I wish I could be in Vienna for this event on October 1st. Vienna and coffee have long been linked but this is coffee with a twist. A makeshift café is being set up in one of the towers of St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom), and visitors can get a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. The café will offer sweeping views of the Austrian capital from the 72m/236ft-high tower.
The lofty café won’t be permanent. Vienna’s Coffeehouse Association announced it’s a one-day event to help mark the city’s annual Coffee Day on October 1st.
This is what you might see from the tower: a view of the colored tiled cathedral roof; a long view down to the square below, more than likely lined with horse carriages; panoramic views across Vienna’s roof tops to the River Danube and the hills beyond.
And this is what your coffee and cake might look like. We had these delectable dishes in the famous Café Central. As they say in German, “Wunderbar!”
See below the pics for some background to Stephansdom and its towers.
Destroyed and rebuilt countless times over the last 800 years, St Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of Vienna is the city’s most famous landmark and symbol. The area around it was cleared of its cemetery in the 18th century and became St Stephen’s Square, the lively pedestrian area we know today. All that remains of the original 13th-century Romanesque church are the Giants Doorway and Heathen Towers. The inside is a Gothic extravaganza, with its ribbed vaults and ornate pulpit.
The South Tower, the Steffl, is a 137-m high (450-ft) German Gothic spire. From the Sexton’s Lodge inside, visitors can climb 343 steps as far as a viewing platform at 73m/239ft.
The North Tower, or Adlerturm (eagles’ tower) was never completed, according to legend, because the master builder, Hans Puchsbaum, broke a pact he’d made with the devil, by pronouncing a holy name. The devil caused him to fall to his death and construction stopped in 1511. The North Tower now houses the Pummerin Bell, another potent symbol for the city, as it rings in the New Year as well as pealing on other occasions. The original bell was made from 180 melted-down bronze canons abandoned when the Turks fled Vienna in 1683 and was in the South Tower. That bell crashed down through the roof in 1945, during a fire in the cathedral, and a new, bigger one was cast using the remains of the old. A lift takes visitors to almost the top of the tower at 60m/196ft. After climbing some steps from there, they get to a viewing platform, where they can see the bell, and get a wonderful panoramic view out over the city across to the Vienna hills and the River Danube, and down into the roof.
The cathedral is also known for its beautiful tiled roof. The colorful zig-zag patterns are made up of almost a quarter million glazed tiles, which were carefully restored after damage at the end of WW2. The highlight is the imperial two-headed eagle on the southeast.