Great Place Wednesday: Stephansplatz; Vienna, Austria

Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical center of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna’s cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world. Before the 20th century, a row of houses separated Stephansplatz from Stock-im-Eisen-Platz, but since their destruction, the name Stephansplatz started to be used for the wider area covering both. To the west and south, respectively, run the exclusive shopping streets Graben (literally “ditch”) and Kärntner Straße.  Opposite the Stephansdom is the Haas-Haus, a piece of striking modern architecture by Hans Hollein. Although public opinion was originally skeptical about the combination of the medieval cathedral and the glass and steel building, it is now considered an example of how old and new architecture can mix harmoniously.

Stephanzplatz from the air.

 

St. Stephans Cathedral from the Graben.

View of Vienna from the tower of St. Stephans’

Graben, one of Vienna’s most exclusive shopping streets.  Graben (literally “trench”) was once a water-filled trench lying along the outside wall of the ancient Roman city of Vindobona, eventually encompassed by the city as the medieval city of Vienna grew to become the cultural center of eastern Europe.

Haas Haus overlooking Stephansplatz, Vienna.