The Imperial Crypt
November 03, 2011
The Imperial Crypt (German: Kaisergruft, but usually called Kapuzinergruft, "Capuchins' Crypt") in Vienna, Austria lies below the Capuchin Church and monastery founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632. It is on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt, near the imperial Hofburg Palace. Since 1633 it has been the principal place of entombment for members of the Habsburg dynasty.
The bodies of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are deposited here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The most recent entombment was in 2011. The visible metal sarcophagi and 5 heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. The Imperial Crypt is one of the top tourist attractions in Vienna.
To this day, some of the dozen resident Capuchin friars continue their customary role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt along with their other pastoral work in Vienna.