St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria June 29, 2009

Published by Erica on

The exterior didn’t nearly betray the beauties inside. Scaffolding and paper facade mimicking the underlying structure being renovated, I didn’t really think the cathedral was all that impressive. I walked in the small doorway, which seemed almost lost in the wall. A dark, tunnel-like passage led through to the vestibule. And then I was in the cathedral.

My jaw literally dropped. I was awe-struck by the scene unfolding and soaring before me. The space felt so vast! True to Gothic style, the verticality in the building captivated my eyes heavenward and my jaw downwards. After appreciating the artistic beauty and vision, I finally gathered my wits to look at the rest of the building. Intricate stone carved pulpits, rich stained-glass windows, and at least two pipe organs… it was a feast for the eyes. Even with all the tourists milling around, you could sense the reverence inside, a feeling inspired by the spacious skyscraping interior.

Going back outside after seeing the inside (where we spent a good deal of time appreciating the architecture, beauty, and pews), the exterior seemed vastly more impressive. That cathedral is HUGE! It takes up so much ground space and its walls and supporting structures are simply massive, in stark contrast to the delicate details. I loved seeing my first true Gothic Cathedral in real life. You really feel small as a human being inside that vast space. And to think of the decades or centuries spent building it by hand– there were stone parts near the vestibule that had been broken off over the years. It was a beautiful, incredible building.

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