Vienna. As I peered through every window I realised I could not hear anyone else ascending to “heaven”. I took this peaceful moment to lie down on the cold metal floor and gaze up at the simple dove that held the mighty position on the very top of the dome.
I am always encouraged to be thankful when I come to pray. In my quiet moment, lying just metres away from a painting of a dove that signified so much I was thankful that I wasn’t one of the poor people sat down below, who up until only a decade ago, would have had to of squinted to see it.
Disclaimer: My trip to Vienna was sponsored by Go Real Europe. Using their detailed itinerary I was able to explore off the beaten attractions in Vienna such as the Karlskirche Church.