Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Karlskirche, or Charles Church, was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1715 after Vienna was delivered from a plague epidemic in 1713. The church was named after St. Charles Borromeo, but this name was also probably chosen because the emperor who commissioned it was named Charles. The church was built by the Austrian court architect, Johann Fischer von Erlach . Construction began in 1715, and was finished in 1737, twelve years after Fischer’s death in 1723.
It was created in the high Baroque style. Its most defining feature was the two classical pillars in front of the church that were modeled on the pillars of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius in Rome. These pillars represented the imperialism of the Austrian Empire and it also was an illusion to the Straits of Gibraltar, and thus to Austria’s claim to its lost Spanish possessions. The church became a symbol of the power of the Habsburg dynasty and of Austria’s political identity.
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