St. Stephen’s Cathedral: Center And Heart Of Vienna

With its great tower and its roof of colored tiles, the main temple of the Austrian capital is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city.
St. Stephen's Cathedral: the center and heart of Vienna

St. Stephen’s Cathedral reaches into the Vienna sky. Its highest tower is no less than 136 meters, and to this is added the colorful roof. For this reason, this temple is one of the most spectacular monuments in the city and, of course, a must-see in it.

The history of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral was built by order of Rudolph IV of Austria. It is located on the place where the ruins of two churches remained. It is located in the heart of Vienna, specifically, in St. Stephen’s Square, the Stephansplatz.

Main facade of the Vienna Cathedral
Main facade of the cathedral

Its construction had a reason: the lack of churches in the twelfth century, when Vienna was in full swing. The temple began to rise in the year 1137 on an already existing parish church. The style that was used is that of the Romanesque style, although over time it has undergone several renovations.

The first was a century later, when the temple was rebuilt under the late Romanesque. Much later, in the seventeenth century, it expanded its facilities in a baroque style. One of the towers, the one to the north, has a Renaissance roof. And on the outside, the Cathedral of San Esteban has gargoyles typical of the Baroque.

In more contemporary history, the temple has been modified in part of its central nave and in the middle of the 19th century the spire of the south tower was rebuilt. In this century stained glass windows were also placed that years later would be destroyed during the Second World War.

Exterior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
Cathedral roof

The first thing that will impress you about Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is its south tower. Imposing and finished in a spire, this great tower of 136 meters high stands out in the skyline  of the city. By the way, you can go up to a viewpoint from which there are fabulous views of Vienna.

The original idea of ​​the construction was to raise two equal towers. However,  the north tower was halfway up and it is only the south tower that reaches the projected elevation. This part of the Cathedral of San Esteban is united with the choir of the Apostles inside. For this reason, the highest part has twelve pinnacles.

And the other part that stands out on the outside is the roof. Of immense dimensions, it joins the facades, chapels, naves and choir with the south tower. There are 230,000 tiles of different colors that cover the roof and that give the Cathedral of San Esteban that special charm.

What can you see inside the temple

Interior of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
Interior of the cathedral of San Esteban

The Cathedral of San Esteban is beautiful from the outside, but do not forget to visit its interior. The main altar stands out, with an altarpiece 15 meters high. In the chapels and the sides it is possible to admire other smaller but equally beautiful altarpieces.

Among the altars that occupy the pillars are those of San Juan Nepomuceno and San Carlos Borromeo, the altar of María del Sol or that of San José. In the nave of Santa María is the altar of Wiener Neustadt, from the mid-15th century. On the side altars you will see that of Saints Pedro and Pablo or that of San Francisco Javier.

You should also look at the pulpit of Pilgram, a fabulous Gothic work carved with enormous detail. And, in addition to all this, you must visit the Cathedral Museum, as it keeps works that have belonged to the temple since its creation.

To enjoy the interior of the cathedral there is a most comfortable schedule. It closes every day at ten at night, and remains open from six in the morning, except on Sundays and holidays, which opens one hour later.

In addition, the entrance is free, although in order not to miss a detail, it is advisable to pay for the audio guide, which costs 5.50 euros. Of course, you must bear in mind that the entrance to the south tower, the catacombs and the north tower must be paid separately.

Discover all the secrets of Vienna in two days

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