A climb up the 225 steps of the steeple is definitely worth the effort. The viewing platform offers a grand view of the historic city centre of Klagenfurt and an impressive panoramic view from Lake Wörthersee to the Karawanken and Koralpe Mountains.
An exhibition is also open to visitors about the history of the church tower and the way the watchmen lived in former times high up the tower in the old watchman's apartment quarters. The utensils they used are also on display.
The viewing platform is at a height of 45 m
Height of church tower: 90 m
A carillon on the tower with its charming mobile figures, chimes several times a day. Inside St. Aegidius’ parish church, you can also visit the Fuchs Chapel.
The legend of the tower guardian
The signal for the midnight hour was, however, only allowed to be blown towards the west, north and east, but never towards the south, because it was here where the cemetery of St. Ruprecht was situated outside of the town and the sound of the horn could have awakened the dead from the peace of their graves.
Once, the tower guardianship was held by a bad drunkard who preferred his liquor to sounding the horn from the tower. One evening, in a bad mood and already rather drunk, he went to his local pub to join in with the regulars. The usual daily drinking crowd was already present and his mates started making fun of him for arriving so late. One of them joked about his guardian’s duties and another jeered about his son who marked the hours on behalf of his father by sounding out the horn – saying that the sound of his horn was so piteous that it was as if he wanted to awaken the dead.
The tower guardian was so annoyed about the mockery shown by his drinking mates that he jumped up in rage shouting “I’ll wake the dead for you” and then ran out of the door and went to the tower. It was exactly the time to sound out the midnight hour so he quickly grabbed his horn and blew out loudly towards the west, north and east and then … towards the south.
Frightened to death, the wife of the tower guardian lunged towards him and tried to pull the horn out of the hands of the frenzied horn blower. But it was all in vain! He blew the horn towards the south with such vehemence that the sound flew over the roofs and fields and reached the gates of the cemetery.
This place of rest soon began to eerily come to life. The graves opened and creepy figures swayed out of their depths. This ghostly train moved silently towards the tower, from where they had been awakened, accompanied by the light of the moon. The tower guardian saw the ghosts coming closer with their grinning dead faces, bony hands and white skeletons – an army of scary figures silently ascending the steep steps to the tower. White with fright the foolhardy tower guardian kneeled down and stretched out his hands to keep them off him, but it was too late. The first ghostly figure had already crooked his bony fingers through the bars of the grids in the tower to reach the man who was shaking like a leaf – then the bell struck one and this terrible spooky sight was carried by the winds and dispersed in every direction.
Since then, no tower guardian in Klagenfurt has ever dared to sound off his horn towards the south and awaken the dead from their eternal sleep.
(Source: Die schönsten Sagen aus Österreich, o. A., o. J., S.141)