Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Vienna VIII

The picture above shows the interior of the roof of Stephansdom, it is like a huge attic. One is standing on the floor which is the cathedral roof that one sees from the aisle. Above you is the inside of the colour tiled roof one sees from outside. This is a huge space that is used as a laboratory for restoring old stones from the cathedral facade, a lecture hall and an educational centre. It also has a balcony above the West door from which one can enjoy spectacular views of Vienna. Access is through these manned circular lifts.
Below are some views from the top of the Cathedral and also the famous bell called the Pummerin, known also as the voice of Vienna or the voice of victory. It is rung for major events, and it was rung as the Cardinal laid hands on those being ordained to the priesthood. It's voice really makes an impression. This is its story: The battle of Vienna took place in September 1683. The Ottomans hugely outnumbred the Viennese and Polish forces. In a mysterious way the Ottomans lost the battle and fled. They left behind their tents, their flocks and their canons. The canons were melted and turned into this huge, deep toned voice bell in the Cathedral. It is officially named for St. Mary, but usually called Pummerin ("Boomer") and hangs in the north tower. At 20,130 kilograms(44,380 pounds), it is the largest in Austria and the second largest swinging bell in Europe (after the 23,500-kilogram (51,800-pound) Peter in Cologne Cathedral). This bell was recast (partly from its original metal) in 1951 after crashing onto the floor when its wooden cradle burned during the 1945 fire. The new bell has a diameter of 3.14 metres (9.6 ft) and was a gift from the province of Upper Austria. It sounds on only a few special occasions each year, including the arrival of the new year.

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