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Vienna is not short of architectural icons, and these run the entire gamut from medieval to modern. But for most Viennese - and foreigners too - it's the Stephansdom that remains the enduring symbol of the city. The cathedral soars over its neighbours in all senses. Even the wily Turkish envoy who laid the groundwork for the 1683 Siege was enraptured. That said, although Mass is still held here, pilgrims will find more solace in the less busy houses of worship, as St. Stephens remains one of the most visited landmarks in Vienna. Records reveal that a church has existed on this site since 1137, but it was in the 14th century that things really took shape. If you're not queasy about heights, the 553 steps to the top of the north tower make for a rewarding hike (or, for one Euro more you can take the lift for an even better view of the city below). The exotic pattern of the roof mosaic manages to be both quintessentially Austrian, and yet wildly exotic like the scales of some rare Amazonian lizard.
Editor & Vienna Local