.....do take the time to walk fully around its exterior, and to have a good look at the main entrance (avoiding the tour touts as you do so).
The interior of the cathedral is fairly appealing but it was the Medieval carvings on the main entrance, and the gargoyles on the exterior, which really caught my interest.
The main entrance is...I believe...part of the original cathedral building (i.e. 1368-1433). It's called the Reisentor (Giant's Door) because, in the past, the fossilised thighbone of a mastodon hung over it for many years. But I liked it because of its typical early Medieval carvings. Look above the doorway itself and inside the porch for the various fantastic and symbolic creatures, the intricately-detailed column carving and the strange faces which peep out through the stone 'foliage'.
Then walk round the cathedral exterior, looking at the gargoyles: there are some wonderful Medieval ones. You can also see very clearly the blackening caused to the stonework by centuries of smoke.
At the rear of the cathedral I found a display of religious ?frescoes? ?paintings?, protected by perspex and roofed over to keep them from the weather. I couldn't find out what they were, or where they had come from, but they are clearly pretty old. They're worth looking for as well.
Even if you don't bother to go inside, or can't, a walk around the cathedral is not to be missed (assuming you have any interest in history or architecture).
The Greek Orthodox Church is one of the most ornate churches in Vienna, it is not really well known by the tourists and it is also most of the time locked and you can see it just from outside or its entrance-hall, that is also worth seeing, but less beautiful than the church.
You will find this church next to "Griechenbeisl", (which is one of the oldest restaurants in Vienna).
The Greek Orthodox church is in Fleischmarkt, a side-street of Rothenturmstrasse, when you walk from Stephansdom to Schwedenplatz.
Jesuitenkirche is in a part of Vienna that most of the tourists will pass by, although it is in the very centre of Vienna, just about 300 meters from St. Stephansdom. All of this church is so beautifully decorated with many side-altars, and each of them differs in color and design. When you click on my pictures, you will see that the columns are made of marble in different colors and also the design of the columns differs from one side-altar to the other.
You may visit Jesuitenkirche freely and without restrictions during the day !
Dr. Ignatz-Seipel-Platz is the adress of Jesuitenkirche
Simply walk from Rothenturmstrasse through Baeckergasse in order to get there !
Jesuitenkirche was built by the italian architect Andrea Pozzo, who made also the great frescos at the ceiling of the church. That ceiling gives you the impression of seeing domes and other architecture, that does not exist in reality. The baroque church dates back to 1703 and it is totally over-loaded with great golden ornaments and precious marble. On both sides each of the side-altars have 2 solid columns made of colored marble and each of them has also a different design - see my 1st picture.
Also the organ looks really beautiful and includes a clock !
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You can enter Jesuitenkirche freely and without restrictions
daily between 07.00a.m. and 06.30p.m.
The church is in Dr-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz, next to Akademie der Wissenschaften,
about 500 meters from Lugeck & Rothenturmstrasse.
Next U-bahn-stations are Stephansplatz & Schwedenplatz.
climb up the small spiral staircase of St. Stepens Cathedral - the stairs are just 80 cm wide and are the same for up & down Unfortunately the spire is under repair at the moment and so the view is a bit restricted at some places. I made a red dot on the pic, in order to show, how high the " Turmstube " - the small " room with a view " is situated.
The " Room with a view " offers a souvenirshop and 4 large windows to look out and this room was used for various purposes in the past :
It was a watch-tower in order to see enemies approaching Vienna
and until 1950 it also was used to watch out day and night for fire anywhere in Vienna
NO RESTROOMS up there !!!
When you have the time to be at the Haupttor / main-gate of St.Stephen in the late evenin g or at night, you will see all of the great details best, because they will be lighted untill midnight. During the days the sun never shines on them and plenty of people will use the entrance, pushing you through the gate. At night the iron-fence of the Haupttor will be locked and you may look through it easily.
Stephansdom is open daily 06.00a.m. till 10.00p.m.
churchservice is daily at 06.30+07.15+08.00a.m. and 12.00+06.00+07.00p.m.
organ-concerts are from may till November
Heidenturm is the unfinished spire of Stephansdom / St.Stephens cathedral and on its top you have a great view at the colored tiles of the cathedral and you may see there the biggest church-bell in Austria : The "Pummerin".The first Pummerin was made of some melted cannons that the Turques had left back after the siege of Vienna in 1683.In 1945 this bell fell down and broke, but it was melted and rebuilt again.
While you have to climb up the other spire step by step, a lift will take you quickly on top of Heidenturm. You may find the entrance to that lift inside the cathedral, on the left side.
The fee for the lift is about 3 Euros, almost the same as you have to pay at the other spire to walk up the spiral stairs.
Everybody knows Mariahilferstrasse - the most important shopping-street in Vienna, BUT almost nobody knows Mariahilfer-kirche, a pilgrim-church that gave the name to that whole street. The church dates back to 1683 and got the name by the pilrim-church on Mariahilf-berg in Passau. Take a look inside that church, it was recently restored and looks really great ! When you enlarge my pics, you may see a funny detail in the facade : it seems that an angel is trying to escape with the golden stick of the bishop.
In front of Mariahilferkirche you will find a daily market with various stands offering great austrian food-specialities.
Mariahilferkirche is open daily between 08.00a.m. and 07.00p.m.
Leopoldskirche am Spiegelgrund - is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau Churches in Vienna - it was under re-construction for several years and was opened again for the public end of 2005 !
Leopoldskirche am Spiegelgrund is situated inside the park of a hospital for mentally sick people (Nervenheilanstalt Spiegelgrund) - but you will be able to enter there without problem and the gates are open all day !
You can also walk about 20 minutes from the gates to the church that will be locked most of the week. Its gate will be open for tourists every Saturday at 03.00pm for a guided tour and an entrancefee, at 04.00 pm verybody can go inside for free and at 05.00pm they will close again for the rest of the week !
The pulpit in Stephansdom is a gothic masterpiece by Meister Pilgram (= Master Pilgram ) - and when you get close to the pulpit, you will see Master Pilgram looking out of a window at the foot of the pulpit - this sculpture is called "Der Fenstergucker"(see my picture). The 4 large sculptures around the pulpit show the "4 tempers", the 4 fathers of the church. Normally a pulpit is built in the forward-part of the church,next to the main altar, But this one is built the back of the cathedral. Take a closer look at the hand-rail of the gothic steps : several rats seem to crawl up there. It is a pity, my pics about it are not good enough to be shown here, because the use of flashlight is forbidden in the church of course !
Take a closer look at the gothic hand-rail leading up to the famous pulpit of Stephansdom : You will see that hundreds of small animals - frogs, amphibians, snakes and other nasty creatures are crawling up that handrail, BUT at the top-end there is a dog, yelling at them and pushing them back down again... This dog is the symbol for Dominican monks preaching the words of god against the evil, and canis in latin is the dog, so the expression Dominicaner / dominicans means "cani domini" the "dogs of god"
It is a pity, that it is really hard to get a perfect picture of that handrail and the dog on top of it. Even with flash it did not work out well !! ;-((
"Zahnweh-Herrgott" is a very popular sculpture, next to the entrance to the Krypta of Stephansdom. It gives you the feeling, that Jesus has aching teeth. (Zahnweh = aching teeth in german)
My 2nd pic shows the entrance-gate to the vestry - at the right nave of the church - has a beautiful door-knocker and lovely decorations.
My 3rd picture shows Master Pilgram - the architect of the Stephansdom - under the organ-seat at the left nave of the church.
The 4th picture is Katharinenkapelle with a beautiful altar and a baptismal font with ornate gothic woodcarvings.
My 5h picture : the main nave of Stephansdom with the famous gothic pulpit on the left and various small baroque side-altars next to the gothic columns.
The tomb of Friedrich III is another highlight inside of Stephansdom - you may see it at the very end of the right nave of the cathedral, and you may get rather close to it ONLY, when you attend the guided tour ! The tomb dates back to the 15th century and was made of red marble : a large ornate sarcophage with a fence around of it. Take a closer look at this fence, and you will see various animal-sculptures crawling around the sarcophage. Emperor Friedrich III donated the Wiener Neustaedter Altar and so he was also buried inside the cathedral.
A picture of that tomb looks best , when you DON'T flash !!
see my lousy 3rd picture !
Tirna-Kapelle (sometimes also called Kreuzkapelle) is in the back of Stephansdom, close to the Dom-Shop. It is just a small chapel with a beautiful altar and the most beautiful iron-fence in front of it. That fence is normally locked all day, but it is well worth to have a look through that fence in order to see the marblestone covering the tomb of Prinz Eugen. Prinz Eugen was the most powerful and successful general of his time, in summer he lived in Schloss Belvedere and in winter he had a Palais in Himmelpfortgasse (close to Kärntnerstrasse).
Take a look at the iron-fence of Tirna-Kapelle and compare it with the ornate fence of Belvedere, they really look very similar to me !
Wiener Neustaedter Altar in Stephansdom dates back to the year 1447 and it was donated by Friedrich III. You may see this great gothic altar at the end of the left nave of Stephansdom, but you may get close to it ONLY during the guided tour through the cathedral. Such a guided tour is 4 Euros and you have to gather inside the church at a place next to the iron-fence in the back of the cathedral. This tour is also your only chance to get closer to the tomb of Kaiser Friedrich III (at the end of the right nave) and to the main altar with the paintings by Tobias Pock and sculptures by Johann Jakob Pock dating back to 1647.