Austria and Vienna are not short of a few famous local (and adopted) sons and daughters, and a good selection of them found their last resting place in the Zentralfriedhof: Vienna’s main cemetery.
- Home to Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Strauss, Schoenberg, Salieri, and others
- Beautifully-kept graves and memorials in an expansive park-like cemetery
- See also: The Zentralfriedhof | Mozart locations in Vienna
If you visit the site, you won’t find big neon signs pointing to the most interesting graves and crypts, which is fair enough as it’s a working cemetery and not primarily a tourist attraction.
But I’ve pulled together some names and directions for you. So if you want to stand within a yard or two of Beethoven, read on.
The first thing you need to know is that most of the famous graves are in special clusters of Ehrengräber (honorary graves). The award of an Ehrengrab in the Zentralfriedhof is one of the highest honors the city can bestow on someone and hundreds are scattered throughout the cemetery.
Aside from the special groups of Ehrengräber, it’s also worth noting the Präsidentengruft (Presidential Crypt). This is where all the post-WWII Austrian presidents are buried. The last to receive this honour was Thomas Klestil, who tragically passed away just two days before the end of his term of office back in July 2004.
Who’s buried here?
Here’s a list of the more famous residents of the cemetery…
Group 32A: the composers
Some of the world’s greatest names in classical music form a self-contained collection of well-kept graves within the cemetery.
One or two passed away well before the city constructed the Zentralfriedhof. The authorities moved the bodies there to create the Ehrengräber. The hope was the “star attractions” might encourage people to visit and use the cemetery (which struggled for acceptance early on given its distance from the city center).
Ludwig Van Beethoven
The great composer died in 1827 and occupies grave 29 in the group. See also this dedicated article on Beethoven’s last resting place.
Another composer who found fame in Vienna. Brahms died in 1897 and occupies grave 26 next to Strauss.
Johann Strauss (Jnr)
The most famous of the musical family died in 1899 and is buried in grave 27 – look around to find the other stars of the Strauss dynasty here, too.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
One of the composers who was truly Viennese, given his birth, life and death (in 1828) in the city. Schubert’s grave is number 28.
Another “celebrity” within group 32A is Johann Nestroy. The famous playwright died in 1862 and occupies grave 6.
Other notable graves
The modern composer died in 1951 and is found at grave 21a in Group 32C, not far from his older colleagues and next to the presidents.
Falco (Hans Hölzel)
The star of Rock me, Amadeus fame died in a road accident in 1998. Find him at grave 64 in Group 40.
Various other “celebrities” dwell in the Zentralfriedhof but for whatever reason didn’t get a place in one of the main Ehrengräber groups. These include…
Mozart’s rival in the film Amadeus (though that’s not historically accurate) died in 1825 and resides in Group 0 at grave 54. Walk along the outer cemetery wall going north from entrance Tor 3 to find him.
The end of the 0 line of graves with Salieri brings you to the architect and key player in the Vienna Modernism movement, who died in 1933.
The physicist died in 1906. His famous equation on entropy is engraved on his memorial stone at grave 1 of Group 14C – on the right just before you reach the presidential crypt.
The lady who gave her name to the car died in 1929 and is buried at crypt 26 in Group 59C. Go northwest from the Zentralfriedhof church to find the group.
How to find the honorary graves
First off, familiarize yourself with the cemetery’s broad layout using this map.
You should enter through the main entrance (called “Tor 2” – bottom center of the map, where the red 2 is). Tor 2 is a stop on tram no. 71.
There are four main sections dedicated to Ehrengräber, labelled group 32A, group 32C, group 33G and group 40.
To find them, go through Tor 2 and carry on straight ahead on the avenue towards the large Jugendstil church you can see in the distance and between the large stone arcades.
The second section on the left after the arcades is Group 32A. The Präsidentengruft is directly ahead of you, just before the church. To its left are groups 32C and 33G. To find group 40, go west from the Präsidentengruft and keep on going until you find it. (All the groups are labeled with small signs.)
Each group contains a number of famous graves, though many of them won’t mean anything unless you’re familiar with Austrian and Viennese culture and history.
How to get to the cemetery
For travel directions, see the main cemetery article.
Address: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Vienna