The Rathausmann

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.

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.

The Rathausmann would have some trouble finding comfortable footwear –                                                 He takes size 63 (size 29 in Great Britain).


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