St. Stephen´s Cathedral.
Saint Stephen´s Cathedral (St. Stephan, Stephansdom), cathedral and metropolitan church dedicated to St. Stephen, seat of the Archbishop (Cardinal) of Vienna, one of the most important high and late Gothic buildings in Central Europe, monumental example of a southern German/Austrian staggered church, landmark of Vienna. Characteristic are the lateral position of the towers, the integration of the Romanesque western façade, the high-Gothic hall choir and the impressive steeply pitched roof covered with a decorative pattern in glazed tiles. External length: 107.2 m, internal: 91.8, nave width: 38.9 m; height of south tower ("Hoher Turm"): 136.7 m, north tower: 60.6 m, Heidentürme ("Heathens´ Towers"): 65.6 m.
History of Construction: First (?) construction 1137, consecrated 1147, completed as parish church (in possession of the bishopric of Passau) in 1160 (lower floors of the eastern "Heidentürme" and lower parts of the wall divisions are still extant). The various princes subsequently tried to found an independent diocese at St. Stephen's. Vienna was finally granted the status of a diocese in 1469 and St. Stephen's became a cathedral; metropolitan church of the archdiocese since 1723.
From 1230, a new construction, which was one of the last great Romanesque churches in the German-speaking area, was built on top of the original floor plan (partially destroyed by fire in 1258, consecrated in 1263). Of this construction, only the western façade with the Riesentor ("Giant´s Doorway"), the upper floors of the Heidentürme and the neighbouring west choir are still extant. The construction of the three-aisled hall choir ("Albertinischer Chor") 1304-1340 marked the beginning of Gothic alterations. In 1359, Rudolf IV laid the foundations of the new construction of the nave (staggered hall) and the two-storied chapels on the west side; at the same time, the construction of the "Hoher Turm" (south tower) began. The Romanesque nave, which was subsequently adapted in Gothic style, was finally demolished in 1426 and the choir was adapted for divine service by walling up its eastern end. The south tower was finished by H. von Prachatitz in 1433. In 1446, H. Puchspaum started the vaulting of the nave and the construction of the attic; this masterpiece of Gothic carpentry was destroyed by fire on April 4, 1945 and reconstructed in steel on the model of the original. Puchsbaum also created the vestibule of the "Singertor" (before 1450) and designed the "Adlerturm" north tower (Eagle´s Tower), whose construction commenced in 1467, was discontinued through in 1511 and was finally covered by an onion-shaped tower roof and topped with a bell-shaped dome by K. and H. Saphoy. A. Pilgram was the master builder of St. Stephen´s from 1510-1514. Around 1515, the vestibule of the Bischofstor ("Bishop´s Doorway") was constructed, presumably by G. Hauser. Several 19th century additions and alterations made by F. von Schmidt.
Exterior View: Western façade: richly decorated recessed Riesentor (main entrance) between the late-Romanesque Heidentürme ("Heathens´ Towers"). Both west chapels with the statues of Rudolf IV and Katharina of Bohemia are Gothic (around 1365, originals in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien). North façade: Bischofstor, Kreuzkapelle ("Chapel of the Cross"), Adlerturm (with the "Pummerin" bell) and Barbarakapelle ("St. Barbara Chapel"). There are tracery windows and pier buttresses with blind tracery on the walls of the nave and figures of Dukes (by L. Schadler, 1907) underneath baldachins. The former gravedigger´s house with the relief "Jüngstes Gericht" ("Judgement Day"; 1520), the Capistranus pulpit (around 1430) and the Upper Sacristy are attached to the lower part of the choir. East side of the central choir: All Souls fresco by J. Danhauser (1826, only few original parts extant) and half-length figure of "Our Lord with Toothache" (around 1410). South side (similar to north side): Winter choir (treasury), sacristan´s house, St. Catharine´s chapel, Hoher Turm tower, "Lower Sacristy", tomb of Neidhart Fuchs (14th century) and Singertor. The figural portal decorations of the Singertor and Bischofstor vestibules are the main works of the Austrian High Gothic (around 1360-1370, School of Parler). Several tombstones from the cemetery ("Stephansfreithof"), which used to surround the Cathedral, are immured in the exterior walls. The Hoher Turm, one of the most beautiful Gothic towers, is abundantly decorated with sculptures (some originals in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien). The spire consists of a patriarchal cross with a double-headed eagle on a gold-plated metal globe.
The Catacombs, which are made up of subterranean hallways and chambers and are partially situated below Stephansplatz (St. Stephen´s Square), were constructed as cellars; they later served as ossuaries, from 1720 as burial sites; and were cleared in 1872. Central points of the Catacombs include the Herzogsgruft and Bischofsgruft ("Ducal Vault and Bishop´s Vault").
Interior: To the left of the entrance hall: Tomb of the Humanist Johannes Cuspinianus (after 1529), in the Kreuzkapelle, tomb of Prince Eugène (by J. Wurschbauer, 1754-1758), organ-loft with portrait bust of A. Pilgram in the northern lateral aisle next to the transept. Figure of the Dienstbotenmadonna ("Servants´ Madonna") on a base in front of the pillar bearing the pulpit (around 1320), pulpit (formerly attributed to A. Pilgram), probably late 15th century with famous self-portrait (1513/15). In the north choir, cenotaph of Rudolf the Founder and his wife Katharina (around 1378) and the Wiener Neustadt Altar (1447, purchased from the monastery of Neukloster at Wiener Neustadt in 1884) with Friedrich III´ series of vowels A.E.I.O.U. In the nave, high altar by the brothers J. J. and T. Pock (1647), Baroque stone altar with altar piece by M. J. Schmidt (1772), Baroque choir stalls (1647). In the south choir, red marble tomb of Emperor Friedrich III (1467-1513, designed and begun by Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden). Some stained glass windows (around 1340) still extant. In St. Catharine´s chapel, Gothic marble baptismal font (1481) with carved wooden cover. On the southern nave wall, altar baldachin by H. Puchsbaum (1448) and altar with painting of the Virgin Mary from Maria Pötsch (Hungary, 1676). In the Herzogskapelle, stone statue of the Hausmuttergottes ("Our Lady of the House") and winged altar (1507) with figure of the Man of Sorrows. Paintings by M. Altomonte in the Upper and Lower Sacristy.
In 1945, St. Stephen´s Cathedral was heavily damaged by bombs and by fire. Damaged parts included the roof, the groin vault of the choir, the northeastern corner of the Upper Sacristy, the southern Heidenturm, the large Gothic window of the west façade, the Gothic choir stalls by W. Rollinger (1476), the early-Gothic giant Wimpassing Cross etc. The Cathedral was reconstructed under the master builder K. Holey; in 1952, the nave was finished, and in 1957, the "Pummerin" was hung in the North Tower. The large new organ and the bells were finally dedicated in 1960.
Literature: H. Tietze, Geschichte und Beschreibung des St. Stephan in Wien, 1931 (Österr. Kunsttopographie, vol. 23); K. Oettinger, A. Pilgram und die Bildhauer von St. Stephan, 1951; R. Bachleitner, Der Wiener Dom, 1966; V. Fiedler, Stephansdom und Wiener Bistumsgründung, 1968; R. Feuchtmüller, Der Wiener Stephansdom, 1987; Mittelalterliche Glasmalereien aus St. Stephan, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1990; M. Zykan, Der Westbau von St. Stephan, in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Denkmalpflege, vol. 44, 1990.
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