Located on Stephansplatz, in the very heart of the city of Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) is the main headquarters of the Archdiocese of Vienna. Stephansdom, the most important religious symbol of Vienna, was built on the ruins of a Romanesque church dedicated to St. Stephen built in 1147, although only the Gate of the Giants and the Pagan Towers are preserved from the ancient temple.
The Exterior of Stephansdom!
The cathedral is crowned by a large spire-shaped tower (Steffl) built in a Gothic style that, with its 137 meters high, can be seen from different points of Vienna. After an arduous climb in the form of a spiral staircase, from the lookout of the tower, you get beautiful views of the city center.
In the back of the cathedral, you can see the Roof of the Azulejos, formed by more than 250,000 tiles that had to be restored after being severely damaged during World War II. On the right side of the cathedral, there is an entrance called Puerta de Los Cantores, which could not be used by women.
The Interior of Stephansdom!
Once inside the cathedral, you can see different architectural styles from different periods; the central nave, the side chapels, and the choir come from one of the reconstructions made in Gothic style, and some of the side buildings were rebuilt in a baroque style. The interior of the cathedral houses the mortal remains of a large part of the members of the Habsburg family and was the place of wedding and later funeral of the magnificent Mozart.
The vaults of Stephansdom keep innumerable works of art from different centuries. Some of the most exciting points of the cathedral are the following:
The Bell Pummerin: the bell that hangs from the north tower was fused with the guns left by the Turkish troops when they withdrew from the capital in 1683. During the great fire of 1945, the bell fell and was destroyed. The Viennese returned to melt the remains to create the current bell. It is located in the unfinished north tower, which is accessed by elevator.
Pilgram Pulpit: a beautiful Gothic pulpit carved with great precision.
The Catacombs: excavated in the middle of the 18th century, they collect the remains of more than 10,000 Viennese citizens in their ossuaries. As the humid passages are crossed, a great chill runs through the body of the visitors.
Image of the Crucified Christ: located in the Tirana Chapel, next to the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy, there is an image of Christ who, according to legend, has a beard of human hair that continues to grow.
Museum of the Cathedral!
The Cathedral Museum houses religious paintings from the 18th century, rustic carvings from the 16th and 17th centuries and some medieval carvings representing the Virgin and Child, although, without a doubt, the most important part of the museum is the Treasury.
The catacombs of the church are separately accessible. Here remains of the Habsburg emperors are preserved (not their entire body, only their entrails!).
The Heart of Vienna!
The Stephansdom Cathedral is one of the most important visits in Vienna, and the city revolves around it. The cathedral becomes the starting point and end of the days that tourists spend in Vienna because, in the vicinity, there are a lot of monuments and places to visit, as well as restaurants and cafes.
Entrance Fee: There are separate admission prices for the church itself, the south tower, the northern tower, and the catacombs.