The glory of the Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) is its ornately patterned, richly coloured roof, 111 metres (364 ft) long,
and covered by 230.000 glazed tiles. Above the choir on the south side of the building the tiles form a mosaic of the double-headed eagle that is symbolic of the empire ruled from Vienna by the Habsburg dynasty. On the north side the coats of arms of the Republic of Austria (left) and of the City of Vienna (right) are depicted. In 1945, fire caused by World War II damage to nearby buildings leapt to the north tower of the cathedral and destroyed the wooden framework of the roof. Replicating the original bracing for so large a roof (it rises 38 metres above the floor)
would have been cost prohibitive, so over 600 metric tons of steel bracing were used instead.
The roof is so steep that it is sufficiently cleaned by the rain alone and is seldom covered by snow.
Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna (Austria).
The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz (St. Stephen's Square), was largely initiated by
Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Austria's capital, St. Stephen's Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in that nation's history and has,
with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizable symbols.