St. Stephen's Cathedral


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St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

Probably one of the greatest Gothic edifices in Europe, St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom to the Austrians) is located right in the center of the city of Vienna (U1/U3 Stephansplatz).
St. Stephen's is the most important religious building in Austria's capital and the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop (Erzbischof) of Vienna.

Architectural History of St. Stephen's

St. Stephen's Cathedral

With the oldest remaining Romanesque parts - the Giant Gate (Riesentor) and the Towers of the Heathens (Heidentuerme) dating from the 13th century, most of the cathedral dates from the Gothic.
Duke Rudolph IV of Habsburg, in 1359, laid the cornerstone of the Gothic nave with its two aisles. The South Tower was completed in 1433 (the Viennese have given it the nickname Steffl, which also denotes the whole cathedral). After 1511, building in the Gothic style ceased; the unfinished North Tower was capped with a makeshift Renaissance spire in 1579.
During the 18th century, the cathedral was decorated with Baroque altarpieces - the panel of the main altar shows the stoning of its namesake St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christendom.
Built of limestone, the cathedral is 107 meters (350 ft) long, 40 meters (131 ft) wide, and 136 meters (445 ft) tall at its highest point. Over the centuries, soot and other forms of air pollution accumulating on the church have given it a black color, but recent restoration projects have again returned the building to its original white.

Visits to St. Stephen's Cathedral

Inside St. Stephen's

The Cathedral is always open to the public during the following Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday:
6 am - 10 pm
Sundays and Public Holidays:
7 am - 10 pm

Naturally you are as well welcome to take part in the church services which take place on Sundays and holidays at 7h30 am, 9h30 am, 12h00 noon, 6h00 pm, 7h00 pm and 9h00 pm.

Make sure to visit St. Stephen's official website for details on the opening hours, Holy Masses, concerts and events and further infos.

Exchange Student Voices

Inside St. Stephen's Cathedral

"Perhaps the most impressive piece of architecture I witnessed was the Stephansdom Cathedral. This 13th century cathedral, ordained with gargoyles and classic gothic architecture, rivals the likes of Notre Dame. The centuries of grime collected on the limestone outside only seemed to add to the dark, extraordinarily eerie radiance of the building. Walking through this modern city for the first time, not knowing what to expect, and suddenly stumbling upon such a breathtaking monument of this brilliantly gothic architecture, was haunting. I felt humbled to be standing in front of this magnificent monstrosity. I felt what the peasants of medieval Europe must have felt when they were confronted with the awesome power that the Catholic Church seemed to flaunt in those days: absolute fear.
Upon stepping inside, the first thing I noticed was the tall ceiling being held up by several columns which were heavily decorated with elaborate sculptures. These columns were decorated with figures, raised several feet in the air, which looked like Catholic ministers, looking down with a look of rage, ordering any sinners below to kneel and repent. Turning around, I saw above me an enormous organ, with pipes so imposing that it seemed one blow would be enough to send the devil himself running in fear. This cathedral was serious business; it was images like the ones within this Cathedral that gave the Catholic church its reputation as such a feared power in those dark days. Instead of forgiveness and salvation, the feelings I walked away with, after absorbing the building's aura, were trepidation and the fear of inevitable damnation. I could almost hear the voices of souls begging for forgiveness, at the mercy of the all Holy power of the image of God."
(by Dorian Pippa, USA)

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