Historicist Monster-Church in Vienna:
Kirche zum Heiligen Franz von Assisi

The „Kirche zum Heiligen Franz von Assisi" or „Trinitarierkirche" is an enormous Historicist church in Vienna′s second district, the Leopoldstadt. It is situated on the Mexikoplatz square just by the Danube. Therefore, the church is often called "Kirche am Mexikoplatz". The Mexikoplatz ("Mexico Square") commemorates the fact that Mexico was the only country apart from the Soviet Union, that protested against the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi Germany.

The Trinitarierkirche is one of the biggest churches of Vienna, but widely neglected by tourists - for a good reason, it is not a particularly exciting building. Neither in the sense of its architecture, nor in terms of general appeal. If you have read other articles of mine here on TourMyCountry.com, you will have noticed that I am anything but a fan of historicist architecture. The only reason why I make an exception for the Trinitarierkirche and write an article on it is because of its sheer size.

The construction of the church started in the late 19th century, originally for the golden jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The opening ceremony was held upon this occasion in 1898 - which was a bit of a cheat, since the construction of the Trinitarierkirche was actually not completed until 1913.

Architecture of Assisi Kirche am Mexikoplatz

The architect in charge was Victor Luntz. The church is a characteristic, very high building made of red brick; the main bell tower is the highest feature of it and as wide as the main nave; this gives the entire church the impression of a tower. The style resembles Romanesque architecture. The Trinitarierkirche was modelled after the church Groß-Sankt-Martin in Cologne; in the Rhine valley, there are several historicist churches in similar style.

In the year of the opening (1898), Empress Elisabeth was assassinated in Geneva. This event is commemorated in the Trinitarierkirche in a small chapel called "Elisabeth-Kapelle", the church itself is also called "Gedächtniskirche" (Commemoration Church) for this reason. This chapel is modelled after the Pfalzkapelle in Aachen, Germany (where Charlemagne, among many later German Emperors, had his coronation). I find the church generally unappealing and strange. The Mexikoplatz is also known for a memorial that commemorates the Austrian vote for the Anschluss of 99.73 percent; the memorial is somewhat controversial, since the election was anything but free.

Attractions nearby are rather sparse; have a look at the Donauinsel; beyond is the UNO City and the Alte Donau. In the other direction, you get to the Messezentrum and the Prater area with the amusement park and Ferris Wheel. The Augarten is in walking distance, but the area is not very nice, so I recommend to travel using the subway. Further north on the Handelskai, you get to the Millennium City; on the other side of the Danube to the Donauturm.

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Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten)- 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

German Wikipedia on the Franz von Assisi Kirche am Mexikoplatz

City of Vienna on the Anschluss Memorial Mexikoplatz