The Stephansdom, in Vienna is one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. The oldest sections of its façade, the Heidenturme and Riesentor, are of Romanic origin. They date back to 1260 AD, during the reign of King Ottokar The Second of Bohemia. But it was left to a member of the Habsburg royal family to complete the construction of the cathedral.
The dark and mysterious catacombs located beneath the cathedral contain the remains of many former Habsburg sovereigns and up until 1783, the underground passages were also used for the burial of Viennese commoners.
The significance of the building was not only due to its magnificent works of art but, from 1469, it played an increasingly important role and thus became a Bishop and Cathedral Church. By creating its outstanding stone pulpit, cathedral master builder Anton Pilgram made himself immortal as a ‘Fenstergucker’.
During the Baroque period, the building was severely neglected. However, the beginning of the 19th century saw the renewal and strengthening of the cathedral. Having survived all the tumult of past centuries, this unique building, with its proud, tall towers that rise above Vienna, has truly withstood the test of time.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.