Two Churches in Vienna

There are actually quite a few significant churches in Vienna, but we didn’t have the time or the desire to see all of them. Really, you can only see so many amazing churches in a relatively short span of days before they all start blurring together.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the one I wanted to see most because it’s a landmark of Vienna, and has been for about eight centuries. One of the most-recognized features is its mosaic roof. It has a pretty cool Gothic exterior, too.

St. Stephen’s was actually our first major target of the day. We figured we’d see St. Stephen’s, wander around a bit, and then maybe see the Votive Church, another pretty famous one. Other than that, we figured we’d just walk and gawk. You know, see the city instead of just its most-famous sights.

There it is! Mid-renovation, unfortunately.


Mosaic Tile Roof


Multiple spires and statues adorn the Gothic exterior.


I just love seeing the statues and ornamental exteriors of these massive structures.


Some of the statues are functional (drains in gargoyle mouths).


Amazing stone-work.


The statues on the exterior can often be quite menacing.


Intricate spires.


The sculptor who created these statues had a sense of humor.


This one is my favorite. She kind of looks like Miss Piggy.


These guys don’t look scary at all.

There were hundreds of statues like that scattered about the church’s exterior. Impressive, right? Wait until you see the inside.

Coolest painted roof I have seen to date.

The lighting made photography a bit difficult. These pictures won’t win any quality awards, but they will give you an idea as to the church interior’s incredible level of detail.

Isn’t that stunning? Imagine the time and effort involved!


Huge, intricate wall murals.


Beautiful painted statues.


The stone-work is impressive by itself, but look at all of the painted details.


The main altar.


Close-up of the altar’s “roof.” (The proper name probably isn’t roof.)


The ceiling detail really amazed me.


Even the floors were very detailed.

Seriously, I could roam around in there for hours. And then spend another couple of hours looking at all of the statues on the outside of the church. But we had more things/places to see. If you’d like the read the very interesting history of this particular church, which was built to thank God for saving Emperor Franz Joseph’s life in 1853, CLICK HERE.

Annelies is a map person like me. Between the two of us, we usually do a pretty good job finding our way around strange cities. But, try as we might, we could not figure out how to get from St. Stephen’s to the Votive Church. We found St. Stephen’s on the map, figured out where we were standing in relation to the massive building, but could NOT locate any of the streets labeled on the map. We even asked the waiter who had served us lunch before entering the church. He was confused, too.

Finally, we gave up and just ambled around for hours. That’s when I took many of the pictures shared in yesterday’s post. We walked around the city’s business and shopping district for hours, stopping occasionally to rest, and maybe buy some refreshments.

We were all pretty exhausted and ready to make our way to the next area of the city we wanted to see, getting dinner on the way, when we rounded a corner and saw this…

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The actual St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

THAT is the famous exterior we’d been looking for.

Earlier, we’d mistakenly found our way to the Votive Church. Which is why we were having such a hard time finding our way from St. Stephen’s to the Votive Church. We were already at the Votive Church.

Oh well. Just another funny travel story we’ll be re-telling for years.

Unfortunately, we were all so tired, we did little more than step inside for a quick minute or two. It was very crowded.

The unusual light is due to the stained glass windows.


I have no idea why Donald Trump’s picture was on the wall.


It was pretty, of course. But I’d liked the Votive Church better.


On the cathedral’s exterior… this building is obviously more than 160+ years old.


That mosaic roof is pretty impressive.

I’m glad we stumbled upon St. Stephen’s. I really would have felt stupid if we’d missed it entirely. Even if we did like the one we thought was St. Stephen’s — the Votive Church — better.

In my next post, I’ll share the weirdest thing we saw that day. In all honesty, it’s probably the weirdest thing I have ever seen while traveling. Really. And I have seen some pretty odd stuff in my time.

4 Replies to “Two Churches in Vienna”

  1. Pretty impressive architecture. I especially like the mosaic roof. The time and effort put into the construction of these cathedrals still strike me as a poor choice. But that’s just me…

    1. Richard, I agree. Not just the time and effort, but the money! I’m not a religious person, but I do really enjoy seeing these big old churches. I’m always amazed at how scary some of the statues, paintings, etc. can be and how much time and money went into creating these immense structures. It’s crazy, really. And they cost a fortune to maintain, too.

  2. I looked at this glossary and didn’t see anything else for altar roof, so maybe that’s what it’s really called! 😉

    I really can’t wait for you guys to start exploring Asia. Then, instead of cathedrals, you’ll get your fill of wats (or temples).

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