Zentralfriedhof, Vienna – The same size as Zurich and twice the fun!

The Zentralfriedhof (main cemetary) in Vienna lies on the edge of the city not far from the Vienna airport. With a “population” of over 3 million, it houses twice as many people as currently are alive in the city. But why would you ever want to visit a cemetery when you go to Vienna? Maybe the Viennese themselves say it the best: “It is as large as Zurich but twice as fun!”

The interior of the Friedhofskirche zum heiligen Karl Borromäus in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna

The cemetery is laid out on a grid system intersected with large avenues that run diagonally through the cemetery. Although originally Christian, the cemetery is a multi-religious cemetery and you can find people of every faith buried here. In the centre stands a catholic church called the “Friedhofskirche zum heiligen Karl Borromäus”; this translates as “Cemetery church to holy Charles Borromeo”. There are also other buildings of various denominations and religions for those who are burying a loved one.

Speaking of loved ones, there are also beloved ones who are buried here. More specifically there is a section to very famous people either from Vienna or who made an impact in Vienna, such as famous composers. These include Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven and many others. They have been given “graves of honour”, which are taken care of by the city.

It is also interesting to wander around the cemetery, which is 2.4 square kilometres and look at over 330,000 graves.

To get to the Zentralfriedhof, you can use public transport. One of the most used is tram line #71, which has been operating (originally as horse and carts) since the early 1900s. There is even a euphemism in Vienna that a person has “taken the 71” meaning that they have died. Nowadays the 11 also goes there.

There are also some local buses that you can use as well from Schwechat or Kledering. Additionally, there is a train station that serves it called “Wien Zentralfriedhof”. You can use the same train to get to the airport (S7 commuter train).

You can enter the cemetery for any reason and spend as long as you would like as long as it is open. Please remember to be respectful during your visit.

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