What goes up must go down

I’m just about to leave the wonderful city of Vienna. We had a short stay, but made the most of it by exploring the wonderful St. Stephen’s cathedral.

We went mostly up and mostly down. First, we climbed the 343 steps up the south tower. This is what it looks like from the outside:

ststephens_tower

The climb up (and down) involved navigating a very narrow corkscrew stone staircase that was not exactly good for my claustrophobic nerves . . .

ststephens_lefwalkingdown

ststephens_stairsdown

However, there were a few delightful distractions along the way, such as gargoyle faces and mysterious doors . . .

ststephens_gargoyle

ststephens_hatch

This was the view from the top:

ststephens_view

We then went beneath the cathedral on a guided tour of the catacombs.

The crypt itself was quite modern, as it holds important remains of leaders in Austrian history, such as Frederick III. These important figures were interred in proper coffins and tombs. Nearby, there were many urns that didn’t really capture our interest until it was explained that they contained the internal organs of the deceased.

We then moved on to the more gloomy portions of the crypt, where the bones of plague victims and residents of the old, discontinued cemetery are now kept. After having been in the Paris catacombs, where the bones were quite neatly stacked, it was rather chilling to just see piles of haphazard remains. In other cases, some remnants of clothing and coffin remained around.

I couldn’t take any photos, but a quick Internet search afterwards allowed me to find a few afterwards from other photographers (these two below are by Eddie Codel).

bones_ststephens_catacomb_eddiecodel

decaying_bones_ststephens_catacomb_eddiecodel

Oh, and here is one of the many doors out of the catacombs . . . it rather looks like a prison door, if you ask me.

ststephens_doortobelow

We’re now off to Budapest . . . and looking forward to what adventures we can find there!

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