Cathedral and Graben

Cathedral from Belvedere

One of the most prominent features in Vienna is St Stephen’s Cathedral or the Stefandom. Close up I found it rather disappointing, and the finest view is surely that from a distance, as seen here from the Belvedere Palace. The great glory is the South Tower now fully restored after the war. Originally there was intended to be a balancing tower  on the north, but this was never completed and is merely marked by the dome  that can be seen here.

 

The other remarkable feature is the roof,  with its multicoloured tiles.

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture of a service inside the cathedral, taken thanks to my new HDR camera which is superb in low light

 

 

 

This is the west end of the cathedral facing out on to the street. I am afraid that my initial impression was that it is nowhere near as good as Lincoln Cathedral!

 

 

 

The cathedral faces out onto the street known as Graben. This is the most fashionable street in Vienna where pretty girls parade up and down. There are also numerous cafes where men sit and admire the pretty girls.

Graben means ditch,  and originally this was the site of the northern defences of the Roman legionary fortress. When this was eventually filled in, it became a wide boulevard which in the 19th century became very fashionable.

 

 

The most famous monument in the Graben is the Pestsaule, or Plague column, erected to mark the plague of 1679 . It was designed by numerous architects over a 20 year period, and is one of the high points of baroque art.

It was erected under strong Jesuit influence, and it is widely considered that the real plague was Protestantism, and that this celebrates the success of the Counter- Reformation in Vienna

 

 

And here is a close-up of the scene at the bottom of the pillar. Look carefully (click on it to enlarge it). It appears to show a female figure holding a cross assisting a small winged figure,  presumably a small angel, who is pushing an elderly gaunt figure down into the ground or possibly into hell. But who is the gaunt figure being pushed down into hell? Is this a personification of the plague? Or is this a personification of Protestantism? Or is it both? Was not the plague God’s punishment for the plague of Protestantism?

 

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