Votive Church (Votivkirche) 


The Votive Church is located at Rooseveltplatz. In 1853 the Emperor Franz Joseph escaped an assassination attempt on his life by the Hungarian Janos Libenyi. The Emperor was stabbed in the collar with a knife but survived the wound. Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the Emperor’s brother, then started a campaign to build a church to thank God for saving the Emperor’s life. Donations were asked for this task throughout the empire. The architect chosen was Heinrich Ferstel and he designed the church in a Neo-Gothic style. The construction started in 1856 and was finished in 1879 on the silver anniversary of the Emperor and his wife Empress Elisabeth. The church has two towers that are 99 meters high and there are three naves. The church was constructed using white sandstone and has to be constantly cleaned because of air pollution and acid rain, which changes the color of the soft stone. The main altar has a gilded retable and over it is a baldacchino, created by the artist Joseph Glasser.