Kapuzinerkirche is almost nondescript little church on Neuer Markt Platz and I took a photo of it only in passing. To be honest, I had no idea what the significance this church has for Austria and Austrians.
The story says that Capuchin Brothers, under Lorenzo da Brindisi, resided Vienna in about 1599. They had been sent to Prague by Pope Clement VIII in the course of the Counter-Reformation. Matthias of Habsburg invited them to stop temporarily in Vienna and he donated and constructed a new church for the brothers. The church and the monastery was finished in 1632, under the rule of Ferdinand II, the successor of Matthias.
The church is most famous for containing the Imperial Crypt, the final resting place for members of the House of Habsburgs. The name of the church is Saint Mary of the Angels but most people call if Kaisergruft. The subterranean mausoleum is the Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft) and since 1633 it is the principal place of entombment for the Habsburg dynasty. Kaisergruft or Kapuzinergruft is a burial chamber beneath the church and monastery. The bodies of 145 Habsburg royalty are deposited here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses.
The Capuchin friars continue their customery role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt.
Kapuzinergruft is next to Kapuzinerkirche at the end of Neuer Markt and it does not look very special from outside, although 138 of the austrian emperors are buried there with their families, including Maria Theresia, and our last emperor, Kaiser Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi . See my extra-pictures with great details of the tombs !
The last member of the Habsburg-family, who was buried there was empress Zita, who died in 1989.
Kaisergruft under the Kapuzinerkirche is open
daily 09.30.a.m. untill 04.00p.m.
People interested in European history or funeral-related art should visit the Kapuzinergruft, the Imperial crypt from the house of Habsburg. It may not look as large and pompous as the palaces from outside, but is far larger than it appears from street level.
There are well over 150 members of the House of Habsburg entered in these vaults, many of them held powerful and important offices such as Holy Roman Emperor or Emperor of Austria. Most of them are buried in highly decorated bronze sarcophagi, the most notable ones being probably those of Empress Maria Theresia and that of her father Charles VI, which is notable for the crowned skulls. The entry fee (5,00 EUR, 4,00 EUR concessions, group tickets available – info as of mid-2011) includes a leaflet with a small who is who (and where) of the Austrian Habsburgs. You should plan a little more than an hour for the visit. Guided tours are only available upon request.
The last person to be interred in the vaults was Otto von Habsburg (1912-2011), who was active as a politician on the level of the European Union. He was the man behind the Paneuropean picnic, an event which led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Hungary in 1989. The Imperial crypt is part of the Capuchin Church which is still run and maintained by Capuchin monks. One of the traditions around the Kapuzinergruft is related to the monkish humility: When a member of the Habsburg family is brought for his or her burial to the imperial vault, the monks ask first who the person seeking admission is. The herald of the deceased announces him or her with all his titles and the monks reply that they do not know this person. The same is repeated once again, but with a shorter form of the titles only. In the third and last try the herald says the name of the deceased only and the words “ein sterblicher und sündiger Mensch” (roughly translated as “a mere mortal”) upon which the monks give access to the funeral march. Some members of the Habsburg family have their heart (and in some cases even their bowles) interred in other places, sometimes for traditional reasons, sometimes because they feel that their heart is attached to a certain place.
Both names, Kaisergruft and Kapuzinergruft, are in use. Kaisergruft is a more colloquial term while Kapuzinergruft the historically correct one. Still, Kaisergruft is found more common.
The Kaisergruft, found in the basement of the KapuzinerKirche, shows how the Hapsburgs of Vienna not only lived in style but also died in style. You will find tombs from the best known monarchs as well as the lesser known ones and there are some beautiful tombs and also some very plain ones found here. Old and young alike are buried here, some as young as one year olds. I found the tombs in the Kaisergruft both fascinating and beautifully styled. It is well worth the visit and will only cost you 5euros pp.
Opening hours are daily 10am to 6pm with last entries to the tombs at 5:40pm.
The emperors’ tomb is placed into the underground part of the Kapuzienerkirche.
It was made after the order of the emperor Matthias in the year 1619.
Here, there are 138 Habsburgs.
Here, you can see the tombs of important emperors: Maria Theresa and of her husband Franz I, the emperor Franz Joseph, the empress Elisabeth, the crown prince Rudolf, and the last empress of Austria, Zita, that died in year 1989.
The tombs are surrounded of many sculptures and statues that have a historic and artistic value.
This church, the Church of the Augustinian Friars, is an old imperial church... not stunning in its architecture but rich in history. This is where the ruling family celebrated their marriages, including the one of Emperor Franz Joseph to Sissi... but more surprisingly it is also the place where the Napoleon married the Austrian Princess Marie Louise.
It was built in the 14th century and presents at least two higlights: the first one is the tomb of Archduchess Maria Christine (in the photo). Her husband suffered a great deal when she died and had the Italian Antonio Canova build this impressive tomb in white Carrara marble. The second highlight is the the Loreto Chapel, where the Herzgruft (heart burial vault) is located. In this Chapel 54 hearts of memebers of the Habsburgs are kept in silver urns.
As far as I know, the Burial Vault of the Hearts of the Habsburgs can be visited on Sundays after High Mass, but I am not speaking out of personal experience.
One of my favourite sights in Vienna was the Kapuzinergruft. We had never planned to visit it but during a rememberance event for emperor Franz Josef I we had no other choice. We came here for a laugh never expecting something as great as this vault where so many emperors of the Austrian empire are buried. Please note that only their bodies are buried here, hearts as well as innards are kept in other churches!!!
Walking through here feels like walking through your history book. Many of the names you read on the coffins you know from there. And the coffins are beautiful, well at least, strangely beautiful. Skulls and bones as well as angels and crowns await you here. They became a bit boring in "recent" years. The most photographed coffin of Frank Josef and his wife "Sissi" look pretty normal to me. I enjoyed the darker ones. I couldn't stop looking at them. And taking pictures...
In this Church I mean Kapuzinerkirche there are 138 remains of emperor's family of Austria. The crypt was founded by wife of emperor in 1617 and last funeral was in year 1989.
The most moving are three tombs with the remains of Franz Josef, his murdered wife Elisabeth (Sisi) and his tragically deceased son Rudolf.
Although a visit to the the Imperial burial vaults beneath the Kapuzinerkirche might not appear on you list of 'Jolly Things to do in Vienna', may I be amongst the first to beg you to reconsider. Although having a macabre personality, a Goth in the family, or a mother-in-law to frighten off the Atkins Diet would all be good reasons to seek out these vaults, all you really need is a capacity to appreciate that, even in death, art has it's place. The extraordinary sculpted coffins that line the vaults beggar simple description and you feel a sense of awe rather than morbidity.
Those with a historical bent will be interested to seek out the resting place of the regally famous/infamous...for example the last reigning Emperor, Franz Josef and his son Rudolf (he of Mayerling fame). Archduke Franz Ferdinand the assassinated WWI catalyst is not here (Schloss Arstetten is where he's buried) but my own favourite, poor Maximilian I of Mexico most certainly is. Poor fellow...
Touring Vienna, we visited Kapuzinerkirche ( Capuchin Church) and Kaisergruft ( Imperial Burial Vault ) where the members of the Habsburg family were buried. We took a closer look at the many royal coffins, including the magnificent double casket for Maria Theresia and her husband, but I must confess that the place gave me the creeps. I felt much better when we got outside.
Under the Kapuzinerkirche are the vaults of the Kaisergruft. This is the imperial crypt, which was founded in 1619 by the Emperor Matthias. The remains of 138 Habsburgs lie here, they include of course Marie Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan. The tomb of Franz Joseph is flanked by the tomb of his assassinated wife Elizabeth (Sissi) and their son Rudolf who committed suicide. The last reigning Habsburg Empress (Zita) died in 1989 and was placed there. Photos are of course not allowed and it is pretty eerie to walk around the crypt but it is interesting and there is so much history there. Wear a jacket or cardigan because it is cold down there!
Open daily 9.30 – 4.00
The imperial crypt has tombs of the Austrian emperors dating back through the centuries. It includes Emporer Franz Joseph. It's most recent addition was Empress Zita, who died in 1989, was the last Empress of Austria. Her husband Karl I ruled from 1916 until his abdication in 1918.
It's a bit eery when you think about it!
This baroque church is located at Neuer Markt and was constructed in the years 1622 - 1632 and contains a monument of Marco d'Avionos by Hans Maurer (1935). Outside wall was reconstructed in 1936. The altar contains a painting by J.Baumgartner from 18th century. Graveplate of Marco d'Avianos with a monument by Riser (1891). The tomb contains sarcophags of 140 members of the House Habsburg since 1633, like Maria Theresia.
This is the primary resting place of the Hapsburg Emporers and other notables. Its underneath the Kapuzinerkirche. Franz Joseph and Sisi are buried here amonst others.
W\Here you will see the Cappuchin Monastery Crypt which houses the Imperial Court members' coffins etc