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Antiguo 10-03-2005, 14:26:10   #21
Avatar de Matthieu
Fecha de Ingreso: Mar 2004
Ubicación: Tarbes, the capital of the world
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Empezado por Bernhard1
The cathedral is 860 years old, so ...
With exceptions because of reconstructions, especially after 2nd world war the roof (also other parts) of St.Stephans Cathedral was heavy damaged.

I doubt it is 860 years old. Must have been rebuilt.
"To erect a tall building is to proclaim one’s faith in the future, the skyline is a seismograph of optimism."
Jean Nouvel
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Antiguo 12-03-2005, 14:16:18   #22
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Avatar de Kampflamm
Fecha de Ingreso: Dec 2003
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St. Stephen's Church in Vienna: 850 Years

In May of the year 1147, as an army of the Second Crusade passed Vienna and camped on the river Fischa, Bishop Reginbert (d. 1147) of Passau paid a visit to what was then the insignificant settlement of Vienna and consecrated a new church outside the city walls. The house of worship dedicated to St. Stephen was in a flourishing section of town, on the eastern side of what had been the Roman camp and on the important trade route to Hungary. The Klosterneuburg Annals, which faithfully describe the passage of the crusaders and the participation of King Konrad III (1093/94-1152), also record Eberger as the name of the first priest of the parish, which was under the diocese of Passau. About ten years earlier, construction of a church had begun, after being made possible by the margrave Leopold IV (d. 1141), who had traded the land and renounced the right to his own church. It cannot be demonstrated that Leopold IV had any further plans with regard to the city, which was not his residence. However, the dimensions of the original church are greater than would be suggested by the needs of a small parish. The twelfth-century basilica was already relatively large, oriented clearly to the Southeast, providing the focal point for a future of expansion of the city in all directions.

Romanesque Phase of Construction

Approximately one century later the massive and impressive westwork with its Romanesque funnel portal was built, flanked by two octagonal towers that today are called the Pagan Towers. It is possible that this popular etymological name resulted from the fact that the Viennese were aware that these towers dated from the earliest days of the church's construction, and thus practically from pagan times. The latest restoration work has revealed that the portal's figured decorations, with a tympanum depicting Christ as Judge of the World in a mandorla, were painted in brilliant, luminous colors. The faithful were meant to experience the terrors of damnation and the salvation of heaven in shining colors.

Thus the portal with its columns, figures of terror and images of the Apostles were a kind of Biblia pauperum, a Bible for the poor, a description of life in this world and the next for those who could not read. The name Riesentor, often mistranslated as Giant's Gate because Riese in German means giant, likely comes from the Middle High German word "risen," which means sinking or falling off, a reference to the portal's funnel shape.

This phase of construction came at a time when the House of Babenberg had long since made Vienna its administrative center. Austria had been an independent duchy since 1156 and enjoyed certain special rights in comparison with other parts of the Holy Roman Empire. Duke Leopold VI (1176-1230) made numerous attempts to strengthen the position of his family by raising Vienna to a bishopric, but he was thwarted by the resistance of the Diocese of Passau, which did not want to lose control of Vienna.

In the decades between 1258 and 1276 Vienna was devastated three times by fire. It is recorded that each time the church of St. Stephen was a victim of the flames. Again and again it was rebuilt, the charred stone remains were cleaned, a new roof-truss was constructed, and the church re-consecrated. Annals record that in December of 1278 the Habsburg King Rudolf I (1218-1291) attended High Mass at St. Stephen's.

Enlargement During the High Gothic Period

Meanwhile, Vienna had grown substantially and become a flourishing trading center. In the middle of the thirteenth century, under Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250), the city was directly subordinate to the Emperor for a short time. The central church had long since become too small. In 1304 construction began in the Gothic choir, which was consecrated in 1340 in a concelebration of several bishops. The Albertine Choir, named for Archduke Albert I (1255-1308) was built on a piece of land that formerly had belonged to Zwettl Monastery, and it brought a considerable expansion of the church interior. The land was purchased by the citizens of Vienna, who made steady contributions to the upkeep of the house of God. Thus the church grew through the common efforts of both the sovereign and the citizens.

Albert's grandson, Duke Rudolf IV (1339-1365), was a ruler with a very clear vision, which contributed to the expansion of the power and glory of himself and his family. In 1359 the parish church was raised to the level of a provostry with living provided for 24 canons. In the same year work was begun on the Gothic nave. The Archduke provided for the purchase of numerous relics, which were put on display on All Saints' Day for adoration by the city's devout residents. The Archduke chose the house of God as the place for his family's burials, and the anniversary of his death was to be commemorated every year. This tradition is still honored today by the University of Vienna which was founded by Rudolf IV. The sculptures of the founder on the walls of the Singer Gate and the Bishop Gate indicate that the church was to have received two additional towers as part of its elevation to the level of a diocese. A secret inscription on the Bishop Gate, not deciphered until the last century, points to the Duke's role as founder of the cathedral in its present form. Construction began first on the South Tower, a marvel of Gothic architecture, which was completed by several generations of architects in homogenous stylistic clarity, in conformity with the original design. At the beginning of the fifteenth century construction was halted for a short time, and part of the tower was even torn down because the dimensions had deviated from the original plans. In 1433 the cathedral architect Hans von Prachatitz (d. 1439) put the final "chnopff" (finial) on the top of the South Tower, completing it. At a height of 137 meters (approx. 450 feet), the tower became Vienna's most famous landmark, visible from afar. Today it is still the symbolic center of the city. Affectionately nicknamed "Steffl," it has been both the sentimental treasure of the Viennese and the much sought-after spoils of every army that has tried to take the city. When one approaches Vienna from the east, the South Tower of St. Stephen's rises above the chain of mountains in the Vienna woods.

The foundations for the North Tower, rich late-Gothic style, not only with the elevated tomb of Emperor Frederick III, a masterpiece by the Dutch stonemason Nicolaus Gerhaert van Leyden (1420/1430 - c.1473), but also with pulpit, which now is also attributed to the school of van Leyden. The previous attribution to the cathedral architect Anton von Pilgram (c. 1460 - c. 1515), whose portrait is found not only at the foot of the organ in the transept but also as the so-called "window peep" under the pulpit steps, has been amended because the pulpit has now been dated to an earlier period. Other works from the second half of the fifteenth century are the late-Gothic baldachin statues, which on the French model are on the clustered piers of the nave. At the end of the 1460s, Wilhelm Rollinger began carving the choir stalls. Unfortunately his work was destroyed when the cathedral burned in 1945.

In 1485 Vienna was besieged and conquered by the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490), who ruled the city until his death. Matthias clearly recognized the importance of the cathedral, permitting the Ottoman envoy to visit the church in September of 1485. In 1488 he dubbed the Swiss envoy Melchior Russ (c. 1450-1499) a knight, a ceremony which is preserved in the Lucerne Picture Chronicle of Diebold Schilling (d. 1485). The year 1515 saw the solemn double marriage of the grandchildren of Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) to the successors to the Hungarian throne from the Jagiellon dynasty. The long-term consequence was the gaining of the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary for the House of Habsburg.

Baroque Alterations in the Wake of the Counter-Reformation

After the victory of the Counter-Reformation in the first half of the seventeenth century, a Baroque remodelling of the interior got underway, and a series of altars were added to the clustered piers. The Counter-Reformation bishop Count Friedrich Philipp Breuner (1598-1669) commissioned Johann Prock (1604-1651) to design the high altar. The altar-piece "The Stoning of St. Stephen" is by Tobias Pock (d. after 1681). Following the successful completion of the military campaigns of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), who was buried in the Chapel of the Cross (also Tirna Chapel), the cathedral was given an enormous bell, the Pummerin (Boomer), which was cast by Johann Achamer from the metal of canons seized from the Turks. In 1711 it was hung in the belfry of the South Tower. In 1722 Vienna became a metropolitan archdiocese, completing a process that had begun centuries before.

Up to this time St. Stephen's Cemetery had surrounded the church. The St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, now visible above ground only because of the stone outlines on the pavement, served as a charnel house. Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) closed the cemetery and expanded the underground catacombs. Some 13,500 bodies are said to have been laid to rest there between 1720 and 1780. For hygienic reasons, the reformist Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) forbid the use of the catacombs for burial. The square around the church was subsequently redesigned. It received its present form around 1860, with the razing of the building at the end of the Graben and the construction of the Haas House.

Historicism of the Nineteenth Century

During the nineteenth century extensive restoration work was undertaken on the cathedral. The top of the South Tower was taken down twice, and after 1853 the missing Gothic pediments along the northern and southern facades were added. Until that time they had been painted on mock pediments, as can be clearly seen in a water color by Rudolf von Alt (1812-1905). The cathedral architect Friedrich Schmidt, builder of Vienna's Town Hall, rendered outstanding services in the preservation of the church. Finally, in 1880, the Cathedral Association was founded and dedicated itself to the permanent restoration of the building. In 1883, to commemorate the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, a monument was erected, which, however, was destroyed in the fire of 1945. In 1884 a Gothic altar carved in 1447 for Emperor Frederick III and the Neukloster in Wiener Neustadt found a home in the left aisle of St. Stephen's.

The Catastrophe of 1945

The cathedral escaped damage from allied bombing until the final days of World War II. But on 11 April 1945 the church was set on fire by flying sparks from neighboring buildings. The entire larch wood roof-truss of the nave was destroyed by fire, and when the vaulting collapsed, it buried the Gothic choir stalls. Finally, on 12 April the 22-ton Pummerin shattered on the floor of the church. Only the clapper of the bell remained intact.

No other destruction was so painful to the city and its inhabitants as the fire in the cathedral. Although burned out and destroyed, the church, almost a symbol for the development of the Austrian nation, became a symbol of starting all over again. Throughout Austria people made their contributions to remove the wreckage and rebuild the cathedral. Each Austrian federal province made an essential contribution to the restoration. An inscription in the cathedral itself records the fact that the bell was donated by the province of Upper Austria, the gate by Styria and the stone floor by Lower Austria. The pews were made in Vorarlberg, the windows are from Tyrol and the chandeliers commissioned by Carinthia. The Communion rail was financed by Burgenland, and the tabernacle by the province of Salzburg. The province of Vienna paid to have the roof restored to its original form. It was one of the first great celebrations after the catastrophe of war when a solemn mass was held in the cathedral on 19 December 1948. In April 1952 the arrival in Vienna of the newly cast Pummerin turned into a public festival. Thousands lined the streets as the bell was brought from the Upper Austrian town of St. Florian and then raised to the North Tower. It is the largest free-swinging bell in Europe. The Pummerin is rung by two motors, and the sound and duration are also dependent on the weather. The complete restoration of the cathedral after the Second World War cost around one billion schillings.

Constant Restoration of the Cathedral

The twentieth century has inflicted severe damage to the cathedral in addition to the wounds of fire. Environmental pollution, especially acid rain which turns the sandstone to chalk, makes constant renovation and restoration work essential. Gargoyles and cornices have to be replaced as they weaken and threaten to fall from the facade. On the occasion of St. Stephen's 850th anniversary an important phase of restoration was completed. The westwork with the Riesentor and Pagan Towers was given a thorough inspection. The restoration work brought to light important indications as to the color design of the funnel portal. New techniques were employed to remove the dampness from the stone. The cupolas of the Pagan Towers, which in the fifteenth century had been covered with sandstone slabs, were sealed in a special process, and the water, which for decades had seeped in through gaps and cracks, was evaporated. Thanks to the photogrammetric images made of the cathedral in 1994, which for the first time provided precise information about the exact dimensions of various structural elements, the cathedral stonemasons can now detect any changes and set clear priorities for the work of restoration.

During the construction of the Vienna subway in 1979 the Gothic Virgil Chapel was discovered, which had been consecrated at the beginning of the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century it was still used as a place of silent worship and for meetings of the Corpus Christi Brotherhood. The high, narrow interior with simple frescoes on the walls may be seen today by descending to the subway station at St. Stephen's Square.

In 1991 the cathedral received a new organ, built by Wendelin Eberle of Vorarlberg. Installed to the right of the nave it has 55 stops and four manuals and is connected by computer electronics to the chancel.

Although the Metropolitan Church of St. Stephen has been the work of numerous master builders and reflects almost every period of architectural history, the church is also a monumental masterpiece of perfect unity. Catastrophes and pinnacles of Austrian history are reflected in the cathedral's development. The poet and novelist Reinhold Schneider once called the spire of the South Tower the transition between the city and transcendence.
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Antiguo 21-04-2005, 23:32:39   #23
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Avatar de Phobos
Fecha de Ingreso: Sep 2003
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Antiguo 22-04-2005, 11:57:44   #24
Avatar de Arpels
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the churche is so higgggggggggggggggg
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Antiguo 22-04-2005, 12:14:10   #25
Avatar de Matthieu
Fecha de Ingreso: Mar 2004
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So the construction started 850 years ago. But the church itself isn't 850 years old .
"To erect a tall building is to proclaim one’s faith in the future, the skyline is a seismograph of optimism."
Jean Nouvel
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Antiguo 26-12-2005, 10:47:10   #26
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Avatar de forvine
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Antiguo 26-12-2005, 11:16:56   #27
Sinjin P.
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Antiguo 19-04-2006, 23:26:26   #28
Épater la Bourgeoisie
Avatar de El_Greco
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My Travels : Barcelona|Edinburgh|Glasgow|London|Madrid|New York|Paris|Taipei|Vilnius
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Antiguo 19-04-2006, 23:29:03   #29
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Avatar de decapitated
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Great view from both towers. Check out my pics from Vienna, there'ra also a couple from the lower tower. Just click the link in my signature
The cathedral deserves 9/10
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Antiguo 21-04-2006, 21:36:21   #30
Avatar de Pepeo
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Ich mag diese Sehenswurdigkeit am libsten so von mir 10...
Sól Ziemi Czarnej
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Antiguo 29-04-2006, 12:18:47   #31
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Antiguo 23-06-2006, 11:59:14   #32
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Antiguo 30-06-2006, 01:32:59   #33
Avatar de crossbowman
Fecha de Ingreso: Apr 2006
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[- ANDROS -]

[- Reunification of the PARTHENON Marbles -]

Life is FULL of rude awakenings...
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Antiguo 30-06-2006, 19:12:00   #34
A L.G.D.G.A.D.U.
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lovely roofs and spires

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Antiguo 01-07-2006, 10:55:14   #35
To Engineer is Human
Avatar de Principes
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S.P.Q.R.-"Senatus Populusque Romanus" - the Senate and People of Rome
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Antiguo 01-07-2006, 12:35:04   #36
My Pony
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Antiguo 16-07-2006, 22:23:11   #37
Avatar de sharpie20
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9/10 funky roof
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Antiguo 17-07-2006, 18:14:25   #38
Aedifico, Ergo Sum
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Antiguo 07-08-2006, 00:03:43   #39
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Antiguo 15-09-2006, 04:36:25   #40
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Guto Magalhães

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