St. Stephen’s Cathedral’s massive south tower is its highest point and a dominant feature of the Vienna skyline. Its construction lasted 65 years, from 1368 to 1433.
From the time of its foundation in the 12th century, the Stephanskirche, which became a cathedral (Stephansdom) in 1469, played an important role in church politics. Of the Romanesque parish church only the west towers, the west portal (the so-called Riesentor) and west gallery remain, but the Gothic structure is one of the most remarkable examples of a hall church. Its south tower, the Stephansturm (‘Steffel’), was the tallest spire (h. 137 m) in German-speaking Europe on completion in 1433. St. Stephen’s is also known for its ornately patterned, richly coloured roof, 111 meters (361 ft) long, and covered by 230,000 glazed tiles.