A Visit To The Steinhof Grounds & Otto Wagner Church

May 5, 2015 Austria One Comment 16,274 Views

Otto Wagner Church: Excursion Through The Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital.

The headline might seem a bit unreal, but it’s true; to get to the Otto Wagner Church (aka Church am Steinhof or Church of St. Leopold) in Vienna, you have to walk right through the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital, which consists of 60 pavilions, also designed by Otto Wagner. Some of them look pretty spooky, but don’t panic, we’ve been there several times and we’ve never run into any nutters (ok that’s a lie … once it actually happened, but it was cool).

Otto Wagner Church: A Must Visit In Vienna.

If you have enough time and are interested in nice architecture and beautiful parks, the Otto Wagner Church is an absolute must when visiting Vienna. Designed by Otto Wagner, it’s considered one of the most important Art Nouveau churches in the world. The copper-platted gold dome (which looks a bit like half a lemon) is visible from quite a distance.

The reason why this church was built on the highest point of a Psychiatric Hospital was because there were heavy protests back in 1904 when construction started due to it’s simplicity (the baroque style would have been much preferred by the Viennese, and even by the archduke Franz Ferdinand). It would have been impossible to built such a church anywhere else in the city, but since the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital was the largest and most modern of its kind when it opened in 1907, a modern church was an obvious choice.

Why Visit The Steinhof Grounds?

Well, apart from the Otto Wagner Church, the Steinhof Grounds are a really beautiful and soothing spot in Vienna. Soothing might not be the word that comes into mind when thinking of a park that involves passing a Psychiatric Hospital, but it’s a fact. The Grounds consist of 42.000 square metres of greenery and have long been a popular recreation area among the Viennese.

How To Get To The Otto Wagner Church:

  • Address: Baumgartner Höhe 1 , 1140 Wien
  • Option 1: Metro Line U4 until Unter St. Veit and then Bus 47A until Psychiatrisches Zentrum
  • Option 2: Metro Line U3 until Ottakring (last stop) and then Bus 48A (also starts from the bus station Dr. Karl Renner Ring) until Psychiatrisches Zentrum
If you have enough time and are interested in nice architecture, the Otto Wagner Church is an absolute must when visiting Vienna.
The church dedicated to Saint Leopold was built between 1903 and 1907 by the architect Otto Wagner, with mosaics and stained glass by Koloman Moser, and sculptural angels by Othmar Schimkowitz. The great majority of the other smaller details are the work of Otto Wagner himself.
The golden, lemon like, dome of the Otto Wagner Church can be seen almost from any higher spot in Vienna.
The Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital lies in the 14th district of Vienna, Penzing, and was built according to the plans of architect Otto Wagner and opened in 1907.
The Steinhof grounds are a popular excursion spot for Viennese on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Some of the building of the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital look quite creepy, and if you know the history, it doesn’t get that much better. There is a Holocaust memorial site for the “children of the Spiegelgrund”, since the Steinhof Hospital was a major site of Nazi-euthanasia.
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“Otto Wagner Church: Excursion Through The Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital.”

  1. Emma

    As a Viennese myself I must say, I love reading all the great articles done on Vienna. It shows this lovely city in a way that really makes you appreciate it anew.
    Thanks for that!

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