Vienna Central Cemetery
The Vienna Central Cemetery was opened in 1874 and, with an area of almost two and a half square kilometers and around 330,000 grave sites with around three million deceased, is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe. It has been expanded a total of seven times in the course of its history, the last time in 1921. At the time of its opening, it was considered the largest in Europe. According to the buried , this is still true today, but the four square kilometer Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg and Brookwood Cemetery near London are larger in terms of area . The central cemetery is one of the special sights of the city of Vienna due to its many graves of honor , the Art Nouveau buildings and the spacious area .
The consequences of the Josephine reforms
The “ Josephine Reforms ” decreed by Emperor Joseph II in 1784 had lasting effects on the Viennese burial system. Cemeteries within the line wall , the course of which corresponded to today's belt , had to be abandoned. Instead, five “communal cemeteries” were built outside of the lines , the Sankt Marxer Friedhof , the Hundsturmer Friedhof , the Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof , the Währinger Friedhof and the Schmelzer Friedhof . The burials themselves should be designed to be as economical and functional as possible, shaft graves and reusable folding coffins are just two examples of the austerity measures prescribed by the emperor. Some of these reforms had to be withdrawn because of excessive resistance from the population, but the principle of the “communal cemeteries” banned from the city remained.
Around the middle of the 19th century, when Vienna's population - and therefore the number of dead - was growing steadily, it was already foreseeable that the “communal cemeteries” in the suburbs would reach the limits of their capacity. In addition, in the interests of expanding urban development , there was an endeavor to close these cemeteries as soon as possible. In 1863 the Vienna City Council decided to set up a central cemetery, far outside the city and so large that its capacity would never reach its limits or only in the distant future. At the same time, the previous sole responsibility of the church for burial sites was lifted; this paved the way for a cemetery administered (and also financed) by the community.
The layout of the cemetery
When planning the size of the cemetery area, in view of the strong urban growth and the expansion of the Austrian Empire at the time, it was assumed that the capital and residence of Vienna would develop into a metropolis with around four million inhabitants by the end of the 20th century. When looking for a suitable area, plots in Kaiserebersdorf , Rannersdorf , Himberg , Pellendorf and Gutenhof were shortlisted. On the basis of a study commissioned by the Vienna City Council at the Imperial Geological Institute , the selection was narrowed down to the properties in Kaiserebersdorf and Rannersdorf, as these two areas have an ideal soil quality and level location for a cemetery. In this study, the geologist Dionýs Stur referred to the favorable properties of the loess soil present there , which accelerates the decomposition process of corpses compared to other types of soil and reduces the risk of "spreading and spreading of epidemic diseases from the cemetery". It was also pointed out that loess soil is easy to work on, so that graves can be excavated more quickly and that there is also less danger of the grave walls collapsing.
The decision was ultimately made in favor of Kaiserebersdorf. In 1869 the local council approved the acquisition of a piece of land in Kaiserebersdorf and two small grounds in Simmering . In 1870 a competition for the design of the cemetery was announced. The design by the Frankfurt architect team Karl Jonas Mylius and Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli convinced the jury, and after only three years of construction (1871 to 1874) Vienna's new “city of the dead” was built. However, the Sankt Marxer Friedhof had to be closed for further burials as early as 1872 , and space was also becoming scarce at the other communal cemeteries , which is why part of the site was used as a provisional cemetery around a year before the opening.
The original area is an irregular pentagon between the Simmeringer Hauptstrasse in the northeast and (clockwise) the allotment gardens at the Avars , the Aspangbahn, today's Mylius-Bluntschli-Strasse accompanying it in the southwest and the Weichseltalweg in the northwest. Originally the cemetery had eleven gates, the numbering of which begins clockwise at the corner of Weichseltalweg and Simmeringer Hauptstraße. The main entrance is Gate 2. From this entrance, the pylons of which bear the intertwined Liberty monogram “GW” (Municipality of Vienna), a main axis points to the southwest via the old arcades to the cemetery church, which is flanked by the new arcades , and beyond Church to a natural garden on Mylius-Bluntschli-Straße. To the left and right of the main axis a rectangular grid develops, on which five diagonal avenues are superimposed. An oval-shaped avenue surrounds the cemetery church and accompanies the new arcades . Concentrically around this oval, three semicircular avenues together form a cross in the ground plan, in the middle of which the Karl Borromäus Church was later built. In order to make the cemetery more attractive (see below: The Unloved Cemetery ), the community announced a competition for its structural design in 1903, which Max Hegele won. By 1907, Hegele built the main portal (Gate 2) and the two funeral halls that flank the entrance area between Gate 2 and the old arcades . Hegele crowned the monumental complex between 1908 and 1911 with the construction of the Karl Borromäus Church. The administration building in the entrance area now houses a café and the “info point”.
The confessional conflict
As early as 1863, when the Vienna City Council decided to build the central cemetery, it defined both the interdenominational character of the cemetery and the possibility of leaving individual departments of their own at their request. In October 1874, around two weeks before the opening, a new municipal council resolution even emphasized the non-denominational nature of the complex and any inauguration of the area was explicitly prohibited.
As these resolutions were received very negatively in Catholic circles, protests grew in vigor when it became known that the Jewish religious community was guaranteed a separate department in the west of the cemetery for a large sum of money. Thereupon a new resolution was passed, which now permitted a possible inauguration - albeit without restriction to a specific religious community - but excluded a church ministerial authority over the cemetery.
The opening date was imminent, but the protests continued and conservative groups called for rallies on the opening day. Such an escalation did not occur, however, because Cardinal Rauscher , other sources name the prelate Ludwig Angerer, in consultation with the Mayor of Vienna Cajetan Felder, carried out a Catholic inauguration of the cemetery in the early morning of October 30, 1874, almost unnoticed by the public.
The Vienna Central Cemetery was officially opened on November 1, 1874. On that day, Jakob Zelzer, a privateer from Josefstadt , was the first to be buried in a single grave that still exists today, and thirteen other dead found their final resting place in a shared shaft grave.
The unloved new cemetery
Since and in some cases even before it was opened, the central cemetery was often criticized and not very popular with the population - and accordingly poorly attended. So the desolation of the area was criticized, because compared to today the newly planted vegetation was sparse; In addition, the construction of the associated structures was delayed. Visitors to the cemetery had to make a long and sometimes arduous journey because at that time there was no direct train connection to the cemetery area. In October 1874, a Viennese newspaper summarized this mood with the question: "One hour's drive, between slaughterhouses and heath and farmers, and what for?"
In order to counteract this negative image and to increase the attractiveness of the cemetery, the municipal council decided in 1881 to build an honorary grave . For this purpose, the remains of various prominent personalities were moved from other cemeteries to the central cemetery, including Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert from the Währinger local cemetery. In 1910, after a design competition won by Max Hegele , the cemetery got a cemetery church, the cemetery church of St. Charles Borromeo , and thus another point of attraction for visitors. The church was long known as the Karl Lueger Memorial Church because Karl Lueger , who was Vienna's mayor from 1897 to 1910, is buried here.
The long way to the final rest
Another problem that the city had to solve was the transport of bodies. With hundreds of deaths per week, who at that time had to be brought to the newly created necropolis by horse and cart , these never-ending funeral procession soon shaped the everyday image of Simmeringer Hauptstrasse , much to the displeasure of the local population, who was constantly confronted with death visibly hit the mind. From the first winter onwards, conductors got stuck in the snow.
There were many proposals, concepts and plans for alternative transport of corpses, none of which were implemented. One concept envisaged the construction of a separate railway line for this purpose, starting from a central collection point in a former market hall . In the 1890s, it was planned to set up a cemetery line for the Vienna steam light rail , which would also have transported corpses. But the then very numerous private undertakers successfully objected to this. As an alternative, however, from 1918 the tram was used to transport coffins.
The plan by architect Josef Hudetz and engineer Franz von Felbinger was downright futuristic , similar to the principle of pneumatic post, to transport corpses pneumatically in a long tunnel ending at the central cemetery. The dead continued to be transported by horse and cart, and in 1925 a truck was used as a hearse for the first time .
The political issue of "cremation"
Not every Viennese wanted to have his final resting place on the way of burial . Since the end of the 19th century there were more and more advocates of cremation , and at the beginning of the 20th century the Viennese social democracy and the workers' movement faced the Catholic Church with their demand for a fire hall, which strictly rejected this. In 1921, the construction of the Simmering fire hall in "Red Vienna" since 1919 was approved by the local council. The opening took place on December 17, 1922, regardless of a prohibition issued the day before by the Christian Social Minister for Social Administration Richard Schmitz (see instruction (Austria) ). As a result, the mayor of Vienna, Jakob Reumann, brought a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court ; the VfGH decided that Reumann had found himself in an excusable legal error, the fire hall remained in operation.
It was not until October 24, 1964, that the Vatican gave its official approval to cremation. In the following year, the Archdiocese of Vienna issued regulations for the consecration at a cremation, in 1966 this was officially equated with burial.
The crematorium is not located on the site of the central cemetery, but on the other side of Simmeringer Hauptstrasse, diagonally opposite the main portal (2nd gate).
The cemetery in the shadow of the Third Reich
The Nazi regime and the Second World War did not leave the Central Cemetery without a trace. In the course of the pogrom against the Jewish population in the Reichspogromnacht (the so-called "Reichskristallnacht") on November 9, 1938, the ceremonial hall built by Wilhelm Stiassny in the old Israelite department (1st gate) was blown up by the National Socialists and that in the new Israelite department (5th gate, named 4th gate after 1997) devastated. In addition, numerous grave sites were damaged or destroyed in both departments.
In the years 1938 to 1945, at the time of National Socialism in Austria , hundreds of resistance fighters and deserters of the Wehrmacht were executed in the Vienna Regional Court and their bodies were then buried in shaft graves in the central cemetery. The relatives were not informed of the place or time of the burial, as the cemetery administration received strict orders from the management of the regional court. The burial took place in a specially closed section of the cemetery, closed to the public, and was monitored by police officers. A few years after the end of the war, the graves of those executed in Group 40 were declared a memorial and memorial site by the City of Vienna.
In 1944, Walter Nowotny , one of the most successful pilots in the German Air Force , was buried in a grave of honor in the cemetery. In 2003 the dedication as a grave of honor was withdrawn by the Viennese city administration because the Nazi regime, as stated in the declaration of independence in 1945, led Austria into a senseless and hopeless war of conquest, [...] to conquer peoples against whom no true Austrians has ever harbored feelings of enmity or hatred .
In the course of the Battle of Vienna in April 1945, fierce fighting broke out between the Red Army and German units in the central cemetery . However, the greatest damage to the cemetery was caused in the months before by bombing attacks, which is also due to the fact that strategically important industrial areas (for example the oil refinery in Schwechat ) were located in the vicinity . After the end of the war, around 550 bomb craters and over 12,000 destroyed graves were counted on the cemetery grounds. The dome of the Karl Borromäus Church was destroyed by an incendiary bomb , and all buildings on the area were affected. In February 1945, the funeral halls were badly damaged by bombs, and for some time the funeral was only possible on an open grave.
The repair work began quickly after the end of the war, but the rebuilding of the dome of the Karl Borromeo Church dragged on until the 1950s, and even in the 1990s countless damaged graves were restored in the old Jewish cemetery. There is also a fallow area in the immediate vicinity of Gate 1, on which the Jewish ceremonial hall, which was blown up in 1938 and then completely demolished, was located. In group 40, opposite the memorial and memorial for the executed resistance fighters, there is a common grave site of more than 400 bomb victims from the war years 1944 and 1945. Numerous other memorials and war graves in the central cemetery also commemorate the victims of Nazi rule and Second world war.
The central cemetery today
After the simple and reduced to a minimum "austerity funerals" under Emperor Josef II., In the second half of the 19th century, the wealthy bourgeoisie tried to imitate the nobles and staged sumptuous funeral ceremonies and funerals. The term “beautiful corpse” , which has been quoted much since then, was born. Even today, the beautiful corpse arouses the interest of the Viennese population, so state funerals of politicians as well as the funerals of personalities from other creative fields are an occasion for many people to pay their last respects to these prominent deceased. If, for example, a Federal President is buried, the street that leads from the main portal to the presidential crypt and is flanked on both sides by groups of honorary graves is the scene of long funeral procession. But representatives of contemporary pop culture are also bid farewell on a large scale: in February 1998, thousands of people attended the solemn funeral of pop star Falco in an honorary grave.
Most burials at the Central Cemetery are carried out by “Bestattung Wien”, a company owned by the City of Vienna, Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG. Until a few years ago, Bestattung Wien was still a monopoly, but after the Ministry of Economic Affairs canceled the proof of need for funeral homes without replacement in 2002 , the undertaker “Pax” opened a branch in Simmeringer Hauptstrasse as the first competitor. When designing farewells, the bereaved have a lot of freedom, from the (sometimes unconventional) selection of music during the funeral service to the possibility of having the coffin escort from the funeral hall to the grave using a historic, six-horse funeral carriage.
The administration of the cemetery has been the responsibility of Friedhöfe Wien GmbH since 2008 (until 2007 Magistratsabteilung 43, “Städtische Friedhöfe”), which includes the subordinate positions “Städtische Friedhofsgärtnerei” and “Städtische Steinmetzwerkstätte”, but the latter must oppose one A large number of competing cemetery gardeners and stonemasons claim that they have settled nearby along Simmeringer Hauptstrasse.
One of the latest creative innovations is the one designed by the architect Christof Riccabona and carried out by the municipal stonemasonry workshop under the direction of Leopold Grausam jun. and opened in 1999, the Park of Tranquility and Power . It is a geomantic landscape park, which is divided into five differently designed areas and is intended to invite physical and mental relaxation and reflection.
Ceremony Hall 2 and Funeral Museum
The funeral museum in Vienna's central cemetery is located in the basement of the laying out hall 2, which originally served as a morgue for "infectious" deceased. It is on the right behind the main entrance. The dwindling number of house erections resulted in the hall being rebuilt in the 1930s to increase capacity. From 1938 the hall was reserved for non-denominational funeral services. During the Second World War, the building was badly damaged by bomb hits.
It was not until the 1960s that the hall was restored and rebuilt. A single large room lined with white marble was created to enable “funeral celebrations with a special character”. The architect was Erich Boltenstern senior , the builder of the Ringturm . The mosaic wall niche with Christ on the cross by Hans Robert Pippal is hidden behind a sliding wall during non-Christian funerals. The hall now offers space for 800 mourners. It was here that prominent deceased people said goodbye, such as Curd Jürgens (1982), Helmut Qualtinger (1986), Falco (1998), Peter Alexander (2011) and the chairman of the Austrian Roma Cultural Association, Rudolf Sarközi (2016).
In 2014, the funeral museum was created in the basement of the funeral hall and a separate entrance to the museum with stairs and handicapped ramp was built. On three hundred square meters of exhibition space, around 250 exhibits from the burial archives and the Viennese cemeteries are shown, including an original Fourgon (carriage for transporting corpses) from 1900, uniforms of the “Pompfüneberer” (undertakers) from the past and today, bizarre things such as a stabbing knife and an ambulance clock to prevent being buried alive. A folding coffin from 1784, as it can otherwise only be seen in Göss , testifies to the Josephine thrift, a billing instruction of the imperial court arist, issued for the transfer and burial of the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife after the assassination attempt in Sarajevo , and other contemporary documents convey highlights on the historical burial culture.
Thirteen monitors show videos, most of which have never been published, including film excerpts from the Austrian Film Archive with newly discovered and restored material from the funeral of Franz Joseph I and the pompous funeral conduit for Baron Albert Rothschild . An installation shows party slips from different centuries, for the deceased from the house owner's wife to the former Burgtheater director Ernst Häusserman . In an audio installation you can hear the most popular songs on the subject of burials and cemeteries.
Location and infrastructure
Contrary to its name, the central cemetery is located on the south-eastern outskirts, in Simmering , which was incorporated in 1892 and which was not yet part of the city at the time of construction. However, as the largest burial site in Vienna, it still fulfills a central function, not least because the prices for using the grave at the Central Cemetery are considerably lower than at the other, more popular and cramped Viennese cemeteries.
Simmeringer Hauptstrasse, Simmering's most important traffic artery, with the Rennweg in front of it, direct access from the city center to Vienna Airport and part of the historic highway to Budapest , leads directly to the central cemetery and thus makes a significant contribution to its accessibility. The closer you get to the cemetery, the denser the stonemasons, flower shops and other businesses that are connected to the ongoing operations of the cemetery become.
Although the cemetery is located between this busy road and the route of the airport express train, the vast majority of the area is spared from traffic noise. However, a low altitude flight route directly over the central cemetery at the airport located southeast of Vienna has an adverse effect on the peace and quiet of the cemetery.
On the initiative of the cemetery administration, a coffee house at the cemetery has been housed in a historical pavilion for the first time since April 2018 . With windows and a pub garden, it opens onto the cemetery grounds. In the building there is also the Infopoint, a computer terminal for finding the locations of grave sites.
Traffic in the cemetery
Due to its size, the central cemetery has considerable distances. Its main routes can therefore also be used by car for a fee. The maximum speed is 20 km / h , otherwise the StVO applies . Entrance is only not permitted on November 1st ( All Saints' Day ), as the risk of traffic chaos would be too high on that day. People with the appropriate disability pass are generally free of charge and are also allowed to drive on All Saints' Day.
In order to make remote graves more easily accessible for people without a car, the cemetery has had its own cemetery bus since 1971. During the day, with the exception of All Saints' Day, it crosses the majority of the cemetery area every half hour as a circular line from Gate 2 and serves 19 numbered stops . Every year around 60,000 passengers use this transport service, which is operated by the Austrian private bus company Dr. Richard is. The City of Vienna has been subsidizing buses with up to 34,000 euros per year since November 2, 2004, and since then it has been integrated into the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR). This means that visitors with a valid VOR ticket do not have to pay the otherwise charged user fee.
The cemetery line was originally called line 11 , but was renamed as line 106 - Rundlinie Zentralfriedhof - as part of the integration into the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region, in order to avoid confusion with line 11A of Wiener Linien .
In the same breath as the Central Cemetery, the traditional line 71, also called the 71 , the Viennese tram , goes from Börsegasse via Wiener Ringstrasse , Rennweg and Simmeringer Hauptstrasse directly to the cemetery and on to Kaiserebersdorf. The 71er represents the last journey of every Viennese in numerous stories, anecdotes and songs. You can already hear colloquially about a deceased: He took the 71er. Line number 71 has existed since 1907; before that, the electric tram to the central cemetery, which in turn emerged from the Simmeringer horse-drawn railway in 1901 , had a geometric line symbol.
In 1918 the Spanish flu , which killed 25 million people worldwide by 1920, also hit Austria. Since the high risk of infection required the dead to be transported away quickly, but there was a lack of horses, a converted sidecar for a total of twelve coffins could be used from March 1, 1918 after preliminary talks between the municipal burial office and the Viennese tram . The vehicle with the road number 7018 brought the deceased from the care home and the anniversary hospital in Lainz, from the Am Steinhof nursing home and from the general hospital to the central cemetery, usually at night. In December 1918 the anatomical institute of the university was also included, in 1923 the transports were limited to Lainz and Steinhof and these were also stopped in March 1928, also because this procedure did not correspond to the views of the Viennese population at the time. The pioneer here was the Prague tram , where a special railcar was already transporting corpses from October 1917 .
During the Second World War, the transport of corpses by tram in Vienna had to be resumed due to renewed bottlenecks. In 1942, the Viennese tram therefore had three of its own mortuary transport vehicles that could hold numerous coffins. For several years afterwards, the wagons running on route 71 were equipped with hanging devices for wreaths.
Even today, the 71er is the most widely used public transport, which serves as a direct feeder to the central cemetery. The S-Bahn station Wien Zentralfriedhof on the S7 line at Gate 11 at the back of the cemetery is used comparatively rarely by visitors to the cemetery; another S-Bahn station, Zentralfriedhof-Kledering , was closed in 2002. The underground line U3 ends just under 2 km before the cemetery (the extension is currently not being planned), this "last meter" is bridged by the 71er together with tram line 11. To Allerheiligen when there is a rush with over 300,000 visitors to the central cemetery, the intervals of line 71 are considerably compressed.
Until the opening of the Simmering subway station in 2000, the so-called Allerheiligenlinie 35 also ran to Allerheiligen as a reinforcement . In earlier decades, when private cars were still rare, special lines from many Viennese districts to Allerheiligen were led to the central cemetery To save passengers having to change trains.
Development of denominational departments
The central cemetery in its current form consists on the one hand of the interdenominational "main cemetery", which is available to every deceased, regardless of religion , as the final resting place, on the other hand of the various denominational cemeteries and departments.
The majority of the main cemetery has always been made up of Catholic graves. In addition, there are now departments and cemeteries of the following other denominations:
- Islamic (old, new and Islamic-Egyptian sections)
- Jewish (old and new cemetery)
- orthodox (Russian, Greek, Romanian etc.)
Even after the various expansions, the main cemetery makes up by far the largest part of the entire cemetery area, both in terms of area and number of graves. While the Protestant and the new Jewish cemetery are spatially clearly delimited and have their own entrance portals on the outer wall, the comparatively small Orthodox and Islamic departments, the Mormon and the Buddhist cemetery exist like enclaves at different locations within the interdenominational part of the cemetery grounds.
In common usage, the "central cemetery" is equated with the entire cemetery area as well as the interdenominational main cemetery, which is why, in contrast to the denominational cemeteries and departments, the main cemetery is not referred to as “Catholic cemetery” or “Catholic department”.
Old and new Jewish cemetery
The first denominational department was opened in 1879 in the west of the complex at gate 1, the “ Jewish cemetery ” (officially called the Israelite department of the central cemetery). But this department was already full in 1916, which is why the New Israelite Department (5th Gate, renamed 4th Gate before December 1996) was built at the eastern end of the cemetery area . The keystone of the ceremonial hall designed by the architect Ignaz Reiser (1863–1940) was laid on September 12, 1928.
In 1945, misdirected aerial bombs caused severe damage in the old department and around 3,000 graves were destroyed. In the following decades, the department visibly grew wild. In 1991 the independent association “Schalom”, founded in the same year, began to restore damaged graves, to renew grave inscriptions and to carry out general maintenance work. The old Jewish cemetery where u. a. Arthur Schnitzler , Friedrich Torberg , Gerhard Bronner and Viktor Frankl are buried, and the new department, where u. a. Otto Soyka is buried, are by far the largest denominational departments on the grounds of the central cemetery.
On May 9, 1895, the St. Lazarus cemetery church was consecrated in the newly created Russian Orthodox department. The following orthodox religious communities now have their own departments:
- Bulgarian Orthodox Church
- Greek Orthodox Church
- Coptic Church
- Romanian Orthodox Church
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Serbian Orthodox Church
- Syrian Orthodox Church
The evangelical cemetery
The Protestant community of Vienna had founded and operated its own Protestant cemetery in what was then the Viennese district of Matzleinsdorf (today's district of Favoriten ) as a result of the new denominational separation of graves, which was a consequence of the Austrian Concordat of 1855, before the establishment of the central cemetery . As a result, from 1876 the cemetery was threatened with official closure. The City of Vienna ultimately rejected any further expansion in this area. The only way out was to build a new, independent cemetery elsewhere. At the end of the 19th century the time had come when the Viennese evangelical communities AB and HB jointly acquired - several kilometers away - an area of 11 yokes on the east side of the central cemetery, which became the evangelical cemetery Simmering.
The cemetery grounds
The Protestant cemetery, which can be reached via the 3rd gate (previously the 4th gate right next to the 3rd gate; this gate number was used for the New Israelite Department from December 4, 1996 at the latest), was opened and inaugurated in 1904. It is still in Protestant ownership and is not administered locally by the city administration, but by a separate cemetery committee of the Protestant communities A. B. and H. B.
The resting place has a cemetery church, the Heilandskirche , and its own mortuary, both of which have existed since the opening. Karl Friedrich Wolschner was responsible for the design of the systems at the time in cooperation with Rupert Diedtel , who were able to prevail in the competition with their moderate concept. The area and its church appear unobtrusive and therefore appropriate to a cemetery due to the Gothic character reduced to the essentials . The cemetery hall was rebuilt once between 1977 and 1978.
The property itself is narrow and elongated and with around 6.3 hectares takes up a modest area in the 250 hectare total area. Seen from Simmeringer Hauptstrasse, the main cemetery borders on its right long side, while the new Jewish cemetery, which was built in 1917, is on its left long side. At the narrow rear, the Protestant cemetery joins an extended part of the central cemetery. In terms of area, there are no longer any direct alternatives. The cemetery is only 40% full, however, with a total of 8,448 grave sites, 380 urn graves and 85 urn niches (as of October 2006). Due to the narrowness of the site, there is only a single, central main path, which is flanked on both sides by graves and urn niches. Until 1985 it was still allowed to drive on it every day, now only on Wednesdays with a medical certificate (in contrast to the main cemetery). Occasionally, pedestrians also have access to the surrounding departments.
Muslims have been buried in the central cemetery since the end of the 19th century . The first Islamic department was established in the mid-1970s, followed by an additional and an Islamic-Egyptian department. Regardless of the course of the sidewalks, the graves are oriented according to the Qibla direction of prayer prescribed by the Koran , i.e. towards Mecca . As these departments will soon reach their capacity limits, the City of Vienna granted the Islamic Faith Community its own Islamic cemetery in the 23rd district of Liesing in Vienna . After several delays in the construction work, the Islamic Cemetery Vienna was opened on October 3, 2008.
Since 2005 there is also a Buddhist department (group 48A). After successful discussions between representatives of the Austrian Buddhist Religious Society and the responsible municipal department 43, the ground was sanctified in autumn 2003 and construction began. On May 23, 2005, Vesakhtag 2549, the Buddhist cemetery was inaugurated. In a solemn ceremony, the stupa , a sacred building in the center of the complex, was filled by monks with sutras from all Buddhist schools represented in Austria. The opening met with great media interest, as there are hardly any cemeteries of this type outside of the core Buddhist countries. The design was based on designs by the architect Christof Riccabona, who had already planned the park of calm and strength for the central cemetery. The grave groups are laid out in the form of an eight-spoke wheel around the stupa, the eight wheel segments symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism. Twelve stones placed on the path surrounding the complex represent the causes of conditional emergence and thus rebirth . Both coffin and urn burials are possible as burial types.
Presidential crypt and state funeral
Immediately in front of the Karl Borromäus Church is the presidential crypt, in which the Federal Presidents of the Second Republic have been buried with full honors since 1951 . As of June 2007 these are:
|Surname||Life dates||Term of office|
The very flat design of the crypt system, which was built in 1951, and the resulting not very ostentatious appearance are a result of the architect's requirement not to impair the view of the Karl Borromäus Church. Since the crypt was originally only intended for Karl Renner, who died in 1950, only his name can be found on the stone sarcophagus in the center of the rondeau. The names of all buried presidents are immortalized on the cover plate to the crypt and on the side of the complex. It is possible for the spouses of the Federal Presidents to be buried in the crypt as well, but this requires the approval of the presidential office. The first wife Hilda Schärf († 1956), Aloisia Renner († 1963), Margarete Jonas († 1976) and Herma Kirchschläger († 2009) found their last rest at the side of their husbands; Federal President Körner was a bachelor.
State funerals and so-called state funerals are decided by the Council of Ministers and organized and paid for by the Republic of Austria. They are intended for federal presidents, federal chancellors and national council presidents . If the person in question dies while exercising their office, a state funeral is possible, otherwise a state funeral.
The former Federal Presidents Rudolf Kirchschläger and Kurt Waldheim refused in their wills the otherwise common public laying out in the Hofburg . According to his last will, the former Federal Chancellor Josef Klaus was buried in the closest family circle in the Grinzing cemetery . Most recently, the President of the National Council, Barbara Prammer , was honored with a state funeral in 2014.
With the exception of Alfons Gorbach , Josef Klaus and Fred Sinowatz , all deceased Austrian Federal Presidents and Federal Chancellors of the Second Republic are buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery, the Presidents in the presidential crypt and the Chancellors in graves of honor. The last Federal President before the Nazi era, Wilhelm Miklas , died in 1956 and was buried in the Döblingen cemetery .
Memorials and war graves
There are numerous memorials and war graves and military cemeteries on the cemetery grounds. The largest such graves are:
- Cemetery for the war dead of the First World War , the 1925, on its front Anton Hanak designed, monumental war memorial Sorrows is
- Cemetery for the victims of the Second World War
- Memorial to the Victims of Fascism 1934–1945 (Group 41; unveiling on November 1, 1948), designed by Fritz Cremer , Wilhelm Schütte and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
- Russian Heroes' Cemetery with the Soviet war graves of the Second World War, in which 2,624 fallen soldiers of the Red Army (including twelve heroes of the Soviet Union ) are buried.
- Jewish hero monument and graves of fallen Jewish soldiers of the First World War from Vienna.
In addition, there are common graves of victims who perished in various events, which are commemorated by corresponding memorials or memorial stones. These are among others:
- Victims of the March Revolution of 1848
- Victims of the ring theater fire on December 8, 1881
- Victims of the airship disaster of June 20, 1914
- Victims of July 15 and 16, 1927 (demonstrators shot in the Palace of Justice fire )
- Executive victims of July 1927 (police officers killed in the Palace of Justice fire)
- Victims of the avalanche accident at Hohen Sonnblick on March 21, 1928
- Victims of February 12, 1934 (civilian victims of the civil war )
- Executive victims of the February fighting in 1934
- Victims of Spain's fascism (fallen interbrigadists )
- Victims of the National Socialists and the NS judiciary (people's and military jurisdiction) ( resistance fighters and deserters of the Wehrmacht who were buried in mass graves at this point during the NS regime)
- Victims of the Czech resistance movement against the National Socialists (also group 40)
- Victims of the bombing war from 1944 to 1945 (also group 40)
- Victims of child euthanasia at Am Spiegelgrund from 1940 to 1945
The central cemetery was created in a previously undeveloped area, which is why its architects had a lot of freedom in design. Already in the ground plan it is characterized by very clear structures, carefully planned by human hands, especially in the arrangement of the graves and cemetery stretches. The paths parallel and normal to the main gate result in a functional rectangular grid. In addition, two main paths, which are approximately 45 ° diagonal, lead from the main gate into the site, to which further parallels exist.
The first thing to look out for upon arrival is the unmistakable main gate area. It was built in 1905 based on designs by Max Hegele , a student of Victor Luntz and Karl von Hasenauer , and includes the portal system itself and the two funeral halls 1 and 2 to the left and right of it. For practical reasons, they represented the earliest construction measures in the Hegele concept.
The creative and geographical center of the site is, however, undoubtedly the cemetery church of St. Karl Borromeo designed by Hegele, which you can approach directly from the main gate. Erected from 1908 to 1910, it is one of the most important Art Nouveau church buildings today. The glass windows and wall mosaics are by Leopold Forstner , who, according to his designs, depicted the four evangelists in the dome pendentifs and designed the entrance areas to the side chapels. Under the main altar is the crypt of the mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger , who died in 1910 and laid the foundation stone for the church in 1908, which is why the church is also known as the Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Gedächtniskirche. From 1995 to 2000 the church was subjected to a general renovation, as the “ravages of time” left behind considerable damage both inside and out; Among other things, the inner dome, which was only poorly restored after the Second World War in the course of the reconstruction of the roof that was destroyed by an aerial bomb, has been faithfully restored.
Part of the Hegele concept were also the crypts on both sides of the church - the new arcades , which were built between 1905 and 1907 before construction began on the church. They house 70 arcaded tombs, two mausoleums and 768 column bar niches , in which coffins are not - as some would suspect - ash urns.
The old arcades between the cemetery church and the 2nd gate - a brick building in the neo-renaissance style - with 36 arcade tombs were built earlier. They mainly serve as graves for families from the middle classes of the Ringstrasse era. The building decision was made in 1879, and the facility was completed in 1881. The rapid completion is probably due to the fact that the construction was financed exclusively from private funds.
Structurally noteworthy in connection with the area around the Borromeo Church are also the arrangements of graves and paths surrounding it. In the floor plan, a lush cross shape can be seen around the prayer house. This visual highlighting in the area-wide dominating tile pattern was achieved on the one hand by semicircular paths as the main contours, on the other hand by a much closer grid of the groups of graves within these contours. The imaginary cross is longitudinally symmetrical, its foot merges into the main gate area.
Due to the long existence of the cemetery, several other architecturally interesting facilities of various kinds were added over time.
The Simmering fire hall was built from 1921 to 1922 according to plans by the architect Clemens Holzmeister as the first Austrian crematorium in an expressionist style with oriental influences. Holzmeister only won third place in the design competition (a design by Josef Hoffmann won ), but was nevertheless commissioned with the construction, as his concept better incorporated the new castle building on the same site . For Holzmeister, this contract meant his breakthrough as an architect, and after the crematorium was completed he was appointed to lead an architecture class at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts . Almost half a century later, from 1965 to 1969, it was again Holzmeister who carried out some extensions and alterations, including new ceremonial halls and the frescoes designed by Anton Kolig in 1927 were relocated to the dome room.
In the 1920s, another, third mortuary was built on the cemetery grounds. The design comes from Karl Ehn (a student of Otto Wagner), who completed it in 1924. It is located far inside the cemetery area, at the end of the diagonal axis leading away from the main gate, and is therefore, unlike the halls at the main gate, only one group away from the grove of honor.
The cemetery as a natural space
The central cemetery is part of the eastern green belt of Vienna . Due to its size and the partly dense tree population, it is home to a diverse fauna. The most frequent sightings are the many squirrels , which the Viennese call "Hansi" and are comparatively trusting, as they are often fed with nuts by visitors to the cemetery. The largest "animal inhabitants" of the cemetery are less well known, around 20 deer , which are mainly to be found in the area of the old Jewish cemetery , not least because of the evergreen plants growing around the old tombstones, which are reliable, especially in the colder seasons Source of food. In addition, the central cemetery offers habitat for kestrels , hamsters , badgers , martens , frogs and other small animals.
Until the mid-1980s, the cemetery area was even an official hunting area and the game population was controlled by a hunter appointed by the forest administration. Nowadays attempts are made to maintain the ecological balance without the use of rifles. a. by the environmental protection department of the City of Vienna, which with its species and habitat protection program Network Nature ensures that, apart from the well-tended avenues and rows of graves, overgrown, natural areas are also preserved.
Cultural and media
With three million burials, the Central Cemetery "houses" significantly more Viennese than people living in the city today, and about half of all Viennese who have ever lived. It is an integral part of the image and reception of the City of Vienna; Dirk Schümer , Vienna's correspondent for the FAZ , called it the " Heldenplatz of Vienna's veneration of the dead" and wrote, "No other city counts its dead among the living so happily."
The cemetery was musically immortalized by the Austropop musician Wolfgang Ambros , whose friend and lyricist Joesi Prokopetz was inspired by a poster to mark the 100th anniversary of the Central Cemetery in 1974 for one of its greatest successes, the song Long Live the Central Cemetery .
Numerous films and television productions also referred to the central cemetery and used its morbid charm as a setting. Of particular note is the 1948 film The Third Man, starring Orson Welles , in which some scenes take place in the cemetery. In the 1981 music video for the song Vienna by Ultravox , which is stylistically strongly based on the third man , the central cemetery can also be seen in several shots, the grave of Carl Schweighofer is shown on the cover of the single .
The universe documentary Long Live the Central Cemetery , broadcast by ORF in 2005 , was primarily dedicated to the zoological biodiversity within the cemetery walls. But also Austrian TV thrillers such as B. Kottan investigated and Inspector Rex led the viewer to the central cemetery, and even in the children's film The Knickerbocker Gang: The Talking Grave , he serves as a gruesome backdrop in one scene.
The open air concert Nachklang takes place at the cemetery every year . In 2018 a series on philosophy as a secondary use of the site began.
Honorary graves and graves dedicated to honor
When the construction of the first honorary grave group began in 1885 , this concentration of graves for prominent deceased was intended to increase the attractiveness of the cemetery. Since 1954, in addition to the honorary graves in the honorary grave groups, there has also been the category of honorary graves , which are either in group 40 (honor grove) or occasionally in other groups on the cemetery grounds. There are currently more than 350 honorary graves and over 600 honorary graves in the central cemetery.
One of the tombs most frequently visited by tourists, that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , is, however, only a memorial, since the mortal remains of Mozart are in the Sankt Marxer Friedhof (where the exact location of Mozart's grave cannot be determined because it is due to the Josephine reforms was buried in a shaft grave).
The honor grove in Group 40 houses honorary graves of personalities who largely died after the 1960s. By far the most visited grave in this group is that of the pop star Falco, who died in 1998 and has developed into a veritable pilgrimage site for Falco fans.
Honorary graves (selection)
|Ludwig van Beethoven||1770-1827||composer|
|Max (Maxi) Bohm||1916-1982||actor|
|Ludwig Boltzmann||1844-1906||Mathematician, physicist and philosopher|
|Gerhard Bronner||1922-2007||Cabaret artist and musician|
|Elfi von Dassanowsky||1924-2007||Singer, pianist and producer|
|Nicolaus Dumba||1830-1900||Industrialist, patron, politician|
|Franz (Ferry) Dusika||1908-1984||Cyclist|
|Karl Farkas||1893-1971||Actor and cabaret artist|
|Peter Fendi||1796-1842||Painter and lithographer|
|Carl von Ghega||1802-1860||Engineer, builder of the Semmering Railway|
|Christoph Willibald Gluck||1714-1787||composer|
|Theophil von Hansen||1813-1891||Architect (buildings on Vienna's Ringstrasse )|
|Karl von Hasenauer||1833-1894||architect|
|Josef Hoffmann||1870-1956||Architect and designer|
|Udo Juergens||1934-2014||Composer, pianist and singer|
|Siegfried Marcus||1831-1898||Automotive pioneer|
|Alois Negrelli from Moldelbe||1799-1858||Engineer, planned the Suez Canal|
|Johann Nestroy||1801-1862||Actor and playwright|
|Peter of Nobile||1774-1854||architect|
|Eduard van der Nüll||1812-1868||Architect ( Vienna State Opera )|
|Elfriede Ott||1925-2019||Actress, director and cabaret artist|
|Ida Pfeiffer||1797-1858||Explorer and travel writer|
|Marcel Prawy||1911-2003||Dramaturge and opera critic|
|Helmut Qualtinger||1928-1986||Actor, cabaret artist and author|
|Erwin Ringel||1921-1994||Doctor and psychologist, pioneer in suicide research|
|Emil Jakob Schindler||1842-1892||painter|
|Friedrich von Schmidt||1825-1891||Architect ( Vienna City Hall )|
|Arnold Schoenberg||1874-1951||Composer, founder of twelve-tone music|
|Leopold Schrötter from Kristelli||1837-1908||doctor|
|Johann Strauss (father)||1804-1849||composer|
|Johann Strauss (son)||1825-1899||composer|
|Franz von Suppè||1819-1895||composer|
|Hugo Wiener||1904-1993||Composer and author|
|Anton Wild Goose||1881-1932||poet|
|Joe Zawinul||1932-2007||Jazz pianist, keyboardist, composer and band leader|
|Friedrich Zawrel||1929-2015||Contemporary witness|
Honorary graves (selection)
|Franz Antel||1913-2007||Film director, producer and author|
|Ludwig Bösendorfer||1835-1919||Piano maker|
|Falco (Johann Hölzel)||1957-1998||Pop musician|
|Fatty George||1927-1982||Jazz musician|
|Hans Gillesberger||1909-1986||Choir director and music teacher|
|Ludwig Gottsleben||1836-1911||Writer and actor|
|Ferdinand Grossmann||1887-1970||Choir director, vocal teacher and composer|
|Hans-Peter Heinzl||1942-1996||Actor and cabaret artist|
|Joachim Kemmer||1939-2000||Actor, cabaret artist and voice actor|
|Ludwig von Köchel||1800-1877||Music writer, author of the Köchel index|
|Josef Kriehuber||1800-1876||Painter and lithographer|
|Hermann Leopoldi||1888-1959||Composer and cabaret artist|
|Paul Loewinger||1904-1988||Folk actor ("Löwinger stage")|
|Carl Merz||1906-1979||Cabaret artist and writer|
|Hans Pemmer||1886-1972||Teacher and local researcher, founded the first Viennese district museum|
|Matthias Sindelar||1903-1939||Soccer player, captain of the Austrian " wonder team "|
|Erich Sokol||1933-2003||Illustrator and caricaturist|
|Franz Stoss||1909-1995||Actor and theater director|
|Ernst Waldbrunn||1907-1977||Actor and cabaret artist|
|Peter Wehle||1914-1986||Composer, writer and cabaret artist|
|Helmut Zenker||1949-2003||Writer and screenwriter|
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