A small, well-kept cemetery in one of Vienna’s outlying districts doesn’t appear on many tourist maps. Yet here you’ll find the grave of Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911), one of the world’s greatest composers and conductors.
- Unassuming location in the Grinzing cemetery in Vienna’s 19th district
- Only a few steps from his wife’s grave
- See also:
Where is Mahler buried?
(A plain headstone marks the location)
Mahler had actually made New York his main base of operations in the years leading up to his death, enjoying success conducting at the Metropolitan Opera house and with the New York Philharmonic orchestra.
US doctors could do little for Mahler’s chronic heart problems, though. His condition worsened in early 1911, and he decided to return to Vienna, where he’d lived for around ten years prior to his move to New York.
Arriving at a private sanitorium on May 12th, Mahler died of endocarditis just a few days later on May 18th.
The family buried the great man in Vienna’s Grinzing cemetery on May 22nd, with Arnold Schoenberg and Gustav Klimt among the funeral guests.
The grave itself possesses a stark simplicity, consisting of little more than a patch of grass flanked by low hedges. At the rear, a large stone block contains only the name Gustav Mahler carved into its top (at the wish of the composer himself).
As a grave with honorary status, the Vienna authorities have committed to its upkeep in the absence of any family to do so.
(Arnold Schönberg’s painting of Gustav Mahler’s burial, 1911; Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 240204; reproduced under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license; photo by Birgit and Peter Kainz)
Other graves in the cemetery sharing this special status include ones for the artist, Carl Moll, and the composer, Johann Strauss III (most of the Strauss composers found their last resting place in the Zentralfriedhof cemetery).
Grinzing is a leafy, well-to-do suburb of Vienna. At the time of Mahler’s death, it would have been more village-like with the cemetery surrounded by trees and fields.
How to find the grave
To find the grave, enter the Grinzing cemetery through the main entrance (see below for map and address).
A small noticeboard on the immediate left has a list of notable “residents” and their locations, though you don’t really need it; the compact grounds mean Mahler’s grave is just a very short walk away.
Simply go left and take the first right after you pass the building (the Aufbahrungshalle). Walk up the path and take the second left; the second grave on your left is Mahler’s at the formal location Group 7, Row 7, Grave 1.
Incidentally, the grave of Mahler’s wife lies just a few steps away.
After passing Mahler, take an immediate left and then a right. Around halfway down the row on the righthand side, you’ll find the grave of Alma Mahler-Werfel (1879 – 1964). Her daughter Manon Gropius from her second marriage is buried with her. Manon died of polio aged just 18.
How to reach Grinzing cemetery
Jump on the tram line 38 to An den langen Lüssen and then walk up to the cemetery. The tram leaves from the city centre (Schottentor station). Alternatively, take the U4 subway to Heiligenstadt station, then catch the 38A bus up to the Grinzing stop.
Incidentally, this area is actually Beethoven territory with the Beethoven Museum a short bus ride away on the 38A (get off at the Armbrustergasse stop).
Address: An den langen Lüssen 33, 1190 Vienna