The roof is ornately patterned rich in colors and covered by glazed tiles. The tiles on the south side form a mosaic of the double-headed eagle, representing the symbol of the Habsburg dynasty.
The Capistran Chancel is the pulpit, now outside the church, from which San Giovanni da Capistrano and general Janos Hunyadi preached a crusade in 1456 to hold back muslim invasion of christian Europe.
There are 18 altars in the main part of the cathedral, the most famous is High Altar built from 1641 to 1647 in a Baroque style. The altar represents the stoning of St. Stephen.
The stone pulpit is a masterwork of late Gothic sculpture. For long time it was attributed to Anton Pilgram but today Nikolas Gerhaert van Leiden is thought more likely to be the carver.
Inside the cathedral we find the tombs and catacombs where more than 1000 people was buried. The most famous are tombs of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Frederick III, Rudolf IV and 78 containerswith the bodies, hearts or viscera of 72 members of the Habsburb dynasty, all containers preserved in the Ducal Crypt.
The first organ is mentioned in 1334, so the cathedral has an organ tradition, but not one of the old organs survived. After the fire of 1945, the new organ was finished in 1960 by Michael Kauffmann. It is a large electric organ with 125 voices and 4 manuals. In 1991 the choir organ was added , it is mechanical organ with 56 voices and 4 manuals.
Stephansdom is the Cathedral of Vienna and the seat of Archbishop. It has major importance in the history of Austria.
The first parish church in Romanesque style was built here in 1137 on a site of an ancient cemetery from Roman times. It was consecrated in 1147 and dedicated to Saint Stephen. The first structure was completed in 1160 but the major reconstruction and expansion lasted until 1511. The present day west wall and Romanesque towers date from 1230-1245. Great fire in 1258 destroyed much of original building, the reconstruction works over the ruins had been replaced in 1263, when the church was consecrated for the second time. The Gothic Albertine Choir was added in 1340, and finally in 1359 Duke Rudolf IV ordered new additions which removed the second church (from 1263), leaving Stephansdom as it appears today. The south tower was completed in 1433 and the vaulting of the nave in 1474. The north tower was planned in 1450 but its construction was abandoned in 1511.
Built of limestone, the cathedral is 107m long, 40m wide and 136m tall. The south tower is a dominant feature of the Vienna skyline. During the Battle of Vienna, in 1683, the tower served as the main observation and command post for the defence of the city.
The main entrance to the church is named Reisentor (The Giant's Door). The tympanum, above the door, depicts Christ Pantocrator flanked by two winged angels. On the both sides of the main door are two Heidenturm (Roman Towers) and each stand of about 65m tall. The Roman Towers and the Giant's Door are the oldest parts of the church, from 1137.
It is the most famous Cathedral in Austria. It could be seen from in - detail Gothic architecture, monumental. This Gothic masterpiece is pictured on Austrian one euro cent. I haven’t got opportunity even to take photo of this entire Cathedral, only a part of it.
It was built in 1147; the tall of the tower is 137 m. Climbing to the top of this church could be very hard work, but worth doing it because of breathtaking panorama of Vienna. Permission to the top of the church costs 3 euros for adult, 1 euro for child. More photos of this beauty are in my travelogue.
I like to head straight for somewhere for a good arial view of any city I visit. The quite splendid Stephansdom (St Stephens cathedral) has a great view from its tall south tower. This is not for the unfit or faint-hearted because there are over 330 winding steps up a spiral staircase to negotiate!
Access is from the street and the cost is 4 euros per adult (2013). On the way up (or down) you have great close-up views of the fabulous multi-coloured tiled roof, as well as cleverly placed windows for views of the gargoyles. The stairs open out unexpectedly into a gift shop, with a depressed shop assistant selling postcards and religious souvenirs. There is a panoramic view from the large windows, over the rooftops, spires, domes and neighbours' gardens.
Great fun and very good exercise!!
St. Stephen's Cathedral is located in the centre of Vienna, on the site where an old parish church was built in the middle of the 12th century. This old church was extended, modified, and rebuilt over the next 300 years, and the present look of the Romanesque and Gothic style cathedral dates from around the 15th century.
The cathedral is huge; 107 meters long, 40 meters wide, the North Tower is 68 meters tall, and the South Tower (the highest point) is 136 meters tall. The cathedral is rather dark inside and not easy to see all the details. The roof is covered by glazed tiles, and there are some famous paintings, around 20 altars (like the High Altar and the Wiener Neustadt Altar), pulpits, and several chapels around the cathedral. It is free to enter, but you'll only have access to the sides of the cathedral. If you want to visit the main part you'll have to pay a fee! You can also join different guided tours, for instance the Cathedral Tour, Treasure, Catacombs, or climb the South Tower.
I paid the fee to have a closer look at the main part of the cathedral, and I also joined the tour to the catacombs. Thousands of people are buried here, and you will see some skulls and bones in the catacombs. But also the crypts of the Bishops - and tombs and urns with remains of the members of the Habsburg Empire.
I was lucky enough to be at the Stephansdom for Christmas Eve, and couldn't believe I was able to make it into Midnight Mass in the main Cathedral of one of Europe's major capital cities. It was an impressive experience, from the sound of the bells calling the faithful to worship, through the procession of the Archbishop and his entourage, to the choir singing in the transept.
Stephansdom is not the most impressive Cathedral I've seen in Europe, and it was covered in scaffolding when I was there. It's not all that pretty or stunning, and the wonderful architecture that abounds in Vienna made it feel rather ordinary, relatively. Even the interior wasn't all that impressive. The best thing about the Cathedral is its location, right in the center of everything. This makes it a great point to navigate from.
I won't bore you with a poor rehashing of the Cathedral's history, as you can read an excellent article on that at Wikipedia in the link below.
The Inner City is known for its most famous attractions like the St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg palace. The St Stephen’s Cathedral, also known as Stephansdom in German language, was originally a basilica that was built on a Romanesque sanctuary in the 12th century. Today the Cathedral is known as a premier Gothic structure in Europe that is filled with spectacular sculptures, paintings, wood carvings and altars.
The Stephansdom (Cathedral of Saint Stephen is the seat of a Roman Catholic Archbishop, a beloved symbol of Vienna and the site of many important events in Austria's national life.
The cathedral had previously been thought that the church had been built in an open field outside the city walls, but during excavations for a long-awaited heating system during 2000, graves carbon-dated to the fourth century were found 8 feet (2.5 m) below the surface.
The 430 skeletons were then moved to the catacombs. Thousands of others must have been buried in the ancient cemetery of this neighborhood starting in Roman times, and this (instead of St. Ruprecht's Church) could be the oldest church site in Vienna.
The basic structure of this church was completed in 1160. Stephansdom, or St. Stephen's Cathederal in English, is the most important church of the city and the seat of the Archdiocese of Vienna. However, the main doorway and twin towers of the facade are all that remains of the original church. The church was reconstructed after an important fire occurred in the 13th century, and it was also enlarged on several occasions, eventually reaching its current length of 107 m and width of 47 m in the 15th century. The cathedral's most distinctive features, its 137-m high spire and tiled roof featuring the double-headed eagle coat of arms of the Habsburg, were completed at the same time. The cathedral was saved fom destruction during World War II when a German officer decided to ignore the orders he had received to destroy it and leave it in ruins. However, it was partially damaged when surrounding builidings were bombed and caught fire. The cathedral reopened in 1952. Inside, the magnificient high altar is flanked by several smaller altars in side chapels. Guided tours of the cathedral and catacombs are offered in English daily and might be the best way to discover all of its splendors. The spire also features an observatory that's not to be missed; without a doubt, it offers the most wonderful views of the city!
Two years ago I complained here about the very dark interior of the cathedral. On my new visit (end May 2012) the church was transformed in a festival of polychromatic floodlights!
Everywhere red, mauve, bleu, orange lights illuminating the floor, walls and ceiling. It was most surprising. Furthermore the windows were clad with stripes of colored transparent plastic.
I suppose it was the intention to create the same effect as that when the sun is shining through stained windows. I found it somewhat exaggerated but certainly spectacular.
The renovation works at the main entry called the "Riesentor" Giant's Door and the "Heidentürme" towers are now finished so that you get a nice view standing in the Jasomirgstrasse. The name for these towers on the west front derives from the fact that they were constructed from old structures built by the Romans ("Heiden" means pagan) during their occupation of the area.
Renovation works are still going on at the main tower.
On my previous trip I visited the church and the catacombs and must confess that I was not "begeisterd" to use a German word meaning enthusiasmed.
From outside I certainly appreciate the originality of the roof decoration (makes me think of Burgundy) but I have seen other Gothic edifices in Europe making me feel more enthusiast.
It is not a matter of not looking enough at the Stephansdom because on this new trip my hotel room had a view on the main entry called the "Riesentor" Giant's Door and the "Heidentürme", that each stand at approximately 65 meters tall. The name for these towers on the west front derives from the fact that they were constructed from old structures built by the Romans ("Heiden" means pagan) during their occupation of the area.
This part, the oldest of the church, was undergoing renovation (2011). To hide the works a canvas painted like the real church looked covers the walls. Photo 1 shows the renovated part, photo 2 the works going on above the entrance hidden by the painted canvas. The renovation is now (2012 ref. my new tip) finished.
I also went inside several times but did not pay for an audio guide because the church was so dark that I would have needed infrared spectacles to see something of the announced "wealth of art treasures".
I know some churches where the visitor has to put some coins in a trunk to get light but at St. Stephen's Cathedral I saw no lights and found no paying device to get some.
There are guided tours; maybe that the guides have flashlights.
Sorry for this negative comment but I can only tell you what I did not see.
Opening times with some restriction during services:
Monday to Saturday: 06:00 - 22:00
Sundays and Public Holidays: 07:00 - 22:00
Monday to Saturday
between 9 am and 11.30 am, and
between 1 pm and 4.30 pm
Sundays and Public Holidays
between 1 pm and 4.30
all year round, takes about 30 minutes, meeting point: pulpit
Monday to Saturday: 10.30 am and 3 pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: 3 pm
Monday to Sunday: 9 am - 5.30 pm
St. Stephens Cathedral and Stephensplatz: Of course, one would have to be blind to miss it!
This Cathedral is not only a heritage and cultural site, a national emblem of Austria, a landmark in the city of Vienna and a world class tourist site. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. Most importantly, it is an active parish for the people of Vienna. This was the parish Mozart went to worship and he was married here as well.
Due to historical events, this modern version we see is the third built on this site and it is admired by everyone who sees it.
In fact I notice that in several other cities I had visited, when we went to the local Cathedral I was told that their's was the, "St. Stephens" of that place. They may be lovely, but they fall short of the original which is worth seeing. Don't miss a closer view.
Saint Stephen's Cathedral
This huge building dominates the centre of Vienna. It is hard to fit into a photo! I have been inside once and remember it has a very dark interior. This year we just looked from the outside. There are some lovely carvings on the outside walls. The cathedral dates from 1147. The cathedral was badly damaged in the second world war, but the south tower survived intact and is seen as a symbol of the indestructibility of the Viennese.
The Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral - or "Steffl" as it is often called in local dialect) Vienna's main church, see of the Archbishop of Vienna and surely one of the most visited sights of the country. It dates back to the consecration of a parish church on the same spot in 1147, but there may have been even older churches on the same spot. During a restauration in the yaer 2000, a couple of graves from the 4th century were discovered. St. Stephen's got most of its present shape under Rudolf IV in the 14th century so that the predominant style is Gothic. This was also kept after the renovation needed after the Turkish Siege of 1634. The Western entrance with the "Heathen's Towers" is Romanesque and one of the oldest parts of the building. The church was heavily destroyed in WWII during a fire in 1945. The glazed roof tiles (1490) are highly decorated with patterns and coats of arms and can be seen from many parts around the City. The South Tower is Vienna's highest point and is the home of around a dozen of bells, including the "Kleine Glocke" (small bell) from around 1280. The most famous is the "Pummerin" (Europe's second most heavy bell) which was destroyed in 1945 as well but recast in 1951.
Entry to the church itself is free, you have to pay however for guided tours or to visit the South Tower. Contrary to similar churches, there is a lift so that the belltower is also accessible for those who don't like narrow staircases (although the staircase option is only available fro emergencies and not for regular visitors). Please be advised however, that it can be windy up there and that there are a couple of steps which are not suitbale for everyone.
Austria is a very Catholic country and this place is after all not a museum but a place of worship. Thus expect that some areas may be closed for visitors and that you might be "invited" to leave one of those areas, if you do not want to stay and pray. That, however, should not have an effect on your visit. The only really negative impact is the smell of horse dung (from the horses and carriages parking in front of the church) in the summer months. And if the horses deter you from entering the Cathedral, you can have a look at it at every Austrian 10 Euro cent coin.