Imperial Crypt

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Capuchin Church, on the right the entrance to the Imperial Crypt
The skull sculpture crowned with the imperial crown on the sarcophagus of Emperor Charles VI.
Imperial Crypt (detail)

The Imperial Crypt , also known as the Kapuzinergruft or Kaisergruft by the PP Capuchins in Vienna , is a burial place of the Habsburgs and Habsburg-Lothringers in Vienna . The tomb is located on the Neuer Markt under the Capuchin monastery run by the same monks , the Capuchins , supervised.


Empress Anna donated the Capuchin monastery in her will in 1617 and ordered the construction of the crypt. A year later she died, the following year her husband, Emperor Matthias . Construction began under his successor Ferdinand II (ruled 1619–1637) in 1622. Because of the Thirty Years War , construction took eleven years. After completion in 1633 the coffins of Anna and Matthias were transferred to the crypt. Since then, the crypt has been expanded a total of eight times.

Emperor Ferdinand III. (ruled 1637–1657) gave the first order to expand the crypt. Thereby he created the basis for the expansion of the imperial crypt into a hereditary burial place of the Habsburg family (later Habsburg-Lothringen). In 1662 master stonemason Ambrosius Ferrethi from Kaisersteinbruch delivered floor slabs and stairs made of smoothly polished Kaiserstein for the founders and Leopold crypts .

In 1908/1909, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I, the part named after him was expanded. In his time, the staircase leading down from the monastery was also clad with white tiles; In 1909 electric lights were installed. The last expansion so far (Neue Gruft) took place from 1960 to 1962 under the direction of Karl Schwanzer on behalf of the Republic of Austria .

Today the Imperial Crypt is the final resting place for 12 emperors, 19 empresses and many other members of the Habsburg and Habsburg-Lothringen families. Artistically noteworthy are the Karlsgruft (laid out under Emperor Charles VI before 1720, planned by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt ) and the Maria-Theresien-Gruft (1758, planned by Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey and Nikolaus Pacassi ), which are in a graceful Rococo style is held. The large, late baroque double sarcophagus for Maria Theresa and Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine was made by Balthasar Ferdinand Moll and was made during their lifetime.

Archduchess Henriette , wife of the successful general and imperial brother Archduke Karl , was the only Protestant to be buried here in 1829. She had not changed her denomination when she married into the Habsburg-Lothringen family. This burial had to be enforced by Emperor Franz I.

The last funeral to date was that of Otto Habsburg , son of the last Emperor of Austria, and his wife Regina von Sachsen-Meiningen, who died in 2010, on July 16, 2011. The last emperor himself, Charles I (r. 1916–1918), is still buried in his last place of exile, Funchal on Madeira . However, the last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Zita , was buried here.

The descendants of the last Austro-Hungarian ruling couple have been laid to rest in the Loreto Chapel of the Muri monastery in Aargau in Switzerland, not far from Habsburg Castle , since 1970 . The Muri monastery was the burial place of the Habsburg family from the foundation by the progenitor Radbot von Habsburg until 1260. Since then, however, further burials of family members have taken place in the crypt chapel of the imperial crypt at the express request of the deceased.

Buried people

138 corpses and four heart urns rest in the imperial crypt .


Under special circumstances, people who were not members of the Habsburg or Habsburg-Lothringen family could be buried here. Charles III Joseph von Lothringen , Prince-Bishop of Trier , died unexpectedly while staying in Vienna in 1715. He was initially buried in the Minorite Church and in 1716 transferred to the imperial crypt. His heart urn is on the coffin.

The only non-Habsburg in the crypt is Countess Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard , nanny of the later Empress Maria Theresa, whom she and her husband held in high regard throughout their lives and from whom they often sought advice. The inscription on the coffin lid reads accordingly: “For the immortal remembrance of a benevolent, grateful heart for the noble education to virtue. I, Maria Theresia. "

Field Marshal Count Radetzky , an extremely popular military leader who was essential for the preservation of the monarchy, was to find his final resting place here in 1858 at the request of Franz Joseph I. However, Radetzky had promised a benefactor who had paid his debts that he would be buried on his Heldenberg .

Unequal spouses and their descendants were not allowed to be buried here: Archduke heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand therefore had a crypt built in their Artstetten Castle for his morganatic wife Sophie Chotek von Chotkowa , later Duchess von Hohenberg, and their three children . The couple were buried there in 1914 after the Sarajevo assassination attempt .

Until 1940 the body of Napoleon Franz Bonaparte , Napoleon's only son with Archduchess Marie-Louise, lay in the imperial crypt. In 1940 he was transferred to Paris in the Invalides Cathedral on Hitler's orders .

Space reserve

According to the custodian of the imperial crypt, Father Gottfried Undesser, there is still room for another coffin in the current arrangement of the sarcophagi in the crypt. The decision of who is buried in the crypt rests with the Habsburg family. This place is currently reserved for Princess Yolande de Ligne (* 1923), the widow of Karl-Ludwig Habsburg-Lothringen .

Founder's Crypt

Founder's crypt, Emperor Matthias (1557–1619), Empress Anna
  1. Empress Anna (1585–1618) - wife of Emperor Matthias
  2. Emperor Matthias (1557-1619)

Leopold's Crypt

Leopold's Crypt (Ezh. Maria Theresia 1684–1696, Ezh. Leopold Joseph 1682–1684, Emperor Ferdinand III. 1608–1657)
  1. Archduke Philipp August (July 15, 1637 - June 22, 1639) - son of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  2. Archduke Maximilian Thomas (December 21 - June 29, 1639) - son of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  3. Empress Maria Anna (1606–1646) - 1st wife of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  4. Empress Maria Leopoldina (1632–1649) - 2nd wife of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  5. Archduchess Theresia Maria (March 27, 1652– June 27, 1653) - daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  6. King Ferdinand IV (1633-1654)
  7. Emperor Ferdinand III. (1608–1657)
  8. Archduke Ferdinand Josef (February 11, 1657 - June 16, 1658) - son of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  9. Archduke Ferdinand Wenzel (September 28, 1667 - January 13, 1668) - son of Emperor Leopold I.
  10. Archduke Johann Leopold (* and † February 20, 1670) - son of Emperor Leopold I.
  11. Archduchess Maria Anna Antonie (February 9, 1672 - February 23, 1672) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  12. Empress Margarita Teresa (1651–1673) - wife of Emperor Leopold I.
  13. Archduchess Anna Maria Sophia (September 11, 1674 - December 21, 1674) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  14. Archduchess Maria Josepha (October 11, 1675 - July 11, 1676) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  15. Empress Claudia Felizitas (heart urn, 1653–1676) - 2nd wife of Emperor Leopold I.
    At her own request, her body lies next to that of her mother in the Dominican Church
  16. Archduchess Christina (* and † June 18, 1679) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  17. Archduke Leopold Joseph (June 2, 1682 - August 3, 1684) - son of Emperor Leopold I.
  18. unnamed prince (1686) - grandson of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  19. Empress Eleonora Magdalena Gonzaga of Mantua-Nevers (1630–1686) - 3rd wife of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  20. Maria Anna Josepha, Electress of the Palatinate (1654–1689) - daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  21. Archduchess Maria Margareta (July 22, 1690 - April 22, 1691) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  22. Maria Antonia, Electress of Bavaria (1669–1692) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  23. Archduchess Maria Theresia (August 22, 1684 - September 28, 1696) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  24. Eleonora Maria, Queen of Poland (1653–1697 - wife of King Michael of Poland
  25. Archduchess Maria Josepha (March 6, 1687 - April 14, 1703) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  26. Archduke Leopold Johann (* and † 1716) - son of Emperor Karl VI.
  27. Empress Eleonora Magdalena von Pfalz-Neuburg (1655–1720) - 3rd wife of Emperor Leopold I.
    At the express request, no embalming was carried out.
  28. Archduchess Maria Amalia (1724–1730) - daughter of Emperor Charles VI.
  29. Archduchess Maria Magdalena (1689–1743) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  30. Maria Anna, Queen of Portugal (urn of heart, 1683–1754) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I , wife of King John V of Portugal )
    Her body was buried at the place of death in Lisbon in the church of the German barefoot Carmelites.

Charles Crypt

Emperor Charles VI.
  1. Archduke Leopold Joseph (October 29, 1700 - August 4, 1701) - son of Emperor Joseph I.
  2. Emperor Leopold I (1640–1705)
  3. Emperor Joseph I (1678–1711)
  4. Emperor Charles VI. (1685-1740)
  5. Archduchess Maria Elisabeth (1680–1741) - daughter of Emperor Leopold I.
  6. Empress Wilhelmine Amalie (heart urn, 1673–1742) - wife of Emperor Joseph I.
    The heart rests at her husband's feet at her own request, the body lies in the Salesian Church that she founded .
  7. Archduchess Maria Anna (1718–1744) - daughter of Emperor Karl VI.
  8. Empress Elisabeth Christine (1691–1750) - wife of Emperor Karl VI.

Maria Theresa Crypt

Maria-Theresia-Crypt with the double sarcophagus of Maria Theresia and Franz Stephan as well as a total of six sarcophagi with Maria Theresa's daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters on the west side.
  1. Archduchess Maria Elisabeth (1737–1740) - daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  2. Archduchess Maria Karolina (1740–1741) - 3rd daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  3. unnamed princess (1744) - daughter of Archduchess Maria Anna
  4. Archduchess Maria Karolina (* and † September 17, 1748) - daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  5. Countess Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard (1675–1754) - lady-in-waiting of the Empress Maria Theresia
    Her heart was buried in the
    Mollard crypt of the Michaelerkirche , but is missing.
  6. Archduke Karl Joseph (1745–1761) - son of Empress Maria Theresia
  7. Archduchess Johanna Gabriela (1750–1762) - daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  8. Archduchess Christina (November 20, 1763 - November 22, 1763) - daughter of Emperor Joseph II.
  9. Princess Isabella of Parma (1741–1763) - 1st wife of Emperor Joseph II.
  10. Emperor Franz I Stephan (1708–1765)
  11. Archduchess Christina (May 16, 1767 - May 17, 1767) - daughter of Albert von Sachsen-Teschen
  12. Empress Maria Josepha (1739–1767) - 2nd wife of Emperor Joseph II.
  13. Archduchess Maria Josepha (1751–1767) - daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  14. Archduchess Maria Theresa (March 20, 1762 - January 24, 1770) - daughter of Emperor Joseph II.
  15. Empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780)
  16. Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790)


Franz I, Emperor of Austria (1768–1835), to the right of this was the coffin of Napoleon Franz Bonaparte until 1940; in the background the sarcophagus of Empress Maria Theresa
  1. Elisabeth Wilhelmine von Württemberg-Mömpelgard (1767–1790) - 1st wife of Emperor Franz I.
  2. Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (1772–1807) - 2nd wife of Emperor Franz I.
  3. Empress Maria Ludovica Beatrix (1787–1816) - 3rd wife of Emperor Franz I.
  4. Franz I, Emperor of Austria (1768–1835)
  5. Empress Karolina Augusta (1792–1873) - 4th wife of Emperor Franz I.
    At her own request, no eccentric movement was carried out.
  6. until 1940 Franz, Duke of Reichstadt (1811–1832) - son of Archduchess Marie-Louise

Ferdinand's Crypt

Sarcophagi placed in the crypt room:

  1. Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria (1793–1875)
  2. Empress Maria Anna (1803-1884) - wife of Emperor Ferdinand I.

Walled in four wall niches:

  1. Archduchess Louise Elisabeth (February 18, 1790 - June 24, 1791) - daughter of Emperor Franz I.
  2. Archduchess Karoline Leopoldine (June 8, 1794 - March 16, 1795) - daughter of Emperor Franz I.
  3. Archduke Alexander Leopold (1772–1795) - son of Emperor Leopold II.
  4. Archduchess Maria Amalia (October 15, 1780 - December 25, 1798) - daughter of Emperor Leopold II.
  5. Archduchess Karoline Louise (December 22, 1795 - June 30, 1799) - daughter of Emperor Franz I.
  6. Archduchess Maria Louisa (July 27, 1773 - September 19, 1802) - daughter of Ferdinand IV, King of the Two Sicilies
  7. Archduchess Amalie Therese (April 6 - April 9, 1807) - daughter of Emperor Franz I.
  8. Archduke Joseph Franz (April 9, 1799 - June 30, 1807) - son of Emperor Franz I.
  9. Archduke Johann Nepomuk Karl (August 30, 1805 - February 19, 1809) - son of Emperor Franz I.
  10. Archduchess Karolina Ferdinanda (August 2, 1793 - January 5, 1802) - daughter of Ferdinand IV.
  11. Archduchess Maria Anna (October 27, 1835 - February 5, 1840) - sister of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  12. Archduchess Maria Karolina (1821–1844) - daughter of Archduke Rainer
  13. Archduchess Sophie Friederike (1855–1857) - daughter of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  14. Archduchess Maria Anna (June 8, 1804 - December 28, 1858) - daughter of Emperor Franz I.
  15. Archduchess Maria Eleonore (November 19, 1864 - December 9, 1864) - daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand
  16. Grand Duchess Maria Anna (1796–1865) - 2nd wife of Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany
  17. Archduchess Maria Antonia (January 10, 1858 - April 13, 1883) - daughter of Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany
  18. Archduchess Henriette Maria (February 20, 1884 - August 13, 1886) - daughter of Archduke Karl Salvator
  19. Archduke Rainer Salvator (February 27, 1880 - May 4, 1889) - son of Archduke Karl Salvator
  20. Archduchess Stephanie (May 1, 1886 - August 29, 1890) - daughter of Archduke Friedrich
  21. Archduchess Maria Antonia (April 18, 1874 - January 14, 1891) - daughter of Archduke Karl Salvator
  22. Archduke Ferdinand Salvator (June 2, 1888 - July 28, 1891) - son of Archduke Karl Salvator
  23. Archduke Karl Salvator (1839-1892) - son of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany
  24. Archduke Robert Ferdinand (October 15, 1885 - August 2, 1895) - son of Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany
  25. Archduke Albrecht Salvator (November 22, 1871 - February 27, 1896) - son of Archduke Karl Salvator
  26. Archduchess Natalie (January 12, 1884 - March 23, 1898) - daughter of Archduke Friedrich
  27. Archduke Leopold (June 6, 1823 - May 24, 1898) - son of Archduke Rainer
  28. Maria Antonia, Grand Duchess of Tuscany (December 19, 1814 - November 7, 1898) - wife of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany
  29. Archduchess Maria Immakulata (April 14, 1844 - February 18, 1899) - wife of Archduke Karl Salvator
  30. Archduke Ernst (August 8, 1824 - April 4, 1899) - son of Archduke Rainer
  31. Archduchess Adelgunde (1823–1914) - wife of Duke Francis V of Modena
  32. Archduchess Marie Caroline Marie Rainer (September 10, 1825 - July 17, 1915) - daughter of Archduke Karl
  33. Archduke Ludwig Salvator (1847–1915) - son of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany
  34. Archduke Joseph Ferdinand (1872–1942) - son of Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany
  35. Archduchess Maria Theresia (1855–1944) - 3rd wife of Archduke Karl Ludwig
  36. Archduke Leopold Maria Alphons (January 30, 1897 - March 14, 1958) - son of Archduke Leopold Salvator

Tuscany crypt

Toskanagruft (Emperor Leopold II. 1747–1792, Empress Maria Ludovika 1745–1792)
  1. Emperor Leopold II (1747–1792)
  2. Empress Maria Ludovika (1745–1792) - wife of Emperor Leopold II.
  3. Archduchess Maria Christina (1742–1798) - daughter of Empress Maria Theresia
  4. Archduke Ferdinand Karl Anton (1754–1806) - son of Empress Maria Theresia
  5. Maria Karolina , Queen of Naples and Sicily (1752–1814) - wife of King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily
  6. Albert von Sachsen-Teschen (1738–1822) - husband of Archduchess Maria Christina
  7. Archduchess Maria Beatrix (1750–1829) - wife of Archduke Ferdinand Karl d'Este
  8. Archduke Anton Viktor (1779–1835) - son of Emperor Leopold II.
  9. Archduke Ferdinand Karl d'Este (1781–1850) - son of Archduke Ferdinand Karl Anton
  10. Archduke Ludwig Joseph (1784–1864) - son of Emperor Leopold II.
  11. Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1797–1870)
  12. Francis V, Duke of Modena (1819–1875)
  13. Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1835–1908)
  14. Archduke Rainer Ferdinand (1827–1913) - son of Rainer Joseph of Austria

New crypt

Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (1832–1867)
  1. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm (1614–1662) - Bishop, son of Emperor Ferdinand II.
  2. Archduke Karl Joseph (1649–1664) - Bishop, son of Emperor Ferdinand III.
  3. Karl Joseph von Lothringen (1680–1715) - Bishop, son of Archduchess Eleonora Maria
    The urn of heart is on his coffin, the entrails are in the Tuscany crypt
  4. Archduke Maximilian Franz (1756–1801) - bishop, son of Empress Maria Theresia
  5. Archduke Rudolf (September 25, 1822 - October 24, 1822) - son of Archduke Karl
  6. Archduchess Henriette (1797–1829) - wife of Archduke Karl
    The urns with heart and entrails are in the imperial crypt.
  7. Archduke Rudolph (1788–1831) - cardinal, son of Emperor Leopold II.
  8. unnamed prince (1840) - son of Archduke Franz Karl
  9. Archduke Karl (1771–1847) - Field Marshal, son of Emperor Leopold II.
  10. Marie Louise , Empress of France (1791–1847) - 2nd wife of Emperor Napoleon I.
  11. Archduke Karl Albert (January 3, 1847 - July 19, 1848) - son of Archduke Albrecht
  12. Archduchess Margarete Karoline (1840–1858) - 1st wife of Archduke Karl Ludwig
  13. Archduchess Hildegard (1825–1864) - wife of Archduke Albrecht
  14. Archduchess Mathilde (1849–1867) - daughter of Archduke Albrecht
  15. Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (1832–1867)
  16. Archduchess Maria Annunziata (1843–1871) - 2nd wife of Archduke Karl Ludwig
    At her own request, no eccentricity was carried out.
  17. Archduchess Sophie (1805–1872) - mother of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
    At her own request, she did not eccentric.
  18. Archduke Karl Ferdinand (1818–1874) - son of Archduke Karl
  19. Archduke Franz Karl (1802-1878) - father of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  20. Archduke Wilhelm (1827-1894) - son of Archduke Karl
  21. Archduke Albrecht (1817–1895) - Field Marshal, son of Archduke Karl Ludwig
  22. Archduke Karl Ludwig (1833-1896) - brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  23. Archduke Otto (1865–1906) - father of Emperor Karl I.
  24. Archduke Rainer Karl (November 21, 1895 - May 25, 1930) - son of Archduke Leopold Salvator
  25. Archduke Leopold Salvator (1863–1931) - son of Archduke Karl Salvator
  26. Archduchess Maria Josefa (1867–1944) - wife of Archduke Otto

Franz Joseph's crypt

From left to right: Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi"), Emperor Franz Joseph I and Crown Prince Rudolf
  1. Crown Prince Rudolf (1858–1889) - son of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  2. Empress Elisabeth (1837–1898) - wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
  3. Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916)

Crypt chapel

Zita von Bourbon-Parma, last empress of Austria
Otto von Habsburg, last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary
  1. Zita von Bourbon-Parma , until 1918 Empress of Austria (1892–1989) - wife of Emperor Karl I.
  2. Carl Ludwig Habsburg-Lothringen (1918-2007) - son of Emperor Karl I.
  3. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen (1912–2011) - son of Emperor Karl I.
  4. Regina von Habsburg (1925-2010) - wife of Otto Habsburg-Lothringen

Funeral ceremonies

At the burials of the Habsburgs in the Capuchin Crypt, certain customs and ceremonies were common that can be traced back to religious and practical reasons.

Multiple burials

Funerals of monarchs were carried out as state funerals with particular splendor. Just a few hours after death, the corpse was dissected, the heart and intestines were removed and the body was treated with preservatives in order to slow down the process of decay. Among other things, this served to ensure that the corpses survive the funeral festivities that lasted several days and that they could be presented as realistically and piously as possible on the “show bed ”. Body, entrails and heart were buried separately , whereby separate traditions developed for the place of burial: King Ferdinand IV. (1633–1654) decreed that his "heartless love Frawen Maria zu Loreto lay under your feet and be buried" should". This started the tradition of burying hearts in silver containers in the Habsburgs' heart crypt in the Augustinian Church and the entrails in the ducal crypt of St. Stephen 's Cathedral. In the course of time, 41 Habsburgs received a " separate burial " with their bodies being divided into an imperial crypt, a heart crypt and a ducal crypt.

In addition to practical reasons, there were also symbolic reasons for the heart burial , some of which had an effect beyond the end of the Habsburg monarchy. The last Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King Charles I died in exile in Madeira in 1922 and his heart lies in the Loreto Chapel of the Muri Monastery (Switzerland), where the family crypt of his descendants is also located. Transferring the body to the imperial crypt was later considered, but no one wanted to snub the inhabitants of Madeira. His wife Zita , who died in 1989, wanted her heart to be buried with that of her husband. The heart of her eldest son Otto, who died in 2011, was buried in the Benedictine monastery of Pannonhalma in Hungary. A ceremony in this country was important to him because he had a close connection to Hungary. The heart of his wife Regina, who is buried in the imperial crypt, is in the family crypt of the House of Saxony-Meiningen on the fortress Heldburg .

Regarding the conservation and multiple burials of those Habsburgs who were not monarchs, Father Gottfried Undesser reported in 2001 that "most members of the ruling family preferred not to be embalmed , but preferred a coffin burial that simply delayed decay." For example, Empress Eleonore Magdalene ( † 1720) and Isabella von Bourbon-Parma († 1763) do not carry out dissection and embalming at their express request .

End of the 19th century, a new method of making cadaver preservation by means of formaldehyde the Exenterierung the bodies unnecessary. Therefore, the Archduchesses Maria Annunziata († 1871) and Sophie Friederike († 1872) as well as Empress Karoline Auguste († 1873) forbade the separation of their body parts, while it was still carried out after the death of Emperor Ferdinand I († 1875). The last of the ruling family to receive a separate traditional burial was Archduke Franz Karl († 1878), the father of Franz Joseph I.

Entry ceremony

In the course of time, an "entry ceremony" into the imperial crypt developed. Presumably, this is derived from the fact that at court funerals the attendants of the funeral procession communicated by means of knocking signals. In contemporary reports on the burial of Joseph II (1790), knocking three times on the gate after three replies to the words "The corpse of the most illustrious Emperor Joseph the Second" when asked who wanted admission, is handed down before the latter decides for the coffin opened. Something similar is reported for the funeral of the Duke of Reichstadt (1832). At the funeral of Emperor Franz I of Austria (1835), according to Ludwig August von Frankl-Hochwart , an entry ceremony into the imperial crypt took place, the procedure of which is passed down as a quotation in a diary of Friedrich Hebbel from 1855 and based on which Hebbel in his play Die Nibelungen wrote the cathedral scene at Siegfried's funeral (Chapter 16, 9th scene).

According to Frankl-Hochwart / Hebbel, the ceremony - with the respective personal differences in the text - has this form: The funeral procession stops in front of the closed door of the crypt and a herald knocks on the door. Then one of the friars asks from inside: “Who wants to be admitted?” The herald replies with all the titles worn during the deceased's lifetime. From inside, however, comes the answer “We don't know him / her!”. The Herald knocks again. Again the question is asked “Who wants to be admitted?” This time the Herald answers with the short version of the title. But the answer is again “We don't know him / her!”. The Herald knocks a third time and the same question is asked again. Now the Herald only mentions the first name and adds “a mortal and sinful person”, whereupon the gate is opened.

Such a ceremony is depicted at the beginning of the film Crown Prince Rudolf's Last Love (1956) when Rudolf is being carried to his grave.

During a real burial in the imperial crypt, the entry ceremony was first documented at the burial of Empress Zita (1989), and it was also carried out at the funeral of Otto Habsburg (2011). In this context, a representative of the Vienna Capuchin described the ritual as a legend, especially since the funeral protocols in either the funeral for Maria Theresia yet those for I. Franz Joseph notes contained thereon. A spokeswoman for the Habsburg family said in 2011 about the admission ceremony that “the rite in this form and with these words first took place at the burial of Empress Zita.” Also for the period between 1640 and 1740 can be found in the primary literature in question the ceremony in the imperial crypt on arrival of the conductors no indication of this.


Because of the high humidity in the crypt, the tin and bronze sarcophagi in particular suffered from corrosion. There was also fear of the destructive effects of the tin plague . In order to keep the sarcophagi from deterioration, extensive renovation work has been carried out since the 1950s and air conditioning was installed in 2003. As a further conservation measure , the magnificent sarcophagi are cleaned regularly, as the dust promotes corrosion and damage to protective coatings.

See also

The heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este , who was murdered in 1914, is buried with his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, in the crypt of Artstetten Castle . The heir to the throne had this crypt built for himself and his descendants. On June 25, 1986, Cardinal Franz König unveiled a memorial plaque for the murdered in the presence of the family in the imperial crypt.


  • The royal crypt Vienna . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . No. 36 . J. J. Weber, Leipzig March 2, 1844, p. 153-154 ( ).
  • Weck: Imperial tombs in Vienna . In: The Gazebo . Volume 3, 1870, pp. 36–39 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).
  • Cölestin Wolfsgruber : The imperial crypt with the Capuchins in Vienna. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1887 ( )
  • Magdalena Hawlik-van de Water: The Capuchin Crypt. 2nd Edition. Herder, Vienna 1993, ISBN 3-210-25151-7 .
  • Gigi Beutler: Guide through the Imperial Crypt of the PP Capuchins in Vienna (Capuchin Crypt). 3rd revised edition. Verlag Beutler-Heldenstern, Vienna 2004, ISBN 978-3-9500584-3-7 , (also in English: The imperial vaults of the PP Capuchins in Vienna (Capuchin Crypt). Beutler-Heldenstern, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3 -9500584-1-3 ; also in Italian: La Cripta Imperiale presso i Padri Cappuccini a Vienna (La Cripta dei Cappuccini). Beutler-Heldenstern, Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-9500584-2-7 ).
  • Elisabeth Hösl, The Capuchin Crypt in Vienna: Sarcophagi made of tin alloys , diploma thesis in the field of conservation - restoration, Vienna (University of Applied Arts) 2005.

Web links

Commons : Kaisergruft  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Association for the History of the City of Vienna (ed.): History of the City of Vienna. Volume 7, part 1, A. Holzhausen, Vienna, p. 245, footnotes.
  2. ^ A b Duke of Reichstadt. In: Retrieved December 30, 2014 .
  3. Contribution to the funeral of Carl Ludwig Habsburg-Lothringen from December 14, 2007 on the homepage of ORF Vienna, accessed on April 3, 2009
  4. The Capuchin Crypt - resting place of the House of Habsburg. ( Memento of July 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Archdiocese of Vienna, July 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Napoleon Franz Bonaparte
  6. Cölestin Wolfsgruber : History of the Loretto Chapel near St. Augustin in Vienna , Vienna 1886, p. 73 ( )
  7. ^ Habsburg: funeral "planned for 12 years"., July 10, 2011
  8. ^ Veste Heldburg: Regina von Habsburg's heart remains in the family crypt . ( Memento from March 24, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) MDR Thuringia, July 6, 2011
  9. Stefan von Bergen: "Nine places are still free." The family crypt of the House of Habsburg in the Muri monastery , in: Die Presse , Spectrum - Zeichen der Zeit (May 26, 2001), p. 3.
  10. a b c d e Magdalena Hawlik-Van de Water: The Capuchin Crypt: Burial place of the Habsburgs in Vienna , Herder, 1987, ISBN 3-210-24862-1 , page 22f.
  11. Adam Friedrich Geisler : Sketches from the characters and actions of Joseph the second, izt ruling Emperor of the Germans. Hendel, 1791, p. 228. Restricted preview in the Google book search
  12. ^ Stuckert: Basler Zeitung. Stuckert, 1832, p. 606. Restricted preview in Google book search
  13. Friederich Hebbel: Diaries Volume I, p. 419 limited preview in the Google book search
  14. Christian Friedrich Hebbel: The Nibelungs - Chapter 16. Accessed December 30, 2014 .
  15. See: Video: (1) The knocking ceremony at the funeral of Empress Zita in 1989 with Dr. Heinz Anton Hafner as herald, and (2) an explanation of the knocking ceremony by Father Gottfried Undesser, the long-time curator of the Imperial Crypt on YouTube
  16. Georg Markus : The knocking ceremony was previously unknown In: Daily newspaper Kurier , Vienna, July 15, 2011, p. 21
  17. Magdalena Hawlik-van de Water: The beautiful death. Ceremonial structures of the Viennese court in death and burial between 1640 and 1740. Freiburg / Vienna 1989, pp. 76–77.
  18. Capuchin crypt coffins suffer, but not from tin plague - ORF ON Science ( Memento from December 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive ),, August 13, 2007
  19. Wladimir Aichelburg: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Este. 1863-1914 , Volume 3, p. 873

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 20.4 ″  N , 16 ° 22 ′ 12.6 ″  E