While there are many beautiful churches and cathedrals in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic. Although it was heavily damaged during World War II, the cathedral was repaired and still stands as a centerpiece of Vienna.
We left Hotel Beethoven and set off on the 15 minute walk to the cathedral. Although it was raining, it was still amazing to see the city of Vienna. The chance to walk by the Christmas markets so worth it, even if the weather was less than perfect. Once we arrived at the cathedral, it instantly stood out against an already architecturally stunning city.
History of St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Also known as Stephansdom, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. It is seen as the most important religious building in the city of Vienna. The church stands in the footprint of two earlier churches.
It is believed that the church was built over an ancient Roman cemetery. In 2000, a new heating system was being installed and it was found that there were graves around 8 feet below the surface. They were dated back to the 4th century.
The structure is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Dedication To St. Stephen
The church was dedicated to St. Stephen, the patron saint of deacons. He is said to have been the first martyr of Christianity. In the middle of the church, you will find a painting representing St. Stephen being stoned to death.
Inside of the cathedral, you will notice a set of stairs going down. This staircase leads to the catacombs, which you can visit for a fee. In the catacombs is where the bishops of Vienna are laid to rest. The Archduke Rudolf IV is also buried there, and has been there since 1365.
You can only visit the catacombs on guided tours. Unfortunately, since we were short on time, we didn’t get the chance to visit. After reading all about them though, I highly recommend you check out the catacombs!