The Michaelerplatz or the Saint Michael Square in Vienna

The Michaelertrakt of the Hofburg Palace

The Michaelertrakt of the Hofburg Palace ©Julius!/Flick

The Michaelerplatz is one of the most famous squares in Vienna mainly because of its proximity to the Hofburg Imperial Palace and other major tourist attractions of the capital city.

The Saint Michael Square in Vienna is dominated by the impressive neo-baroque gate of the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace is located opposite to one of the first modern buildings of Vienna, the Looshaus. The oldest building of the square is the Michaelerkirche, the church that served as a church of the Austro-Hungarian emperors for a long time. In the center of the square is an open area where are lots of Roman and medieval ruins.

The Hofburg Palace

The Michaelertrakt is one of the most exuberant wings of the Imperial Palace that lies on the Saint Michael Square in Vienna. It was originally designed by Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach in 1720, but the project was delayed for a long time. The Austrian architect Ferdinand Kirschner followed Erlach’s initial plans and carried out the construction of the wing in 1893.

In the center of the wing is the impressive gate called Michaelertor. On the edges of the three entrances are colossal statues of Hercules. At each end of the Michaelertrakt are large fountains decorated with sculptures groups.

The Michaelertrakt of the Hofburg Palace

The Michaelertrakt of the Hofburg Palace ©Julius!/Flick

The Michaelerkirche or the Saint Michael Church

The Saint Michael Churc was built first in 1221 on the Saint Michael Square in Vienna and then extended several times so today is made up of a mixture of architectural styles. The tower is in Gothic style and dates back from the 14th century while the facade is neo-classical and dates back from 1792. It is interesting the group of scupltures above the porch depicting the fall of angels and was created by Lorenzo Mattielli. The Baroque interior is decorated with Renaissance frescoes and there is also a magnificent organ built in 1714 by Johann David Sieber.

The Michaelkirche in the Saint Michael Square

The Michaelkirche in the Saint Michael Square ©weisserstier/Flick

The Looshause

The Looshaus was built in 1911 on the Michaelerplatz and has generated a lot of controversy because its very modern facade and the lack of decoration, which is a very unusual thing in the Baroque era of Vienna. Adolf Loos was influenced by the birth of the skyscraper architecture he had seen on a trip to the U.S. and adopted a business building style with straight lines and without almost any decor.

The Looshaus in Vienna

The Looshaus in Vienna ©Robert Scarth/Flick

The Herberstein Palace

Opposite to the Looshaus on the Saint Michael Square in Vienna is the Herberstein Palace built between 1896 and 1897. It was made in the place of an other building, the Dietrichstein Palace, which was famous for its Griensteidl café, where a group of young poets and writers known as the Jung-Wien regularly gathered. After the cafe was demolished, they were moved to another place nearby, to the Café Central, which today is the most famous cafe in the entire city. In 1990 the Café Griensteidl reopened as well in the Herberstein Palace.

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