Capuchin Church and Imperial Crypt

Vienna, Austria

The Capuchin Church in Vienna, Austria is a church and monastery run by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. It is most famous for containing the Imperial Crypt, the final resting place for members of the House of Habsburg.

About 1599 the Capuchin brothers resided at Vienna on their way to Prague, where they had been sent by Pope Clement VIII in the course of the Counter-Reformation. The church was donated by will of Anna of Tyrol (1585 – 1618), consort of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias of Habsburg. Construction was delayed due to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War and not finished until 1632, under the rule of Matthias' successor Ferdinand II. It was consecrated in 1632.

The Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft) is a burial chamber beneath the church and monastery. Since 1633, the Imperial Crypt has been the principal place of entombment for members of the House of Habsburg. 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 107 metal sarcophagi and five heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. 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.

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