Looming over the city skyline, with four huge towers and a roof so detailed it looks like an optical illusion, St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of Vienna's most recognisable landmarks. Located at the geographical heart of the city, the Stephansplatz, and surrounded by a plethora of cafes and shops, the cathedral makes for a great starting point for a day spent walking around Austria's capital.
The foundations of this site were laid almost a millennia ago, in 1137, with the consecration of this land as a response to the growth of the town of Vienna. Although that original building was lost to a fire, the cathedral that we see today still stretches back almost as far, with the two front towers and the current west wall believed to date from the early 1200s.
Over the years, the cathedral has been added to and adapted, with a number of towers, chapels and sculptures being attached at different times. The result is a mish-mash of styles that blend the Romanesque and the Gothic, sees colourful stained glass sitting flamboyantly alongside understated clear windows, and includes a smattering of O-T-T statues just for good measure. Its gigantic doors, which as one the cathedral's original features have bore witness the whole history of the city, are decorated ornately with birds, dragons, demons, lions and monks.
Having managed to avoid any extensive damage during the Second World War, in 1945 the cathedral's wooden-framed roof caught fire and came crashing to the ground, devastating the structure. Fortunately, many of the most precious artefacts escaped damage, but the ruin still left a scar on the city's psyche. Immediately afterwards, the residents of Vienna started fundraising to rebuild their damaged centrepiece and the building fully reopened as a symbol of national unity in the early 1950s.
Do remember: It's still a working church, so multiple services are held every day.
Throughout the Year
Cathedral Admission - Age 15+
Cathedral Admission - Up to 14 years
Catacombs Tour - Age 15+
Catacombs Tour - Up to 14 years
South Tower - Age 15+
South Tower - Up to 14 years
North Tower - Age 15+
North Tower - Up to 14 years
North Tower - Kindergarden
Austria 1010 Wien