Architecture and space arrangement in the Augustinerkirche
The sheer spaciousness and ample proportions of the church are not easily recognised when viewed from the outside.
Entering from Josefsplatz, visitors emerge from a porch into the three-aisled nave extending in parallel to Augustinerstrasse.
The nave is 43 metres in length, 20 metres in width and 20 metres in height, followed by a choir of 40 metres in length, 10 metres in width and 24 metres in height.
The church is excellently proportioned not only for its liturgical functions but also offers generous space for organ concerts and ecclesiastical music.
The tower was built in 1652.
Additional space at ground floor level is taken up by Saint George's Chapel (Georgskapelle - built in 1341-1351), the vestry and Loreto Chapel (Loretokapelle - built in 1724).
The Georgskapelle was originally conceived as a chapel for the Order of the Knights of St George, but is now the resting place of Imperial dignitaries.
The tomb of Leopold II, as with that of Maria Christina, is empty as he was laid to rest in the Kapuzinerkirche.
Inside the Georgskapelle, visitors will immediately find their attention drawn to the "Christinendenkmal", a marble tomb and sculpture.
It was designed in 1798-1805 by the Italian classicist sculptor, Antonio Canova, as a memorial to Maria Christina (daughter of Empress Maria Theresa) - see photos at right.
The tomb is empty, however, as Maria Christina is buried in the Imperial Vault in the Kapuziner Kirche.
The Loretokapelle is situated on the right side of the church near the entrance.
At the far end of this chapel is a tiny round room called the Herzgruft ("Heart Vault"), where the hearts of 54 members of the House of Habsburg are preserved in small urns.
The oldest urn belongs to Mathias, who breathed his last in 1619. In total, the assembly includes those of nine emperors and eight empresses.
The Herzgruft can only be visited on Sundays after the conclusion of the 11.00 a.m. Mass (entrance fee, € 1,50).
Oratories are placed at two levels above the connecting corridor that allowed the imperial family to attend Mass.
(Continued on the next page.)
Photos (at right):
Picture 1: Steeple of the Augustinian Church (Augustinerkirche).
Pictures 2 & 3: The memorial to Maria Christina in the Augustinerkirche.