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“Not a place for tourists, but for history-conscious people”

Kapuziner Crypt (Kapuzinergruft)
Ranked #53 of 717 things to do in Vienna
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed March 29, 2014

Austria is a republic since 1918, but Vienna is still flooded with memories of the last Emperors Franz Joseph and Elizabeth (popularly known as “Sissi”). Their portraits can be found everywhere: hanging in restaurants and cafes, printed on post-cards for tourists, and even painted on chocolate boxes. At the same time, Vienna is beautified by numberless monuments, museums and other public buildings which were built under the Habsburg and testify the splendour of their empire. No wonder, then, that a history-conscious tourist may find it interesting to visit the site where all the emperors and their families are buried, the Kapuzinerkirche. This is a church administered by the Franciscan friars, who are also called “Kapuziner” because their ancient robe included a hood (which in German translates as “Kapuze”).

The bodies are in the crypt of the church, where dozens of magnificent and richly decorated bronze coffins are lined up. A good lighting system gives prominence to the sculptures and the ornaments of these sepulchres, many of which are as beautiful as museum pieces. The names written on the tombs are those which fill the books of European history. The most touching are those of the last tragic generation of rulers, whose vicissitudes have inspired numberless books, novels and romance movies: the emperor Franz Joseph; his romantic, glamorous and restless wife Sissi, who was killed in Geneva by an anarchist; their son Rudolph who died, presumably suicide, in the course of the event known as “the Mayerling tragedy”; Maximilian, brother of Franz Joseph, who became Emperor of Mexico for a short period and was then executed by the troops of Benito Juárez. Flowers are always present on their tombs. The only member of the family who is missing in this crypt is Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of Franz Joseph who had been designated to become his successor to the throne, but was assassinated by an anarchist at Sarajevo; an event which set fire to the first World War.

History says that the burial of the emperors followed a suggestive path. The Master of Ceremonies knocked at the door of the church and formally asked the friars to make way for the mortal remains of the emperor. The friars denied the access, claiming that they didn’t know of any emperor. Access was reiteratively asked and inflexibly denied until all ceremonial pomp was dropped and the Master humbly implored the friars to receive a sinner seeking shelter and peace in the House of God.

The Kapuzinerkirche is in the New Market square, 100 metres off the Kärtnerstrasse. The crypt is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 5.50 €, with reduction to 4.50 € for people over 65. It is allowed to take photos, but without flash. There is a lift for going down into the crypt. It should be kept in mind that this is not a tourist attraction, but a sacred place and a national shrine. History-conscious visitors will be touched; the others may abstain from visiting.

2  Thank Marco_Polo499
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"capuchin church"
in 18 reviews
"final resting place"
in 18 reviews
"buried here"
in 16 reviews
"burial place"
in 10 reviews
"royal family"
in 24 reviews
"habsburg dynasty"
in 14 reviews
"franz joseph"
in 17 reviews
"neuer markt"
in 7 reviews
"resting places"
in 5 reviews
"crown prince"
in 6 reviews
"history lovers"
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"interesting place to visit"
in 6 reviews
"european history"
in 9 reviews
"works of art"
in 8 reviews
"short visit"
in 4 reviews
"world war"
in 4 reviews
"vienna pass"
in 9 reviews

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Reviewed March 4, 2014

It seems somewhat ironic that the last resting place of the Austrian emperors is located just off a main shopping street under a rather non-descript church. Use the TA Vienna city app to get you here. It's a short walk from Stephanplatz.

Not expensive. Experienced the 'invisibility syndrome' when I stood in front of the cashier for some time as he read his paper. Ho hum. Buy the paper guide as it is worth it to work out who is who.

It's a very quiet, reflective place, but not unsettling - try the St Michael's crypt if you want eerie (plus it makes an interesting comparison)! Note Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Sophie, and the last Emperor Charles have memorials but are not interned here. That said the tomb of Franz Joseph is worth seeing. Good opportunities to take close-up photos of very ornate - but creepy - coffins.


Thank LonePhotographer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2014

Either read something about it beforehand or go with a guide. If not, your overwhelming first reaction is likely to be one of horror at the long lines of heavy, grey-black metal coffins covered with ghastly, macabre, hollow-eyed, crowned death's heads, bones, etc, and you aren't going to recognise any but a very few familiar names amongst their occupants. With preparation, the genre of art won't be quite so shocking, and more of the names will mean something.

(Try to ignore how here even a crypt has been commercialised and photography is evidently allowed.)

Thank ELear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

We were on the fence about visiting the imperial crypt, but when we literally stumbled across the entrance we thought why not? So glad we did! We had already been through the imperial apartments, Sisi Museum, Schoenbrunn Palace, etc, so by this point we were familiar with several names on that family tree. So it was very interesting to walk through this place and actually see their final resting places. The tombs are very intricate for the most part, and the whole experience very intriguing if not a little macabre

Thank Chloeah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 24, 2014

It is not easy to find ,without an impressive enterance,but it is an amzing place,really a great exhibition and coffins are their master pieces,dark enviroment help to achive an unworldly sence.

1  Thank BijanTehran_Iran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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