Day 5

Trip Start Jan 24, 2008
1
4
17
Trip End May 05, 2008


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Tuesday Caroline and I had to finish up finding our scavenger hunt places after class. We had to find St. Agustinerkirche and the Votivekirche. We used the map as a guide but we pretty much just stumbled on St. Agustinerkirche. We came up to on the side, and it is very simple on the outside. It seemed to be built right in to the adjacent buildings. The door to get in was in the front of the church and there were signs on the side of the church that pointed us in the right direction. We had to go through a small tunnel to get to the front, coming out of the tunnel I almost lost my breath at what I saw. Much to our surprise we came out onto this beautiful cobblestone courtyard, with a copper statue of a man on a horse in the center. There were huge magnificent buildings encircling the courtyard, I believe they were palaces.
    Anyway I really wanted to see the inside of this 14th century church. St. Augustine is one of my favorite saints too so I was very excited. Walking through the doors we came into an empty but absolutely beautiful church. The decorations and architecture were amazing. Even the pew were carved elaborately. There were beautiful chandeliers and paintings, and of course the organ was impressive. I made sure to light a candle for my friend whose patron saint is St. Augustine.
      Once we got our fill of this amazing Church we went back out onto the beautiful courtyard. The next place we had to find was the Votivekirche. The was the very important place because I had to write a paper on it for class. It was a good distance out of town but we eventually found it. It was under heavy construction. It looked like a very old Gothic cathedral but in reality it is Neo-Gothic, built in 1856. There were kids skate-boarding on the steps of the church and the scaffolding had billboards on them. (a little strange). Going into this church was a bit eerie. It was cold and dark coming through the large thick doors. But once we got in it was not longer eerie but incredibly breath-taking (I have yet to be in a church yet here that is not breath-taking). I will let my pictures talk about what this church looked like on the inside. The origin of this church has an unusual history. The emperor Franz Joseph was out taking a stroll one day with one of his officers, Count Maximilian Karl Lamoral O'Donnel von Tyroconnell when Janos Libenyi approached the emperor. He immediately struck the emperor from behind with a knife at his neck. Luckily, Franz Joseph almost always wore a uniform that had a high stiff collar. Even though he did get wounded the collar saved his life.       
             After the unsuccessful assignation attempt on February 18, 1853, Franz Joseph's brother Ferdinant Maximilian Joseph, the later emperor of Mexico, asked the community for dontation for a new church on the site of the attack. The church was meant to be a Votivgab, basically a thank you present to God for the rescue of Franz Joseph.
             The church plans were established in an architectural competition. Twenty-six yearo old Hienrich von Ferstel's design won. He chose to build the church in a neo-gothic style, borrowing heavily from the Gothic French Architecture. Construction began in 1956 and it was dedicated 26 years later in 1879.
             It was badly damaged in World War II so it had to be intensely restored. It is also made out of sandstone so it has to be constantly renovated because of air-pollution and acid-rain which erodes the soft-stone. 
       After we were done gawking at this church we decided it was time to go to another cafe. We found a very nice one right down the street called "Cafe Maximillian". This was a very nice little coffee house. We got some specialty coffee drink and then we saw that they had crepes on the menu so we couldn't resist. The presentation of them was just as good as the taste. They were filled with nuttella. It was soo good!!! We then looked at the time and realized we had to be back at the Theresianum in 20 minutes and we were on the other side of the city. So we had our first experience riding the U-bahn (which is the subway). Somehow we made it back in time for dinner at 6pm.
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