The Rathausmann and the Tower of the City Hall
Atop the 97.9-metre-high steeple, an iron standard-bearer - the Rathausmann - guards the City Hall. Cast from melted-down Russian kopecks, he is 5.4 metres tall (3.4 metres without his flagpole) and weighs 650 kilograms. The statue of a medieval knight was modelled on the armour of Emperor Maximilian I. A sphere weighing approximately 800 kilograms (a kind of giant pendulum acting as a counterweight) helps him to keep his balance and defy even the fiercest storms.
In 1985 the workshops of the Vienna gasworks were commissioned with the restoration of the Rathausmann. As a suprise, the the gasworks craftsmen produced an exact replica of the Rathausmann. This replica is on display in the Rathauspark.
A bit of trivia:
The Rathausmann would have some trouble finding comfortable footwear - he takes size 63 (size 29 in Great Britain).
The Tower of the City Hall
There are 331 steps to take you up the City Hall Tower which measures almost 98 meters. Two spiral staircases up 256 stone steps and then another 75 to the highest point, rising above the watchman's lookout of St. Stephen's Cathedral. Emperor Francis Joseph made it a condition that the City Hall Tower was not to be higher than the 99 meter spires of Votivkirche. So Friedrich Schmidt had to resort to a ruse to build higher still: the Tower itself is "only" 97.9 meters high. It is the Rathausmann placed on its top which makes it a total of 104.3 metres.
© Photo: Media WienContact for this page:
City Information Centre (Municipal Department 55)