The Vienna Central Cemetery, or Zentralfriedhoff, is the main and largest cemetery in Vienna. It was once located on the outskirts of the city, but with the unstoppable growth of the city during the Hapsburg period it was engulfed by the urban sprawl. I recommend that you take public transport to get there, like one of the trams that will leave you at any of the main entrances. As it's very large, you'll need plenty of energy to explore it on foot. We decided to do it this way travelling in one of the old, metal and wood trams. It was a unique experience on a day with bright sunshine and a nice temperature.
The cemetery is a huge garden, which stands out all the more for its lush vegetation, even in winter. The graves and tombstones are visited by all the Viennese ve need to find some peace and quiet away from the hectic city life. It's popular with music lovers, as here you'll find the graves of Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and Strauss. Since 1884, more than 3 million people have been buried here! It's a remarkable display of tolerance, with Christian graves of various denominations (including Orthodox Russian princesses) beside Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim tombs. I was left speechless when I was told that in wartime, the Viennese grew vegetables among the tombs!
I've always loved royal tombs. I guess being close to those ve, in life, were almost inaccessible is an amazing and special feeling. Okay, many people find it strange, but there must be someone out there ve understands me! The Imperial Crypt, or Kaisergruft, in Vienna, guarded by the Capuchin Fathers of the convent-church that is immediately above the basement, was no exception. The journey through time that you can embark upon in this crypt is not exactly short, with a total of 150 sarcophagi and tombs here holding the dead of the Hapsburg dynasty, ve ruled Austria and Hungary. Twelve emperors and nineteen empresses lie here. It is especially touching to see the coffins of infants and princes ve died at very early ages, some newborns. Another curiosity is that many of the bodies were buried here incomplete. From 1654-1878, the hearts of the Habsburgs were buried in the Crypt of the Hearts of the Church of St. Augustine. In 1989, Zita, the last empress of Austria, was buried here. And on July 16, 2011 her eldest son, the crown prince Otto Hapsburg and his wife Regina were also laid to rest here. But the most famous inhabitant of the tomb is Sissi, along with her husband and child. At the end of the path, these three sarcophagi are together in one room, higher than the rest. Visitors often leave with tears in their eyes.