Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Exploring Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof Cemetery


I was definitely saving the best for last with this post!

Our visit to Vienn’a Zentralfriedhof cemetery was a highlight of the trip for my mom and I and we would have been happy to spend the entire day wandering the grounds and taking photos.

Vienna's Zentralfriedhof cemeteryThe Dr. Karl Lueger-Gedächtniskirche ChurchZentralfriedhof, ViennaRainy tour of Zentralfriedhof

Vince’s feelings on the cemetery I will sum up with this photo:

Grumpster hubs

He’s not a fan of being cold!

If possible, I make it a point to visit graveyards in all of my travels. I think they are incredibly beautiful and full of history. My mom and I both agreed that we would like to go back to Vienna just to spend more time at Zentralfriedhof. It had some of the most incredible and unique memorials, tombstones, and mausoleums that we have ever seen.

The most amazing was one that had a small door being guarded by some dwarves (maybe gnomes, IDK). My mom is still talking about it!

Reminds of of Lord of the RingsGnomes (dwarves?) guarding a doorBeautiful and unique mausoleumMarble statutes

The cemetery is one of the largest in the world and the largest in Europe (by number interred on the grounds–over 3 million). It sits on the outskirts of the city and we reached it via the tram system in about 30 minutes.

It was pouring rain the entire time we were there, and while it fogged up our camera lenses and made for a wet visit, we were so glad we went. Finding the famous “musicians quarter” section was a highlight. In this area are buried musical greats such as Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert, and Brahms. There is a memorial for Mozart, but he is actually buried in the nearby St. Marx cemetery–which we didn’t get to visit, unfortunately.

Beethoven's graveFranz Schubert's graveStrauss' graveJohannes Brahms' grave

When I got back to Sofia and was able to do a little more research about the cemetery, I learned just how special and interesting it truly is. Zentralfriedhof is one of the first cemeteries in Europe to have allowed interdenominational burials, and today it has Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Russian Orthodox (which also has Bulgarian and Greek Orthodox believers), and even Mormon sections. A Buddhist section opened up in 2005 and is the first of its kind in Europe. One of the two Jewish sections was destroyed by the Nazi party, however, many of the graves still survive. There are also sections set aside for the remains of those who have donated their bodies to science and for small children.

Zentralfriedhof's Russian Orthodox church (background)Ceiling detailwreath

If I could only recommend one thing to people visiting Vienna, it would be to spend a few hours at Zentralfriedhof. I think that even those who may not really enjoy visiting cemeteries will like seeing the graves of such well-known composers and just the general beauty of the area.


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15 thoughts on “Exploring Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof Cemetery

  1. I too, love cemetaries! I’m not sure what it is about them exactly, but I love exploring as you have done and always take way too many pictures. While in Vienna, I was actually couchsurfing across the street from this one! I explored it a little but didn’t actually realize how big or famous it was and missed all the famous musicians. Ah well, something to go back too I guess!

  2. That door could be the entrance to Moria! Cool 🙂

  3. I love visiting cemeteries! A couple that we visited in that really stood out were in Moscow and Grenada Nicaragua.
    I wish I had had the time to see this one when we were in Vienna in 2012.

  4. Whit, I love this post! So beautiful! Miss you both. All of our love!

  5. That is so interesting. I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever get to Vienna!

  6. Wow… that looks like such a beautiful place.

  7. Great post, it was the location for one of my favorite movies: “The Third Man”

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