Graben: Graben, the “elongated square”, which was the heart of the city’s commercial activity for over 5 centuries and is now adorned with luxury shop windows: the most elegant pedestrian area in Vienna.
The Square is embellished in the centre with the Pestsaule (Plague column) in baroque style, put up in 1693 to celebrate the end of the plague which had decimated the population in the whole of Europe for over ten years.
The city’s most beautiful buildings overlook this square and were built on the designs of great architects, and are now used as homes or offices or otherwise as shops or shopping centres.
One example of this is the Haas Haus, an artwork by Hans Hollein and one of the most exciting buildings in Vienna and the city’s pride and joy, where the image of the cathedral of Saint Stephen can be seen reflected in the windows.
In addition, one of the city’s most exclusive café and restaurant at the top affords a spectacular view of the cathedral.
At the far end of Graben square, you will see Stephansplatz (a square which was originally the cemetery of Saint Stephen) where the Cathedral of Saint Stephen (Stephansdom) stands tall: a visit to Stephansdom is one of the most famous tourist activities in Vienna.
The Cathedral is situated in the heart of the City (along Innere Stadt) and it is the very symbol of Vienna, as well as being the largest Austrian gothic monument. It was built in 1147 in Romanesque style and underwent a large number of modifications and expansions, taking it to its current appearance around the Fifteenth Century. It was the tallest building in Europe for quite some time, standing tall at 137 metres.