St Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
The St Stephen's Cathedral, or Stephansdom, is the heart of Vienna both geographically and emotionally. It is a magnificent dark Gothic church, beloved and unmissable in Vienna.
A church has stood on this site since the 12th century, but little remains of the original structure aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentürme (Towers of the Heathens). Both features are Romanesque in style. The Riesentor (rumor has it that the gate was named because a mammoth's tibia, mistaken for a giant's shin, once hung here) is the main western entrance, topped by a tympanum of lattice patterns and statues. Stephansdom's Gothic makeover began in 1359 at the behest of Habsburg Duke Rudolf IV, who earned the epithet of 'The Founder' by laying the foundation stone.
The church's dominating feature is the skeletal Südturm (south tower). Standing 450 ft (136.7m) high, it was completed in 1433 after 75 years of hard labor.
Horst was one of our European tour highlights. He was very enter naming, informative, and had a lot of little known facts. The ride was excellent and we were able to see a lot in the time. Highly recommend as a way to see Vienna.
Great way to see all the sites withe short or longer stays.
Excellent: money well spent. As always, this is the best way to introduce a city to visitors giving options for return visits or pre-planned stop-offs.
Catch metro U1 or U3 to Stephansplatz. While entry to the church is free, there is a cost to go up to the tower viewing platforms, or to the catacombs. Be warned: there are 343 steps to climb in the tower.