Vienna: Zentralfriedhof

The weather in Vienna wasn’t terribly generous. I arrived and immediately bought a pair of pants and a sweater. After four weeks sweating through southern Russia, Turkey, Greece and Italy, rain was a distant memory. This made ambitious outdoor plans challenging.

I had really wanted to check out the Zentralfriedhof cemetery in suburban Vienna. The cemetery has a unique history. Built in 1863 anticipating continued population growth (which fell off considerably after WWI), the governing board decided to welcome all faiths in. Austria is a heavily Catholic country and has deep ties to the Church through several centuries of Holy Roman Emperorship. Many people were not pleased. The cemetery today has over 3 million bodies interned and while largely Catholic there are noticeable sections for Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and even Buddhist families.

It had been raining on and off for a few days but finally I decided to bite the bullet and go. About 20 minutes after I arrived, there was a torrential downpour. This is why you always carry a book, kids.

20130628-175333.jpgVienna is famous for its musical contributions and many famous Austrian composers have been buried there. I checked out some of the Big Guys.

20130628-175512.jpgThe markers are very intricate. I found some distant relatives (Moser was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name) and liked the graves that were turned into small flower gardens.

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20130628-175829.jpgThen, the shocker. That’s an OPEN TOMB, kids. The zombie apocalypse starts in Vienna, calling it now.

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