Cathedrals in Austria

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg"s Cathedral is probably the city"s most significant piece of church architecture and its ecclesiastical center. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome it represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. The cathedral origin is closely connected to the ecclesiastical principality"s demeanour and growth. Destroyed by fire and rebuilt, enlarged and expanded, it bear ...
Founded: 774 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen"s Cathedral (Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen" ...
Founded: 1359 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Innsbruck Cathedral

Innsbruck Cathedral was built between 1717 and 1724 on the site of a 12th-century Romanesque church. The interior is enclosed by three domed vaults spanning the nave, and a dome with lantern above the chancel. With its lavish Baroque interior, executed in part by the Asam brothers, St. James is considered among the most important Baroque buildings in the Tyrol. Innsbruck Cathedral is notable for two important treasures. ...
Founded: 1717-1724 | Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Graz Cathedral

Graz Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Giles. It is the seat of the bishop of the Steiermark diocese. The church was built in 1438-1462 by Friederick III in the Gothic architecture. It was refurbished in Baroque style in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The exterior of the cathedral looks very sober today. In the Gothic period, however, the façades were covered with paintings. One fresco has been preserved - the so ...
Founded: 1438-1462 | Location: Graz, Austria

Gurk Cathedral

Gurk Cathedral is a Romanesque pillar basilica and former cathedral built from 1140 to 1200. It is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Austria. With its consecration in 1174, the grave of Saint Hemma of Gurk was relocated there from former Gurk Abbey, a Benedictine nunnery she had founded in 1043 and which was dissolved by Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg in 1070/72, in order to fund the newly established Gur ...
Founded: 1140-1200 | Location: Gurk, Austria

Linz New Cathedral

The New Cathedral (Mariä-Empfängnis-Dom) construction plans were started in 1855 by Bishop Franz-Josef Rudigier. The first stone was laid in 1862. In 1924 Bishop Johannes Maria Gföllner consecrated the finished building as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The plans, drawn by the master builder of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Vincenz Statz, were made in the French high Gothic style. With 20,000 se ...
Founded: 1862-1924 | Location: Linz, Austria

Sankt Pölten Cathedral

Sankt Pölten Cathedral has been the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Sankt Pölten since 1785, having previously been the church of the Augustinian Abbey of St. Pölten, dissolved in 1784. The building, despite being a well-preserved late Romanesque structure, is Baroque in appearance. The use of the site for religious buildings is believed to date from around 790, when a Benedictine monastery was establishe ...
Founded: 1621 | Location: Sankt Pölten, Austria

Eisenstadt Cathedral

St. Martin"s Cathedral in Eisenstadt was first mentioned 1264. From this chapel there are still remains of a Romanesque foundation in the area of the present choir. In the 13th century the chapel was extended by the addition of an early Gothic choir. In the 14th century a chapel for lay people was added. In 1460 the church was rebuilt under the town captain Johann Siebenhirter as a fortified or defensive church, as a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eisenstadt, Austria

Wiener Neustadt Cathedral

St. George"s Cathedral, also called Wiener Neustadt Cathedral is the cathedral of the military ordinariate and a minor basilica. The church, begun in 1440 on the west side of the castle of Wiener Neustadt, was commissioned from the architect Peter von Pusica by Frederick IV, Duke of Austria. At the end of the work the church was dedicated to St. Mary and consecrated in 1460. In 1479 the Order of the Knights of St. Ge ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Wiener Neustadt, Austria

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in located in the historic Greek neighborhood of Vienna"s Innere Stadt. Greek Orthodox churches have existed near this site since 1787, as a result of the 1781 Patent of Toleration issued by Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. The architect of the 1787 building was Peter Mollner. The current building is a Byzantine Revival re-design of the Mollner building by Danish-Austrian neo-classic ...
Founded: 1858 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Linz Old Cathedral

The Old Cathedral (Alter Dom) in Linz was built by Jesuits between 1669 and 1683 in Baroque style. From 1785 to 1909 it served as cathedral of the Diocese of Linz. The church was erected near the former Jesuits" College at the south end of the Hauptplatz. The church was originally called the Church of Ignatius and was dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit Order. The Jesuit Order was dissolve ...
Founded: 1669-1683 | Location: Linz, Austria

St. Nicholas Cathedral

The St. Nicholas Cathedral or just Feldkirch Cathedral is part of the old town and is the largest Gothic church in Vorarlberg. With the founding of the diocese of Feldkirch parish church it became a cathedral on 12 August of 1968. In the city fires of 1348, 1396 and 1460 the building of the original church was badly affected. In 1478 the church built under the plans of architect Hans Sturm added a new late Gothic nave eq ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Feldkirch, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.