St. Stephen's Cathedral survived many wars and became a symbol of Vienna's freedom. Gothic building built in the XII century, the most recognizable landmark is a tiled roof with a diamond pattern, added in 1952.
Myths and Facts
The first church on this site was Romanesque, which was replaced by a much larger Romanesque basilica in 1147. A large fire in 1258 destroyed this building and at the beginning of the XIV century the construction of a real Gothic cathedral began.
The new building was also damaged during the Turkish siege of 1683, and then in the last days of World War II, when the roof caught fire. The temple was reopened in 1948, the roof was repaired and decorated with ceramic tiles donated by Viennese citizens in 1950.
Among the important events that took place in St. Stephen's Cathedral, it is worth noting the weddingMozartin 1782 and his funeral in December 1791.
What to see
The cathedral is an impressive Gothic building made of dark stone with a colorful tiled roof and a northern tower with a height of more than 135 meters, named Old Steve (Alter Steffl). Originally built between 1359 and 1433, the tower was reconstructed after severe damage during the war. Climbing 343 steps of the spiral staircase, you will see a breathtaking view of Vienna from above.
The North Tower (Nordturm) was not finished on time, so it is not like the first. It was built in the Renaissance style in 1529. From the top of this tower offers a no less beautiful view and you can look at the Pummerin bell (there is an elevator for lifting). Bell Pummerin is one of the largest bells in the world. He was poured out of a gun captured from Turk in 1683. This bell rings the whole city on New Year's Eve.
The inscription "Ö5", carved in stone on the massive front door, has important historical significance. The number 5 is the fifth letter of the alphabet - E. When added to O, it gives OE, that is, the abbreviation Österreich ( Austria ) This was a secret sign of resistance to the Nazi annexation of Austria.
The interior is interesting for many bas-reliefs and sculptures, as well as important works of art. One of the greatest treasures of Stephen’s Cathedral is the Wiener Neustadt Altar, set in 1447 in the left chapel of the choir. Richly gilded and painted, it depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by Saints Catherine and Barbara
The stone pulpit of the 15th century (a structure for reading scripture and singing) in the middle of the nave represents the images of the four fathers of the Latin Church: Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory and Augustine. A rare self-portrait of the artist Anton Pilgram under the stairs marks the transition point in the Renaissance, when artists began to sign their work instead of anonymity. The railings of the pulpit are covered with interesting symbols: lizards of animal light, toads of animal darkness and "dogs of the Lord."
It should also be noted the unusual grave of the 17th century of Emperor Frederick III, which depicts disgusting creatures trying to wake the emperor.
St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) is open from 6:00 to 22:00 on weekdays, from 7:00 to 22:00 on Sundays and public holidays. The entrance is free.
Ascent to the tower - from 9.00 to 17.30, the cost of 3 €.
Guided tours in German and English from 10.30 to 15.00, cost 4 €.
How to get there: metro lines U1, U3, stop Stephansplatz (Stephansplatz).