Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 21st, 2010 - Wednesday

April 21st was a beautiful day, and Professor Kroll took us around Vienna to see two important churches: St. Stephens and St. Charles. Roughly every other Wednesday our Professor takes us around the city to talk and show significant monuments, buildings, sculptures, etc.

To start off the sightseeing we all hopped on the subway to Stephensplatz to see St. Stephen's Cathedral, a Gothic church that dates back to the 12th century. The cathedral is amazing to see in person, and I encourage anyone who ever travels to Vienna to make this a must-see on your list. Professor Kroll talked to us outside of the church for a while about the construction and how the city has to replace blocks from the Cathedral, which is the reason why it looks black in some areas and white in others. After being outside for awhile, we gathered inside the Cathedral and were given a tour of the inner part of the church. In order to go into some sectioned-off areas of the inside part you need to pay a few Euros.
After seeing St.Stephan's and learning about the history, we traveled to Karlsplatz to see St. Charles, a Baroque-style church. We did the same approach as St. Stephan's, first gathering in front of the building to learn about the structure and history, then touring the inside. This church is brighter, and has two victory poles on either side of it, with a green dome sphere on the top. Once we got inside we found out that Vienna has been spending 10 years remodeling it and has spent a large amount of money in this effort. Another thing that was interesting was that the bottom moulding is pure marble, but the other parts of it are fake, called French "stucko". The stucko feels nothing like marble, but does look similar from a distance. After learning about that we were able to go up to the top of the dome because of the construction taking place. This has never been allowed, because the elevator is new so most people will not be able to do this in the future once it is taken away when the restoration is complete. It was amazing, but scary, to be at the top, and you were able to see the whole city! Overall it was a great experience, with Professor Kröll providing a wealth of information.

Michael Niesen

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