The Central Cemetery, which opened in 1874, is much more than just a last resting place. Around two square kilometers in area, it is the second largest cemetery in Europe. Accordingly, you can find a parallel world here that could scarcely offer more in the way of variety. The graves – among them many graves of honor of world-famous musicians such as Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as Falco and Udo Jürgens – are not the only impressive features here. The cemetery church of St. Karl Borromäus is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau churches in Vienna. Arcade tombs, mausoleums, and bizarre-looking monuments create a unique atmosphere that also ensures a certain amount of creepiness. – Welcome to a very special Viennese place!
Paradise of the animals
Above all else, of course, the Viennese love the Central Cemetery for its qualities as a local recreation area. The cemetery is a natural paradise and the perfect place for going on long walks. The Central Cemetery is also just as popular with joggers. Cycling is also permitted. – And with a little luck, you might also come across some very special residents here. Because when things rustle in the bushes, nobody need fear the undead: the Central Cemetery is a habitat of deer, field hamsters, squirrels, badgers, martens, kestrels, and many other kinds of animal that value this huge area as much as the Viennese.
Exploring the cemetery gate by gate
Coming from the city center, visitors pass Gate 1. This is the access point to the old Israelite section, a lush green burial ground with lots of architecturally interesting monuments and graves of prominent Jewish personalities. Amongst those buried in Group 5b are Arthur Schnitzler and Friedrich Torberg. Walking along the cemetery wall, visitors arrive at the main gate (Gate 2), built by Max Hegele in the Art Nouveau style in 1905.
Through this main gate, you walk on the main path toward the "Friedhofskirche zum heiligen Karl Borromäus" (Church of St. Borromeo), which is crowned by a large dome. The church, built by Hegele between 1908 and 1910, serves as the cemetery church and mausoleum of Lueger, the mayor of the city from 1897 to 1910. Both to the left (Groups 32a and 14a) and to the right (Groups 32c and 14c) of this main roadway is the Grave of Honor, probably the largest such arrangement of special honorary tombs in the world. Among many others, Gluck, Beethoven, Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Johann Strauss Father and Son, Lanner and Brahms are buried in Group 32a, Arnold Schönberg and Robert Stolz in Group 32c.
From politics to jazz
Directly in front of the Memorial Church is the mausoleum in which the Austrian presidents who have died since 1945 (Renner, Körner, Schärf, Jonas) are interred. Mozart was given an honorary monument in Group 32a, but his actual grave is in an unknown location at the Cemetery of St. Marx. In 2015, the urn of singer, pianist and composer Udo Jürgens found its final resting place within a white marmoreal piano, close to jazz pianist Joe Zawinul and actor Fritz Muliar (Group 33g).
Across Simmeringer Hauptstrasse from the main gate is the Crematorium, built by Clemens Holzmeister in 1922 in the style of an oriental fortress. Further along the wall of the cemetery, you reach Gate 3, a secondary entrance and entrance to the Protestant section; and Gate 4, the access to the new Jewish section which has been in use since 1928.
The Funeral Museum has also been located at the Central Cemetery since October 2014.
Info & horse-drawn carriage tours
An exact plan of the Central Cemetery and its honorary graves along with an audio guide are available at Gate 2.
Audio guide rental fee: €6 (a valid picture ID must be deposited)
Near Gate 2, visitors can also find an info point with plans and the possibility to search for graves at the new location of the café Kurkonditorei Oberlaa. The café is open during cemetery hours.
Secret tip: Carriage rides are also possible at the Central Cemetery. The carriage rank at gate 2 is occupied daily from 10.00 am to about 7.00 pm. The tour includes numerous memorial graves of prominent Viennese personalities (Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Hans Moser, Falco, Adolf Loos and many others), and also brings visitors closer to the cemetery's natural attractions. The short tour (30 min.) costs €65.00, the long one (60 min.) €110.00 per carriage (for 4 people). Tours are operated from the beginning of April to the end of September. Reservations can be made from Monday to Wednesday by calling +43-(0)699-181 540 22. Information: www.vienna-carriage.com
March - Oct: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Nov-Feb: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.