All posts filed under: Vienna

Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof

About an hours drive from Bratislava, located in the Simmering district of Vienna, is a lovely cemetery called Zentralfriedhof – also known as Vienna’s Central Cemetery. Established in 1863, Zentralfriedhof is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe. It was assumed at the time that due to industrialization and the strength of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that the population would outgrow the capacity of the existing communal cemeteries. The cemetery was designed by Karl Jonas Mylius and Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli and it was opened on All Saints’ Day in 1874. Zentralfriedhof was quite controversial due to its interdenominational character. The Roman Catholic Church was opposed to the different faith groups being interred on the same ground but the city officials weren’t bothered. They didn’t want an official Catholic opening of the new cemetery and funded the construction of a segregated Jewish section. Zentralfriedhof also has sections dedicated to Muslim burials (according to Austrian law), Orthodox burials and contains a Buddhist cemetery centered around a Stupa. Initially, the cemetery’s distance from the city center made it very …

Exploring St. Micheal’s Church in Vienna

Michaelskirche is one of the oldest churches in Vienna. It dates from the 13th century and has remained unchanged since 1792. Its high altar is breathtaking. Designed in 1782 by Jean Baptiste d’Averange, the altar is decorated with the monumental stucco alabaster Rococo sculpture called ‘Fall of the Angels’ by Georg Merville. Imagine a cloudburst of angels and cherubs falling from the ceiling to the ground suspended in motion. This was the last major baroque work completed in Vienna. Michaelskirche is also famous for another reason – its Michaelergruft, a large crypt located underneath the church. Due to the unusual climatic conditions of the crypt, bodies don’t decompose. Between 1631 to 1784 about 4000 people were buried here and today hundreds of mummified corpses are on display – some in glass coffins still wearing baroque frocks and wigs. Access is by tour only and no photographs are allowed. Above the entrance of the church is the gilded pipe organ created by Johann David Sieber in 1714. It is the largest baroque organ in Vienna, once …

Inside the Imperial Habsburg Crypt

Just off to the side of the Kapuzinerkirche lies the entrance to the Kapuzinergruft – the Imperial Habsburg Crypt. Since 1633, members of the Royal Habsburg family have been entombed here including 12 emperors and 16 empresses. The largest and most beautiful double Rococo tomb belongs to the Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan. WIth Love, Martina

A Day in Vienna

The beauty of Vienna is that it is only an hour and a half away by train from where I live. When time allows I can hop on an early morning train and escape to a city that I enjoy exploring. The train brings me to Vienna’s main train station. From there, after grabbing a coffee, I usually walk ten minutes to the Belvedere Palace. I find walking through its botanical gardens very peaceful as I make my way to the city center. On my most recent visit the garden I discovered a big beautiful ginkgo tree and a section devoted to exotic cacti. The palace itself is worth visiting. It is home to the world’s largest collection of works by Klimt and other 19th and 20th century Austrian art. For breakfast, I head to Café Central – my favorite coffeehouse in Vienna. What I find special about Café Central is its high vaulted ceiling and Renaissance columns as well as its amazing selection of cakes – each one perfect and beautifully served. Established in …