Saint Stephen Cathedral

St Stephen Cathedral in Vienna
An amazing combo of history, art and religion is one of the most typical things about the catholic cathedral Saint Stephen in Vienna. The building is a spiritual center for the city, as well as an emblematic symbol for Austria in general. The cathedral attracts more than 6 million of tourists per year. It was built back in 1147th year, while in 1511th year the church got its gothic architectural conception.

In this cathedral you can see the biggest musical instrument in Austria – a giant organ. Unfortunately, though, currently it urgently needs recovery. The cathedral collects donations to make the organ playable again.

In Saint Stephen Cathedral it’s often to attend concerts as the building has specific and quite amazing acoustics. You can see the concert program here.

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What to see?

Frederick III Tomb

It’s located at the right side of the main altar. The tomb is made of hard stone, which reminds us of a black marble. The decoration is extremely impressive. For instance, right on the top you can see the emperor’s image. The emperor is presented in its clothes specially tailored for his coronation and embraced by the state coats of arms of all the Frederick’s possessions.

The pulpit

It was made back in the 15th century. The pulpit is famous mostly for its stone carving that looks like lace, which is supposed to be made by Anton Pilgrim and Nikolaus Gerhaert van Leyden. The bottom side reminds us of a gothic wooden rosette, while the top side serves the role of a base for the busts of the four saints-doctors from this Catholic Church.

The tombs

They represent a labyrinth of narrow corridors that ends under the big altar of the cathedral. Inside the tombs the sarcophagus of many kings, dukes, archiepiscopal, nobles and remains of ordinary people are still preserved. The place is quite spooky.

The South tower

The citizens in Vienna call it caressingly by the name of Steffl (coming from Stephen). The tower 137 meters high, while the building of the tower had started in 1433rd year and lasted nearly 75 years. The South tower is provided with an observatory platform from where you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the famous cathedral rooftop.

The North tower

The North tower used to be designed to serve the role of a mirror-image to the South tower. The building process, though, had been suspended on the 68.3-meter of the construction. An old legend devoted to the master builder Hans Buchsbaum tries to explain why the tower had never been completed. As it usually happens, the devil has a significant role in the tower’s unlucky construction process. There are, though, other, more realistic theories about the reason for the construction end (like the theory for financial issues). In 1529th year, though, the tower got eventually completed. Right after the placement of the emperor’s double eagles on the tower it has received its second name, The Eagle tower.

The ceiling

You can reach it by climbing the spiral stairs, which will take you overcome 120 steps. Only the bravest ones among you will be eventually rewarded with a walk on the rain gutter. It’s the place from where a fantastic view of the steep rooftop from the cathedral and the entire city is waiting for you.

What should I know before a visit of Saint Stephen Cathedral in Viena?

  • The easiest way to reach the attractions is either by taking the subway – U1 and U3 lines – or by taking the bus, 1A and 3Alines.
  • Leaving your car around the cathedral is literally a mission impossible, which is why it’s preferable to leave it in a more distant neighborhood or just to use the public transportation
  • You are allowed to make photos in Saint Stephen Cathedral in Viena, but only for your own purpose. Using stands for cameras is not allowed.
  • As this is a holly place, you should be dressed up appropriately – no short skirts or shorts, as well as no naked shoulders, hats or any provocative clothes.
  • In Sunday the access for the cathedral is quite limited because of the services that take place here on a regular basis
  • If you go early in the morning, note that some of the zones with paid entrance might not be opened
  • Be prepared to face big crowds of tourists and make sure to keep an eye for pickpockets

Types of tickets

You can enter the main building of Saint Stephen Cathedral in Viena for free. There are some places like the Tombs, the South and the North towers, as well as the Ceiling that are though with paid entrance fees.

  • Ticket All-Inclusive – includes a visit of the cathedral with an audio guide, a tour of the Tombs, visits of the North and the South towers, as well as the Ceiling. The duration is nearly 2 hours and a half. There are, though, no discounts for school boys and girls or for students.

Types of tours

  • A tour with an audio guide – with an audio guide you will get the entire important information about the background history of the cathedral and its pieces of art. The audio guide is available in English language. There are discounts for kids between 6 and 14 years old, while the kids under 6 years old use it for free. The duration of this tour is 40 minutes.
  • A tour for a group that is formed of at least 15 people – you can arrange your own private tour with a guide. It’s possible for both: regular tours and the tours that include a visit of the ceiling or the evening tours. What is necessary for such an arrangement is to book it in advance. You can do so via a phone call, by sending an e-mail or by using the official form in the cathedral website.
  • A tour of the cathedral and the Tombs – the Tombs can be visited only with a guide. During the visit you will see the graves of episcopes and noble people, as well as real a real spooky cemetery with human bones. During a liturgy and other religious events in the cathedral, the access to the Tombs is forbidden. This tour lasts half an hour.
  • A tour of the Ceiling – to reach it, you have to climb 120 steps on a spiral stairs. You will be, though, rewarded with an amazing walk on the rain gutter from where you can also see the steep rooftop of the cathedral and the lovely Vienna city. You will also enjoy unforgettable views that you will definitely keep your heart forever. The night walks are arranged only during the summer months – from July to September – and only in case of a good weather. These tours last 75 minutes.
  • Private tours – suitable in case you are in charge for a school or other group and you don’t need the services of a guide. These tours, though, do not include an access to the Tombs.

Private visits

  • Climbing the South tower – It’s actually one of the top attractions in Vienna in general. The 343 steps take you to the top of the tower from where a fantastic view of the city is waiting for you. There are discounts for kids between 6 and 18 years old.
  • Climbing the North tower – to reach it, you can use the elevator. There are discounts for kids between 6 and 14 years old. The access is allowed round the whole year. There’s no matter when you purchase the ticket as once you get one you can use any time you want, but only once, of course. There are no discounts for school boys and girls or students.

Access for people with reduced movability

The visitors with reduced movability can enter through the main gate of the cathedral and faultlessly to see the entire general part of the building.

Top Attractions in Vienna:

Vienna – the city
Schönbrunn Palace
Hofburg Castle
Belvedere Castle
Karlskirche Church
History of Art Museum
Natural History Museum
Albertina Museum
Museum Quartier
State Opera
City Hall
The Prater
Imperial Butterfly House
Danube Cruise from Vienna