For one evening each year, Christian places of worship in Vienna (and throughout Austria) throw their doors open to visitors for the Long Night of the Churches (German: Lange Nacht der Kirchen)…
- Dozens of churches and other religious institutions in Vienna participate
- Events through the evening range from jazz recitals to rooftop tours
- 2021 date: provisionally May 28 – free entry
- See also: Long night of Museums
What’s it all about?
(Official logo for the cancelled 2020 event)
The Long Night of the Churches aims to engage people with the work and role of religious institutions in modern society, but the event is not nearly as formal as that sounds.
Many churches put on concerts, readings, and recitals, for example. Others present their social and charitable projects. Some simply let you enjoy the evening ecclesiastical atmosphere. And that’s just scratching the surface of the variety of options available.
The night cuts across all Christian denominations; it’s not just the Catholic churches that join in, but also institutions affiliated with, for example, the Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and Baptist churches, to name but a few. Around 150,000 people typically attend each year.
The 2021 Long Night of the Churches takes place on Friday, May 28th. The bells typically ring in the start at just before 6pm. (The 2020 event did not take place).
Around 190 places in and near Vienna usually participate in the event. The full programme for the city should appear at the official website (Google translate is your friend): expect a considerable range of activities to choose from.
So you might come across acapella jazz or a performance of a Beethoven string quartet. Perhaps visit a dance workshop or an organ recital. Taste food and wines from the orient, witness a live recording of a radio show, or enjoy views of nighttime Vienna from the balcony of a baroque church. (You can see what I mean with variety.)
N.B. English-speakers might feel more comfortable at the events hosted by Vienna’s Anglican church (assuming they participate): Christ Church Vienna (address Jauresgasse 17-19, 1030 Vienna).
Ticket & visitor tips
The good news is that all the events associated with the Long Night of the Churches are free: just turn up. Though, obviously, you might want to dip your hand into a pocket and make a donation or two.