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Ruprechtskirche

Ruprechtskirche

Ruprechtskirche (Church of St. Ruprecht) is dedicated to the patron saint of the salt merchants of Vienna, Saint Rupert of Salzburg, and is generally considered to be the oldest church in Vienna. Even though there occured some debates which church has the oldest foundations in Vienna as discoveries of very old building substance under the Peterskirche and of old graves under the Stephansdom have been made, Ruprechtskirche has the certainity of the label ‘among the oldest’. Also the date of its foundation is not totally assured. Companions of Rupert, Cunald and Gisalrich have – according to a legend – laid the foundation for the church in 740. However, it is more plausible that is was founded between 796 and 829 when Salzburg played a strong role in the religious discourse in Vienna. Ruprechtskirche is situated on one of the oldest parts of the city, the Roman Vindobona, a former military camp with an attached civilan city on the banks of the Danube. Just around the corner of the church you can find the Marc-Aurelstraße that has its name from the Roman emperor Marc Aurelius, who used Vindobona as his headquarter during the Marcomannic Wars and died here – as transmitted from the historian Aurelius Victor – in 180. The only Romanic ecclesisastical building in town has experienced many alterations and damages in time. It was affected by heavy fires in its sorroundings in 1276 and again by shellfire during World War II. Only marginally decorated, but covered with ivy this small church with its wooden roof has kept its distinctive basic and soulful character. Maybe not as striking as the lot of Vienna’s pompous sacral buildings, Ruprechtkirche has in its elementariness as ‘the oldest church of Vienna’ a lot to tell about local history. On the frontside of the church you can find a stone-statue of St. Ruprecht, a bit hidden behind a bush and partly overgrown with moss, holding a salt-barrell in his left arm.

www.ruprechtskirche.at