Favorite thing: Ludwig van wasn't originally buried in the Zentralfriedhof - he died in 1827, and the cemetery wasn't opened until 1874. But it was thought to be appropriate that he be here, and his remains were shifted in 1889 - along with those of Franz Schubert, who has his own memorial nearby. There's practically a composer's corner, with Brahms, Gluck, and the entire Johann Strauss family all close to one another.
Favorite thing: Vienna's favorite anti-semitic political leader was so beloved, he was honored with having the Zentralfriedhof's imposing church named after him. It really is quite a beautiful structure, with delicious mosaics, interesting stained glass, and this wonderfully painted dome.
Favorite thing: Another part of the Zentralfriedhof features row after row of Soviet War Graves - soldiers who died in the final push through Austria in the spring of 1945. Try to ignore the banal quotes from Stalin, and concentrate on the impression of an entire generation raked by war.
Favorite thing: Anti-semitism had consequences for the dead as well as for the living: the Jewish quarter of the Zentralfriedhof was heavily desecrated between 1938 & 1945. In recent years, volunteers have been working to restore damaged gravesites, and now there are several full-time staff devoted to that effort. There are also markers here for those who lived in Vienna up to the war years but who died elsewhere - in incomprehensible circumstances.
Favorite thing: Zentralfriedhof really should be considered a "must see" in Vienna - it's easily one of the most spectacular cemetaries in the world. Hard to believe, but the remains of 2.5 million people are here! It's the only cemetary that I know of that has it's own internal bus service. You should really been a picnic and make a day of it here, as I did. There's a great deal of interest to be seen - and it should be remembered that this is still an active and functioning cemetary. For example, this is the very recentlyt completed memorial to the great Viennese actress Inge Konradi (1924-2002) She was a child actress in the 1930s, and continued to work in film and in Vienna's Volkstheater, the Burgtheater, and the Theater in der Josefstadt until her death. (Once theater is in your blood, there's no cure.)
Favorite thing: The Zentralfriedhof is really a kind of visual encyclopedia of "remembrance" in the contemporary world.
Favorite thing: Look at that firm jaw! Sure, this is a conventional piece of "Soviet Realism," but here at least I think there's something real behind it.
Favorite thing: Many of the graves in the Jewish quarter were vandalized beyond the point of repair. Presently, restorers are putting up unmarked headstone to commemorate those who burial plots were destroyed.
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