St. Stephan's Cathedral (Der Stephansdom)
To visit St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom), one of Vienna’s most famous sights, is definitely one of THE things to do in Vienna. St. Stephen's Cathedral lies in the centre of Vienna. Locals use it as a reference point, as a meeting point, as a religious landmark, etc...and they have been doing it for centuries. This outstanding cathedral was built in the mid-12th century - at that time it was the highest building in Europe - and remained so for a long time. Today you can climb the nearly 350 steps to the tower-keeper's room on top and enjoy a breathtaking view over the city! (only suitable for people without fear of claustrophobia and heights - the ancient staircase is narrow, uneven and quite uncomfortable).
The cathedral is so well known because of 2 things: a colourful and impressive roof (check out the zig-zag pattern), and the exceptionally beautiful tower (137m high) - it has been built in the gothic style - and it is almost impossible to find such tall constructions dating from the Middle Ages anywhere in the world today - so have a look, it is really a memorable sight! The inside of the Cathedral hosts many art treasures: you will find many noblemen buried here, a beautiful Gothic winged altar, an exceptional pulpit - the best option is to join a guided tour offered by the cathedral itself. They usually happen 2x a day (St Stehpan's Cathedral). Otherwise, you can also use one of the "mobile phone guides" displayed inside the church - it will take you about 30min to listen to all the exciting history around this cathedral.
By the way, if you are in town for New Years Eve - the bell you will hear strike at midnight is the famous 'Pummerin' - she (bells are always female in German) is used, on special occasions only, i.e. the famous New Year's celebrations, but also for commemorating special moments in Austria, i.e. funerals, parades, etc.
The St. Stephan's Cathedral is located at the end of the pedestrian street called "Graben". This area in Viennas inner city is usually very crowded with both locals. In the middle of the the "Graben" you will be able to see the impressive "Pestsäule" constructed towards the end of the 17th century - it was erected to commemorate the end of the plague during which more than 100.000 Viennese died. The Graben also hosts the most expensive high fashion stores in Vienna - one very close to the other - you will not get lost...