“Inside the cathedral is a Gothic forest dappled in violet twilight and vast with quiet.”

The front of the Stephansdom
The front of the Stephansdom
Stephansdom exterior
Stephansdom exterior

The Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is the centerpiece of Vienna – you can see her spires from all over the city. The Romanesque and Gothic cathedral was built during the 14-16th centuries on grounds that were consecrated in the 12th century on the site of a Roman cemetery. Funerals for both Mozart and Vivaldi were held at Stephansdom.

In this shot, you can see the pollution on the exterior of the cathedral
In this shot, you can see the pollution on the exterior of the cathedral
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom

The exterior of the church is white, but pollution has darkened some parts of the cathedral. Restoration efforts have been slowly restoring the cathedral to its original glory, some of the more delicate restoration work being completed with lasers. Lasers!

The cathedral includes a crypt built under the church. You can take guided tours of the crypt but no pictures. The crypts include burial spaces for the Vienna archbishops, a mass grave for medieval plague victims, and the urns that hold the internal organs and viscera of 72 Habsburgs.

Exit from the crypts near the rear of the church
Exit from the crypts near the rear of the church
Carriage rides are available in many places in Vienna, especially in Stephansplatz
Carriage rides are available in many places in Vienna, especially in Stephansplatz

You read that correctly: the Habsburgs had some unique burial practices. When they died, the organs were removed and sent to Stephansdom. The bodies were sent to the Imperial Crypt at the Capuchin Church, and their hearts were sent to yet a third church in Vienna. I’m not sure if this practice was out of some sense of fairness: making sure the key churches in town each got a piece or some kind of Egyptian throwback. Tune in tomorrow for more info about the Imperial Crypt at the Capuchin Church.

Title quote: Wendy Insinger

Stephansdom exterior
Stephansdom exterior
Exterior of the Rose Window
Exterior of the Rose Window
Beautiful sculpture on the exterior of the cathedral
Beautiful sculpture on the exterior of the cathedral
Stephansdom at night
Stephansdom at night
Detail of the exterior
Detail of the exterior
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
The cathedral is lit at night in various ways - I've seen both this purple effect and a less modern, traditional lighting scheme on different nights
The cathedral is lit at night in various ways – I’ve seen both this purple effect and a less modern, traditional lighting scheme on different nights
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Organ at the Stephansdom
Organ at the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Altar panels in the Stephansdom
Altar panels in the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom
Interior of the Stephansdom

Stephansdom13

 

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