Contrary to popular belief, the location of Mozart’s grave in Vienna is not such a mystery after all. Sort of.
- He was buried in the St. Marx cemetery
- This is now a beautiful public park
- A lovely memorial gravestone marks the most likely spot
- See also: Mozart location guide
Where was Mozart buried?
The trouble all starts because after Mozart died (December 5th, 1791), they buried him in a standard, unmarked plot in the St.Marx cemetery in Vienna’s third district. This was completely normal for the time.
What’s important is that we’re not talking about a mass pauper’s grave, as often claimed, but simply an unmarked one.
Unfortunately, as an unmarked grave, there was not so much as a stray piece of sheet music to highlight the last resting place of one of history’s greatest composers.
This later led to confusion as to the grave’s exact location, but efforts were made in the mid-1800s to identify the most likely site and instructions given to cemetery staff to ensure it was kept in good order. A proper memorial stone designed by Hanns Gasser went up there in 1859.
(City councillor, Mr Mailath-Pokorny, at the newly-restored Mozart grave. Photo © PID / Georg Oberweger)
So far so good, but we’re not at the end of the story.
Which means if you see something looking like Mozart’s “grave” in the Zentralfriedhof, it’s just a monument and NOT the actual grave.
Meanwhile, back in St.Marx, a large stone slab eventually marked the grave’s location, and subsequent years saw the addition of further adornments (including a stone angel and column).
The current display is the result of restoration efforts in 1950, which repaired damage caused by WWII bombing (a not uncommon problem for Vienna’s historical sites), and then further restoration in 2016.
And there’s more…
Our story is still not over, though.
First, we’ll likely never know if the marked location truly is the actual plot where Mozart was laid to rest. We’re assuming the 19th-century Viennese got it right.
Second, this kind of grave was not permanent back in the late 18th century. Which means they typically dug up the bones after ten years and reused the site for a new burial. So even if it’s the correct grave, Mozart is probably no longer in it.
Nobody knows what happened to Mozart’s actual skeleton once they reused his burial plot. A skull in the hands of the Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg is alleged to be Mozart’s but nobody is sure – scientific tests were inconclusive.
How to find Mozart’s grave
Unfortunately, the cemetery is not in the most convenient location in Vienna, sandwiched behind a bend of the A23 Autobahn.
Take trams 18 or 71 (which leaves from the central stops along parts of the Ringstrassen) to the St.Marx stop, then walk for a few minutes following the “St. Marx Friedhof” signs.
You can find the grave easily enough inside. Go through the main cemetery entrance and walk down the aisle of trees until it forks and just look left. There’s also a sign pointing to “Mozartgrab” (it’s plot 179).
If you’re in St.Marx cemetery, check the grave at plot 207 (Anna Gottlieb), too. She was the soprano who played Pamina at the premiere of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in 1791 (just before his death)!
Address: Sankt Marx Cemetery, Leberstraße 6-8, 1030 Vienna