St. Stephen’s Cathedral
About the Sight
Vienna, the capital and the largest city of Austria also happens to be its cultural, economic, and political centre. There are various heritage buildings to be seen in this vibrant city and one of them is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral which is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. The church displays Romanesque and Gothic style and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first being a parish church consecrated in 1147. The cathedral holds pride in hosting many important events in that nation’s history and it is in fact one of the city’s most recognizable symbols.
This 107 mertes long, 40 metres wide and 136 metres tall massive church was dedicated to St. Stephen. The building is made of limestone but soot and other forms of air pollution accumulating on the church have given it a black color. However, recent restoration projects have again returned the building to its original white.
The Cathedral’s massive south tower is its highest point and a dominant feature of the Vienna skyline. At the tip of the tower stands the double-eagle imperial emblem with the Habsburg-Lorraine coat of arms on its chest, surmounted by a double-armed apostolic cross. The north tower stands at 68 meters tall (223 ft), roughly half the height of the south tower.
The main entrance to the church is named the Giant’s Door. The tympanum above the Giant’s Door depicts Christ Pantocrator flanked by two winged angels. On the left and right are the two Roman Towers. The Roman Towers, together with the Giant’s Door, are the oldest parts of the church.
The cathedral stands high in glory with its ornately patterned, richly coloured roof, 111 meters (361 ft) long, and covered by 230,000 glazed tiles. The roof is so steep that it is sufficiently cleaned by the rain alone and is seldom covered by snow. St. Stephen’s Cathedral has 23 bells in total.
There are 18 altars in the main part of the church, and more in the various chapels. There are several formal chapels in St. Stephen’s Cathedral including St. Katherine’s Chapel, St. Barbara’s Chapel, St. Eligius’s Chapel, St. Valentine’s Chapel and many more.