Ok, a cemetery may sound unnatural when someone goes sightseeing. The primary reason that I went to Zentralfriedhof or Vienna’s Central Cemetery was to pay respects to the graves of some of my beloved composers. In the end, the experience I had was so much more than I expected.
The tombs of composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss Vater, Arnold Schoenberg and Antonio Salieri lie in here. There is also a cenotaph which honors Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Cemeteries usually evoke a sense of fear, probably because of the atmosphere of death. Beyond the eerie atmosphere, what I felt was mostly sadness. As my friend tells me the history of this cemetery, I cannot help but feel sadness. The very first Jewish cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis during Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), an event wherein people thrashed synagogues, Jewish properties and business without intervention from authorities. Even the dead weren’t spared from desecration.
My sadness grew as we came upon the Children’s area wherein the remains of infants and young children are interred. Stuffed toys, pinwheels, and other toys are found in each graves. In addition, some had fences shaped after a crib. I had a heavy heart at this point. I feel sad for the parents who never had a chance to see their child grow and for the child who had only short time to experience our world.
The visit to the cemetery took us few hours due to its vastness. After that we visited one of Vienna’s icons: St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
The cathedral can easily be spotted due to its multi-colored tile-mosaic roof. In addition, it is close to other central sites in Vienna