Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Austria, Vienna

The Minoritenkirche, formal name: Italienische Nationalkirche Maria Schnee (English: Greyfriars Church or Minorite Church, formal "Italian National Church of Mary of the Snows") is a church built in French Gothic style in the Altstadt or First District of Vienna, Austria. The site on which the church is built was given to followers of Francis of Assisi in 1224. The foundation stone was laid by Premysl Ottokar II in 1276. Duke Albrecht II later supported the building process, especially the main portal. The Gothic Ludwig choir was built between 1316 and 1328, and used as a mausoleum in the 14th and 15th centuries. Construction of the church was completed in 1350. The top of its belltower was damaged during the first Austro-Turkish war, rebuilt, then again destroyed again during the second Austro-Turkish war; the top was then replaced by a flat roof. When Joseph II gave the church to the Italians as a present, they transferred the name Maria Schnee ("Mary of the Snows") from a nearby chapel which was subsequently destroyed.