Some of the world’s great composers share the same leafy grove in Vienna’s central cemetery (the Zentralfriedhof), but there’s one notable omission: Mozart.
So what do you do when there’s a hole (literally and figuratively) in your collection of honorary graves? You put up a memorial, instead.
- 1859 stone memorial originally built to mark Mozart’s burial site in St. Marx
- Now located next to Beethoven and Schubert’s graves
- See also: Mozart location guide
There’s a bit of mystery surrounding Mozart’s grave. But we do know two things: roughly where it is and that he’s no longer in it. Nobody knows where his bones ended up, but back in 1859 they at least erected a memorial at the best-guess location for his original burial site in St. Marx cemetery.
A few years later, the city built a large, new cemetery (the Zentralfriedhof) some way from the centre and began adding famous graves to give it a bit of a popularity boost. They busily dug up many of Vienna’s favourite musical sons to create a cluster of composer graves that includes Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, and Schubert.
But not Mozart.
The grave of perhaps the world’s greatest ever composer remained undisturbed, given its lack of, well, a Mozart within. Yet it didn’t seem quite right – all those famous composers honoured at the Zentralfriedhof, but the most famous of all a notable absentee. Hence the obvious compromise solution…
In 1891, one hundred years after his death, Mozart’s graveside memorial moved from St. Marx to join the composer’s musical contemporaries and successors at the Zentralfriedhof. The memorial features a grieving muse as well as Mozart’s portrait in relief. It’s not unusual to find flowers left there by well-wishers.
The memorial’s creator was Hanns Gasser, whose various sculptures can still be seen around the city today. Some have their own particular link to the great composer.
Gasser helped decorate, for example, the main altar at the Waisenhauskirche, the very church where a 12-year-old Mozart once conducted a performance of the Mass in C minor (the “Waisenhausmesse”) he wrote for the church’s consecration.
Gasser also produced sculptures for fountains outside the State Opera House, which was completed in 1869 and has hosted over 1000 performances of The Marriage of Figaro, to name just one Mozart opera.
How to get to the Mozart memorial
For directions to the cemetery, see the main Zentralfriedhof article. Once inside the cemetery, follow the directions for Beethoven: Mozart’s memorial sits just in front of Beethoven’s (no coincidence, I think).
Address: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Vienna