My Tour of Zentralfriedhof

I am fascinated by cemeteries.  Previously on this blog I have written posts about the Brompton Cemetery in London and Recoleta in Buenos Aires.

The protagonist in my second novel, the satirical black comedy Necropolis, works for the burials and cemeteries department in his local council.  Necropolis features a number of fictional cemeteries.

This week’s blog post is dedicated to my recent trip to Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna.  At 620 acres (2.5 km sq) Zentralfriedhof is one of the World’s largest cemeteries.  I was unaware how large the cemetery was when I entered the facility through one of its side entrances.  The plan of the cemetery below gives some indication of its size. Zentralfriedhof is a multi-faith facility that caters for a range of Christian denominations, as well as those of a Jewish and Muslim persuasion.

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Here are some graves.

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This was the first time that I had come across deaths pending (see below).  Rather macabre perhaps, but there’s nothing like being prepared.

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Nikolic really liked his Mercedes.

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It was beginning to dawn on me just how large Zentralfriedhof is.  The below photo is of one of the cemetery’s many avenues.

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I was nearing exhaustion by the time I made it to the main entrance, where I came across the cemetery’s primary mode of transport (see below).  Warning: Don’t touch, they bite.

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A horse-drawn carriage proved to be an excellent way to view the burial facility, if not a particularly economical one. Below is the cemetery’s church, St. Charles Borromeo.

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Zentralfriedhof contains a diverse range of burial receptacles (see below).

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Unlike the other Austrians I had the privilege to converse with, my carriage driver, who appeared to have the personality of a corpse, spoke virtually no English.  The linguistic barrier made me concerned that I was going to miss out on the cemetery’s Musiker (musician) section. I contemplated how I was going to utilise my 40-50 words of German to express this concern. The plan was to go with – ‘Halten Beethoven grab bitte’. I was poised to utter this when the carriage drew to a halt in the Musiker section. The below is a picture of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Austrian composers.

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This is Schubert’s grave.

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And Mozart’s.

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Here is Beethoven’s.

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I forgot all about Johann Strauss.  He is also interred here.

The newly deceased continue to be tempted to Zentralfriedhof on a daily basis. And for good reason. But at 300 – 1,500 Euros per annum (standard grave site), they’ll need more than a Co-operative funeral care plan to cover the cost.  

I would highly recommend Zentralfriedhof to anyone planning to visit Vienna.  Below is a memorial plinth at its main entrance commemorating Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I.

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Necropolis

8 Comments

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  • Thanks for very interesting cemetery tour. So they have to keep paying to be buried there after they’re dead?

    • Yes, even being dead isn’t free, at least not in a lot of city cemeteries. I think most are paid longterm prior to burial.

  • That’s one huge cemetery. You could spend like a week in there. I’ve been to Vienna twice but never went. My friend said there are wild deer living in it. The Musiker section is pretty cool. Your German sentence wasn’t that bad considering you know 40-50 words.

    • You’re really testing my knowledge now John. One suspects Vienna Council wouldn’t charge Mozart after all the tourist dollars he brings the city (c.f. chocolates, key rings etc. & tours of his old house).

  • That looks like a great tour Guy. I share your fascination for cemeteries as I’ve mentioned before so any visit to Vienna for me would have to include a tour of this cemetery. 🙂

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