Krems Steiner Tor (Stone Tower)

Krems Steiner Tor (Stone Tower)

One of the most notable buildings in Krems is the Steiner Tor, built in the 15th century. It is considered Krems’ major landmark, and a major landmark in the ancient Wachau wine region (mentioned in previous blogs, the Wachau’s history can be recorded back to prehistoric times. There is a very nice description of the whole region at

Krems Steinertor showing wall

The city was once surrounded by thick fortification walls, but this is all that remains now of the original city gate. In 2005, From 2005, on the 700th anniversary of Krems’ establishment as a city, later Baroque revisions were removed and the Tor restored to its medieval appearance.

Krems Steinertor AEIOU

One feature of the Tor is a small plaque with the letters “AEIOU,” a kind of graffiti of the Habsburg monarch Frederick III whose life spanned most of the 15th century. A Wikipedia article offers the following amusing information: “Emperor Frederick III (1415–93), who had a fondness for mythical formulae, habitually signed buildings and objects with the acronym.[1] Frederick III did not explain its meaning at the time, though shortly before his death, he claimed it stood for (German) “Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan” (MKL 1890)[2] or “All the world is subject to Austria.” For alternative meanings, see

Krems Steinertor 16th century plaque

There is also a 16th century plaque on one of the walls dating to remember a devastating flooding of the Donau in 1573 (an ongoing problem until well into the 19th century).

Krems Steinertor Anna Lambert plaque
According to the city’s official walking tour online (, “The installation at the base by Leo Zogmeyer contains metal cubes with proclamations to commemorate the brutal persecution and annihilation of Jews from Krems after 1938.” This original installation is no longer there (at least, we did not find it?); a plaque commemorating the installation remains on the city side wall by the entrance:


About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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