Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Christmas glimpse of Vienna's gorgeous Saint Stephen's Cathedral

There were two place I absolutely wanted to visit on my day in Vienna: the Hofburg and St Stephen's Cathedral. The Hofburg will have to wait 'till after the Christmas markets series of posts, but as I enjoyed a mug of glühwein in the market by St Stephen's it totally fits in this series! ;o)

Vienna's 12th century Romanesque-Gothic cathedral is simply stunning in my opinion! I loved the tiling on the roof, and I'm always in awe of the stonework in these old churches. At one point the cathedral's 136m tall south tower was the highest point in Vienna, serving as a watch-tower at times. It's hard to appreciate it in the photos with the buildings around it...

Unfortunately upon entering it became apparent I wasn't going to be able to really appreciate the Cathedral at this time, as there was some kind of metal barrier blocking access to the nave (and a lot of people pressed up against it taking photos). Not sure why, was it blocked because they were setting thing up for Mass or a concert? Because they don't want tourists in their? Dunno. Will just have to go back some day for a better view!

Fortunately since I have a good camera I was still able to get some nice shots that help to appreciate the beauty and elegance of the stonework inside...

I would have liked to sit in one of the pews and take it all in, but like I said, next time! 

Zooming in on the 17th century baroque High Altar altar at the back of the choir...

The staircase around a column leading up to the lectern...

Apparently there are 18 altars in the church, but as I couldn't wander around freely I didn't really notice many. What did draw me straight to it was the Wiener Neustdädter Alter at the top of the north transept:

Ordered by Emperor Frederick III in 1447, it was originally located in a different church (several in fact before it was brought here in 1885). The gorgeous upper triptych is composed of gilded wooden figures showing key moments in the life of the Virgin Mary, the ensemble is quite stunning!

Back outside, in the holiday hustle and bustle. Was a perfect moment to enjoy a glühwein in the Weihnachtsmarkt am Stephansplatz

while doing some people-watching and checking out the stalls.

Not as impressive or interesting as some of the other Christmas markets, but being in the shadow of Stephansdom gave it a certain aura. ;o)


  1. The roof of St Stephen's - the most beautiful view in Vienna, at least IMHO ;-) Rest of the cathedral also stunning, of course, but the roof is my number 1.

    1. Kasia, it reminded me of the roof of the cathedral in Basel (Switzerland). I you like that style (gorgeous!) you should check this out (though it's only visible in a couple of the photos):
      Basel-Bâle-Basilea: where Switzerland meets France and Germany!


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