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aerial view ©
tombs © H Noordam

Vienna Zentralfriedhof

The Zentralfriedhof (Vienna Central Cemetery) is by far Vienna's largest burial ground - and even the second biggest in Europe - and a magnificent attraction for locals as well as tourists! This cemetery is a must-see in Vienna, as it spreads through an immense park scenery, perfectly arranged and well maintained.


Vienna Zentralfriedhof

This landmark cemetery was inaugurated in 1874 and is situated to the South-East of the city center in the district of Simmering (having been located far outside the city in these times). It comprises around 330,000 graves today - over 3 million people have been buried here so far on a total area of around 2.5 million square-meters.
One of the singularities of this necropolis is its interdenominational character, thus being open to all religious denominations. Due to this fact, the area is sub-devided into sections such as the (by far largest) Catholic section, as well as the Protestant, the Orthodox, the Jewish, the Muslim and others (even a Buddhist one exists).
Refer to the official for a detailled map.


The Zentralfriedhof has a special section (the so called Ehrengräber) where composers, writers, artists and politicians are buried. Another special location is the Presidential Vault, which is the final resting place of:former Austrian presidents.
Let us take a look at some of the Ehrengräber now, focusing on the composers who are buried here. It must be noted that many of them were transferred from other cemeteries to the Zentralfriedhof. Sometimes their original tombs remain at the original spot which can be quite confusing at times.

Brahms' tomb On the left the grave of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), the German who was introduced to the public by Robert Schumann in 1853. He was famous for his piano concerts and, of course, his compositions. Brahms wasn't lucky in love. His subsequent love for Agathe von Siebold, Julie Schumann (daughter of Robert and Clara) and Elizabeth von Stockhausen didn't result in a marriage and he died as a bachelor. Brahms hated cats, by the way.

Schubert's tomb On the right is Franz Schubert (1797-1828), composer of the famous song cycles Die Winterreise (1827) and Die schöne Müllerin (1823) as well as many other works, including twelve operas, nine symphonies and over 600 songs. This genius of melody was a bon vivant and probably suffered from syphilis or typhus, leading to his early death in 1828. In 1888 his remains were transported from the Währinger Friedhof to the Zentralfriedhof.

Strauss' tomb The tomb of Johann Strauss (1825-1899), son of that other Johann Strauss (1804-1849) who composed the Radetzky March (1848), is seen on the left. His operettas were very successful all over the world and this King of Waltz, who was born and died in Vienna, is the composer of An der schönen blauen Donau (1867) and Eine Nacht in Venedig (1883).

Beethoven's tomb Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was the author of nine symphonies and one opera, apart from numerous other pieces of music. Until 1800 he was mostly famous as a virtuoso of the pianoforte. Ten years later he was no longer famous as a pianist, but regarded as the greatest composer of his time. Beethoven had been more or less obliged to pursue new directions, since from 1800 on he gradually lost his hearing until he became completely deaf in 1815.

Schönberg's tomb On the left is the tomb of Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951). He originally composed music in his spare time, but after the bank where has was employed went down, he started writing operettas for a living. Thanks to Strauss he received the Liszt-Scholarship and in 1904 he conducted his Pelleas und Melisande. In Vienna his work was little appreciated, so he left for Berlin where he was far more successful. In 1933 he left Germany for the United States.

special thanks for this section go to:

Hans Noordam from "The Androom Archives" for the contribution of text and pictures. Visit his website for information on various other burial grounds as well as deceased celebrities' biographies! 

We hope you enjoy the visit on this site and your time in Vienna!