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One of Austria's most famous sights, Vienna's magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral attracts more than 1 million yearly visitors. Over 800 years old, St. Stephen's is a majestic ensemble of architectural styles – here are 5 of the treasures that await you there.
The ornate entrance got its name from a mastodon thighbone that hung above the door in the 15th century. Giant's Door and the flanking towers are the oldest parts of the cathedral.
St. Stephen's main part has 18 gorgeous altars. Amongst them, the 17th century High Altar is the most spectacular. Built over 7 years, it represents the stoning of St. Stephen.
This impressive raised sarcophagus carved out of thick red marble took 45 years to build. Decorated with more than 240 statues, it's a sublime specimen of medieval art.
Affectionately nicknamed "Steffl," St. Stephen's gigantic south tower is 136 meters tall. A dominant feature of Vienna's skyline, Steffl is one of the city's most iconic landmarks.
Due to the bubonic plague of 1735, the bones from cemeteries near St. Stephen's were moved to the catacombs below the cathedral, which now house the remains of over 11,000 people.
Throughout history, St. Stephen's south tower, "Steffl," served as a watch post to guard the city. Though unused since 1955, the watch room still exists and is open to visitors. It's a steep climb up 343 steps, but those up to the challenge are rewarded with the most spectacular views of the entire city.
St. Stephen's fascinating catacombs should not be missed. However, note that it's necessary to book a guided tour in order to visit the catacombs.
St. Stephen's regularly hosts mass, open to the public. The schedule of mass times is listed on their website.
- When to visitMonday to Saturday, 6:00AM to 10:00PM, Sunday 7:00AM to 10:00PM. Tour hours are Monday to Saturday 9:00AM to 11:30AM, 1:00PM to 4:30PM and Sunday 1:00PM to 4:30PM.
- What is the price?While it's free to enter, general and catacomb tours, as well as transportation options and packages will cost extra.
- Will I need a guide?With over 800 years of history to cover, a guide is a great idea!
- How to get thereTake the U1 or U3 train to Stephansplatz and it's a short walk to the Cathedral.
- Additional tips
- You may bring your own guide, but please make sure it's during tour hours so as not to disrupt those worshipping.
What People Are Saying About St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
I spend 3,5 hour seeing everything in the church, and I was supprised when I got an audioguide in Norwegian. I really recomanded to spend time in the church with an all inclusive ticket. The South tower was great, but the 343 steps to the top was very narrow. People walked both ways all the time, so it was a challenge to pass on the way up or down. It is best to arrive early in the morning before it gets to crowdy. Go for it :-)
Experiencing the city during a walk gives you the best opportunity to get to know the inner city Guide is very knowledgeable on the city, its historic buildings and its past I got to know most of the past emperors and about their life We were a small group which allowed me to ask any further details I liked
This is a wonderful way to see Vienna. Our excellent tour guide, Dace, lead a small group 6 of us through Vienna downtown. She knows city inside out and provided it to us - for example showing us the old city walls and hidden courtyards. What makes this tour great is the intimacy of the small group, the details provided by the guide, conversation about the history and culture. Highly recomended!
Wish to reccommend this activity to tourist, especialli first time arrive in vienna
We enjoyed our visit through the Cathedral, and going up the tower, however the 2 or 3 times we spoke with employees, (asking questions about where the entrances for the tower & catacombs were) they acted as if they didn't even want to help us. If they're THAT miserable in their jobs, perhaps they should consider working somewhere else. Otherwise, the Cathedral is well worth visiting.