The Stairway In St. Stephen’s Cathedral

 
The Stairway In Saint Stephen's Cathedral
 
Vienna Saint Stephen’s Cathedral
©Kathleen Cohen
CSU WorldImages
 
 
The Stairway In St. Stephen’s Cathedral
  Inside the church there are some interesting staircases. One leads around the walls of the church tower up to the clock. In the center of the tower is empty apart from a hanging clock weight; which has a 70m drop and a large pendulum reputed to be the longest in Europe. The stair design itself is ornate with gothic handrails that follow steep columns up to ceiling or tower level. Beautiful statues of each saint overlooking the spiral stairs. They stand at 136 meters tall, affectionately referred to by the city’s inhabitants as “Steffl”. St. Stephen’s Cathedral’s massive south tower is its highest point in the cathedral and I would say it is one heck of a staircase to climb; exactly 343 stairs, the risers follow the column to the top of the cathedral where the overlook is located. There are exactly four primary towers in the cathedral where watchmen once stood guard as an early emergency watch.   The stone pulpit in the middle of the nave bears the images of four Latin Church fathers: Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory and Augustine each, full of personality. Beneath the stairs is one of the most beloved symbols of the cathedral: a stone self-portrait of Anton Pilgram gawking out of a window and thus famously known as the Fenstergucker for the words fenster (Window) and gucken (peek) in German. The chisel in the subject’s hand, and the stonemason’s signature mark on the shield above the window led to the speculation that it could be a rare self-portrait of Anton Pilgram. This marking the transition point into the Renaissance, when artists began to be famous instead of anonymous.   Saint Stephens Cathedral is the central religious gathering point for Austrian Catholics in Germany. It also acts as a historical monument for classical art and the renaissance movement. Its classical Christian architecture is seen everywhere in St. Stephan’s from the top of the towers where the bells toll to the bottom of the staircase where a mysterious artist hides by the window inside a column. If you really enjoyed reading about Saint Stephan’s then I suggest that if you ever visit Austria you should climb the stairs and toll the bell.