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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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