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St. Stephen's Cathedral

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St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral is known all over the world: gothic style, huge spire, centuries-old history, construction that took almost 150 years - all this attracts tourists from all over the world. The cathedral is visible from almost all areas of Vienna: many city tours begin with a visit to this attraction. It is interesting and architectural splendor, and the interior, and important relics, and under the eastern part of the cathedral are the catacombs in which many prominent figures of Austria are buried.

Cathedral History

  • 1137-1147 - the construction of the first church on the site of the modern cathedral
  • 1258 - a fire during which the church was destroyed
  • 1263 - construction of a similar church in the Romanesque style
  • 1359 - the decision to erect a new cathedral in the Gothic style
  • 1430 - dismantling the walls of the old church, which, according to the project for the construction of the new cathedral, were inside the erected building
  • 1433 - completion of the construction of the south tower
  • 1511 - the construction of the north tower was stoped.

The cathedral survived many centuries of devastating wars and fires, was significantly damaged due to looters. In the spring of 1945, when Soviet troops conducted an operation in Vienna, the commandant ordered the destruction of the Austrian capital during the withdrawal of troops. The soldiers disobeyed the order and the city was saved, but not for long: the marauders set fire to shops, which caused a big fire in the center of Vienna. The fire, spreading to the cathedral, destroyed a significant part of it, including the largest bell. Most relics were saved by the fact that they were in brick sarcophagi.

After the fire, the main part of the attraction was restored by 1952 by the citizens. In 1980, the second stage of reconstruction began, which continues to this day: the main difficulty lies in the limestone destruction of the elements of the cathedral, which forces builders to use medieval methods of work.

Architecture features


The main nave has a roof with a length of 110 meters, and the angle of inclination reaches 80 degrees: this design allows the snow masses not to linger on the roof, and to wash the coating effectively during rains. Until 1945, the main part of the roof was wooden, after restoration - metal. The roof consists of 230 thousand colored elements, which are laid out in the form of the state coat of arms and the coat of arms of Vienna.


After the fire of 1945, a new body was created, opened in 1960. It consists of 10 thousand pipes, a four-row keyboard, 125 registers: it is the largest organ in Austria . At the main masses, an “average” organ with 55 registers is used.


  • South Tower - 136.44 meters
  • North Tower - 68.3 meters
  • The dimensions of the base of the cathedral are 62 * 198.2 meters.


Mail icon

It was written in 1676, the Virgin is depicted on the icon. The name of the relic is associated with the name of the town in which the icon was originally located - Poch. In 1696, Emperor Leopold I, learning about the miraculous actions of the icon, took it to Vienna, leaving a replica for the residents of Poch.


There are 23 bells in the cathedral, 3 of which are not currently in use. The largest - "New Pummerin" - weighs 21,383 kg and rings only 11 times a year for the biggest holidays. On ordinary days, only 11 bells are involved: their weight is from 35 to 5700 kg.

Valentine's chapel

The cathedral consists of 6 chapels, and the St. Valentine's chapel was founded in 1440: it contains many relics - the relics of St. Valentine, part of the Last Supper tablecloth, the skulls of St. Cosmas and Damian.

Catacombs and tombs

Under the temple there are catacombs, in which more than 11 thousand burials. The main part was made from 1732 to 1783: the first date is a ban on burial in old cemeteries within the city, the second date is a ban on underground graves. Inside the cathedral are also the remains of 72 members of the Habsburg family, princes and generals, rectors of the cathedral.

Interesting Facts

  • Many interfaith services are held within the walls of the cathedral: for example, the memorial service for AIDS victims in 2017 - Mozart’s “Requiem” sounded in her process
  • The highest hierarchs of the churches of Austria are currently buried in catacombs
  • The cost of a ticket with an audio guide for visiting the entire territory of the cathedral, including the catacombs, is 14.90 €.


The object belongs to the cathedrals.

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