St. Stephen Cathedral - Stefansdom
Located on the middle reaches of the river Danube, Vienna is a European capital with a unique atmosphere, ancient culture and architecture, including the monuments of world recognition, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Among the most significant sights of Vienna is the cathedral St. Stefan. Located in the heart of the Austrian capital, the cathedral Stefansdom is not only an emblem of the city, but one of its most important monuments of Gothic architecture.
Pressed by the impressive surrounding buildings, the Gothic Cathedral of St. Stephen has a sense of grayness and unfriendliness. They remain in the background, given that this temple reflects 8 centuries of architectural changes and trends. The interior of the cathedral St. Stephen is a real treasure that stores objects and unique works of art. Most of them can be seen only here and only during the organized tours.
The foundations of the cathedral were laid back in 1147 when there appeared the first parish church. The current cathedral St Stefansdom stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. While the first structure was completed in 1160, major renovations and expansion continued until 1511.
Even today the church is continually undergoing repair and restoration projects. Between 1230 and 1245 the original Roman structure is extended to the west. Today's western wall and Roman towers date from this period. Further, in 1258 the cathedral Stefansdom suffered a huge fire, which took out most of the original Roman construction.
The church is named after St. Stephen, who is also the patron of the cathedral of the Bishop of Passau. The entire temple is built of reddish limestone. Its height reaches 136 meters and at a certain stage of history was thought to be the tallest building in Europe. The width of the cathedral St Stefansdom is about 40 meters and has a length of 107 meters.
Today, the facade of the cathedral is completely restored to its pinkish color. Before, it was a grayish color that was due to the overlay through centuries of soot and pollutants in the air. The most important religious building in Vienna, the cathedral St Stephen has witnessed many important events in the history of the Austrian nation. Its roof is one of the best moments in the structure – it is covered with many colorful tiles.
The northern 135-foot tower of the cathedral Stefansdom is known as Old Steve. Originally built between 1359 and 1433, it was completely rebuilt after heavy damage after the Second World War. If you climb the 343 spiral stairs, you will be able to enjoy the magnificent panorama over Vienna from the top of the tower. The St. Stephen Cathedral has one of the largest bells in the world. Known as the Pummerin bell, it announces the New Year to all of Vienna.
The interior of St. Stephen Cathedral was full of interesting things classified as significant and important works. One of the undisputed treasures of the cathedral altar is Wiener Neustadt. Crafted in 1447, it is located in the left chapel of the temple. The altar is richly decorated and punctuated by depictions of the Virgin Mary, situated between St. Catherine and St. Barbara.
Another altar in the middle of St. Stephen recreates the four Latin Church Fathers - Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory and Augustine. In the cathedral St Stefansdom is located the grave of Emperor Frederick III. It can be seen in the so-called apostolic chapel and the tomb is represented by stone figures of creatures trying to wake the ruler.