St. Aegidius Church in Pötzleinsdorf, Vienna:
A Posh Part of Vienna with Village Heritage
The Kirche St. Aegidius zu Pötzleinsdorf, also called Ägidiuskirche Wien, is a Baroque church right next to the well-known Geymüller Schlössl in the 18th district of Vienna, Währing. The 18th district is generally known as an exclusive residential district with many embassies - whilst this is only partly true (Währing does have a few shabby neighbourhoods around the notorious Gürtel Road), the area of Pötzleinsdorf is certainly a playground for Vienna′s rich and famous. Most international visitors of Vienna don′t make it to Pötzleinsdorf; however, I quite like the area for the Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark - in my humble opinion one of Vienna′s nicer parks.
The Ägidiuskirche can be found right behind the park, just off the Geymüller Schlössl. The latter is now a branch of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum for Applied Art). The Kirche St. Aegidius is not to be confused with the Haydnkirche in the 6th district Mariahilf, which is dedicated to the same saint.
The oldest record for a church near the site of today′s Ägidiuskirche dates back to 1529 - ironically the year of the First Turkish Siege of Vienna. At the Second Turkish Siege of Vienna, this chapel was destroyed in 1683. The chapel was re-built and extended into a proper church in 1746. This new parish church burnt down only four years after its completion - a fire that destroyed a larger part of the village Pötzleinsdorf, to which it belonged. 30 out of 32 houses of the village were destroyed.
St. Aegidius Pötzleinsdorf: One of Vienna's Hidden Treasures
In 1752, the re-construction of the church was started and the building re-created from scratch. This new church was built on a patch of land slightly off the original location of the church; the land was donated by the Countess Negrelli. The exact location of the former church is unknown until today. The resulting - current - Ägidiuskirche became the parish church for Pötzleinsdorf in 1784. Note that the church is built in proper Baroque style; the parish church of Nussdorf, which was built at approximately the same time, is drastically different in late-Baroque to Classicist style. In 1964, Pötzleinsdorf opened a new, modern parish church not far from St. Ägidius. Since then, the Ägidiuskirche is not a parish church anymore, but a "Filialkirche".
To visitors, the church appears to be somewhat forgotten. Since a renovation in 2002, the church looks all neat and tidy again. The Ägidiuskirche is a simple, single-nave church with a tower that is integrated into the facade. Originally, the tower was home to two bells - both of them were used for making ammunition in WWI. Today, there are four bells in the tower. Note the little fountain outside of the church; this spring was said to have curing power. Back in the days that probably meant that it was less contaminated than other springs.
The interiors are consistent with the late Baroque style of the outside. The central feature is the main altar with a painting by Johann Nepomuk Steiner, who also painted the central paintings for the side-altar. The Ägidiuskirche contains several smaller pieces of artwork from the 17th and 18th century; the organ dates back to 1816, the pulpit to 1835. The Via Dolorosa outside of the church was created in 1944. The church is often used for private ceremonies such as weddings or baptisms. There are no sightseeing attractions nearby beyond the mentioned park and the Geymüller Schlössl; however, the Heurige town of Neustift am Walde and hiking routes into the Vienna Woods can be approached from the Ägidiuskirche.
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