St Stephan’s cathedral is, thanks to its multicolored rooftiling and the impressive Gothic style “Steffl” tower, one of the most recognized landmarks and symbols of Vienna.
Construction work on Stephansdom commenced in 1137, with major expansion work continuing until 1511…
…and this long time span is why you’ll find several architecture styles used on the church, most importantly Romanesque and Gothic.
Initially, the church was consecrated in 1147, in a ceremony witnessed by:
- Conrad III of Germany,
- Otto, Bishop of Freising, and
- an impressive range of Germany nobility…
…most of them on their way to the 2nd crusade.
PHOTO: Closeup of Stephansdom’s colorful mosaic tiled roof, as well as of the Romanesque tower, one of oldest sections in the building. The roof mosaic is made out of 230,000 handpicked tiles.
PHOTO: The church’s original pulpit, pictured, is one of the world’s most famous ones, today located on the courtyard. John Capistrano gave his famous sermon from this very pulpit, which started the 1454 crusade, ending Ottoman conquest of Europe.
The most famous section in the cathedral is its southern, 136-meter tall tower, locally nicknamed as “Steffl“, a landmark in the city silhouette.
The “Steffl” tower has many stories attached to its long history.
For example, it was an important observation point during the Ottoman siege of Vienna of 1529…but “Steffl” has been also extensively been used as a fire observation point, up until 1955, in fact.
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven, meanwhile, realized the extend of his deafness, as he saw birds flying out of the Stephansdom bell tower, but did not hear the sound of the 23 massive church bells.
Biggest of these church bells is “Pummerin“, made in 1711 out of the cannons left here by Ottoman forces, after an attempt at conquering Vienna.
At a weight of 20 tons, it is the biggest church bell in Austria, and 2nd biggest in Europe, with only the church bell in Cologne cathedral being bigger.
Inside the church, Stephansdom is as impressive for its interiors as it is famous for its exteriors.
You can participate in a guided tour of the interiors, and these tours leave from a marked place inside the church.
However, sections of the cathedral require purchasing a separate entrance ticket.
St Stephan’s Cathedral
Address: Stephansplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Official website: Stephansdom.at
Next to the church, you’ll find a Stephansdom Museum, containing religious art from the cathedral collections.