Pummerin – the largest bell in Austria

The “Pummerin”, which hangs since 1957 in the north tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is the largest and heaviest bell in Austria. The weight of about 21 tons and the diameter of three meters make it the second largest free-swinging bell in Europe, just after the “thick pitter” of the Cologne Cathedral. In Austria, it is not only the largest, but also the most famous bell.

Die Glocke des Stephansdoms in Großaufnahme
The Pummerin © Zr

Pummerin bell Stephansdom

  • the largest bell in Austria
  • the third largest bell of Western and Central Europe
  • the fifth largest free-swinging in the world
  • and the second largest free-swinging in a church tower.

The old “Pummerin” was built in 1711 after being commissioned by Emperor Joseph I in gratitude for the liberation from the Turks. It was cast from the material of conquered cannons. Originally it was called “Josephine Bell” because of the Emperor, but the citizens of the city started talking about her because of her “Pummerin” sound. In 1945, the bell crashed during the fire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and only in 1952, the old was replaced by the new Pummerin and was initially until 1957 on a scaffold next to the cathedral. The new was partly cast from the material of the old bell and was a gift from the federal state of Upper Austria to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

The sound of the bell

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The Pummerin rang much less often than other church bells and only on special events such as on high holidays. For example, on Easter Sunday, Whitsunday and Corpus Christi, it rings at the beginning and at the end of the procession. You can also hear them at the Domweihfest on the 23rd of April. In autumn and winter, the sound of the bell rings on All Souls, Christmas Eve and St. Stephan’s Day. It receives special attention from citizens and visitors of the city on New Year’s Eve when it literally “rings in” the turn of the year. The saddest occasion of their sound is the death of important ecclesiastical personalities.

Infotafel über die Herkunft der Glocke
Pummerin from Grassmayr © Zr

In 2011, as part of a renovation of the bell of the bell was replaced by a lighter.