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Vienna - Three lesser known churches(2)

My second choice is the former Jesuit church, now called the University Church. This lies in the maze of narrow streets north east of the cathedral at the end of the Sonnenfelsgasse. Of the City centre churches this was my favourite among many superb breathtaking churches, St Carl, St Peter both with wonderful large domes, and the intricate Schottenkirche to mention three baroque examples.

Jesuitenkirche (Universitätskirche)

This lovely facade greets you, at the end of the street as it opens out into a small square in front of the church. The church was founded by Ferdinand II and completed in 1623. It is dedicated to St Ignatius, St Francis Xavier and the Assumption of Our Lady.

The interior is breathtaking - and at last I have changed to colour pics! - and was altered by Andrea Pozzo 1703-7. Frescoes, colour, rich fittings and gold, a lot of gold. Giant fluted Composite pilasters divide the bays and carry a frieze and entablature above which spring cross arches that divide the vault with one notable exception (see below). The large E reredos is almost as wide and as high as the church and forms a veritable screen to the E apse. Handsome set of pews too.

The side chapels are unusual too, with upper galleries carried on columns of differing design and with charming balustraded openings towards the nave. The pulpit is one of the wonders of Vienna, carved in Walnut with inlaid mother of Pearl and gilding.

The frescoes are truly wonderful. The second and third bays are treated as one large square and are painted with a magnificent trompe l'oeuil dome.

page updated 8th March 2000