Austria // Vienna //

Stephansdom

The obvious place to begin exploration is Stephansplatz, the pedestrianized central square dominated by the hoary Gothic Stephansdom. It’s worth paying to explore the interior more fully, with the highlights of the main section the Wiener Neustädter Altar, a late Gothic masterpiece, and the tomb of the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich III. The catacombs contain the entrails of illustrious Habsburgs housed in bronze caskets. Stellar views reward those climbing the 137m-high (343 steps) south spire; lower, but with a lift, is the north tower. The warren of alleyways north and east of Stephansdom preserve something of the medieval character of the city, although the architecture reflects centuries of continuous rebuilding.