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Stephansplatz, or St. Stephen’s Square, is one of the busiest places in Vienna. Geographically it is located approximately just in the middle of the city in Innere Stadt (first district).
In fact today’s Stephansplatz used to be two squares in the past: Stephansplatz and Stock-im-Eisen-Platz. The houses which separated them were torn down and the name Stephansplatz is now mostly used for both.
As the name suggests, it is the place where you can find Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Stephansdom. The cathedral and its attractiveness as a tourist destination is most likely the reason for the crowds which occupy the whole square, especially in high tourist season. In front of the cathedral you will meet street entertainers and other guys dressed as Mozarts promoting various cultural events taking place in Vienna. There are also many hotels near Stephansplatz.
Opposite the cathedral’s entrance is the Haas-Haus, a modern piece of architecture designed by architect Hans Hollein. The building, finished in 1990, was controversial at first, as some people were afraid of the combination of the old cathedral and the glass house. But now most appreciate the way both buildings fit together. You can see the reflection of the cathedral’s tower on the glass edge of Hans-Haus, which now serves as a restaurant.
Stephansplatz is the place where two popular shopping streets meet, namely Kärntner Strasse (runs from Stephansplatz to the south) and Graben (runs to the east). At the corner between these two streets there is the Stock-im-Eisen. Going all the way down the Kärntner Strasse would bring you to the Opera and to Karlsplatz in a few minutes. Stephansplatz is also at easy walking distance from Hofburg and Museumsquartier.
Stephansplatz is an important junction of U-Bahn lines U1 and U3 and therefore it is easily accessible by metro. No tram lines go directly to Stephansplatz, as there are no tracks. There are three bus lines which go here: 1A, 2A, and 3A. However note that these don’t operate on Sundays. You can also reach Stephansplatz if you hop on one of the coloured sightseeing buses operated by various companies.
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