Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II

Graz, Austria

The Mausoleum of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II is located next to the Cathedral of Graz. Turquoise domes stand out against the blue sky above the Mausoleum and, together with the Dom and Katharinenkirche church, define one of the city’s magnificent views.

In 1614 Ferdinand commissioned his Italian court painter and architect to erect a mausoleum and an adjacent St. Catherine's Church next to today's Cathedral. It was to become one of the most important buildings of the early 17th century in Austria. The oval dome above the tomb chapel was the first of its kind built outside Italy. The façade of St. Catherine's is composed with rich small details and demonstrates the taste of time at the threshold of Renaissance and Baroque. As a gable statue, St. Catherine of Alexandria is looking to the former Jesuit college opposite, where in 1585 Graz University was founded. After all, St. Catherine is worshipped as the patron saint of universities.

In 1619 Ferdinand was elected emperor and left Graz for Vienna. Construction work at the Mausoleum came to a standstill. So in 1637 Ferdinand was laid to rest in a half-finished tomb. The vault is dominated by an impressive sarcophagus of red marble. It is the final resting place of Ferdinand's mother, Maria of Bavaria. Just a plain tablet on the wall indicates the grave of Emperor Ferdinand.

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Address

Burggasse 2a, Graz, Austria
See all sites in Graz

Details

Founded: 1614
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Austria

More Information

www.graztourismus.at

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

thvs86 (9 months ago)
The Imperial resting place. Worth seeing at least from outside. Closes at 17:00 usually.
K R (9 months ago)
While we couldn't actually get into the mausoleum (it's only accesible via guided tour and we ran out of time to book one) the building on the outside is very impressive indeed. It's really close to the city center so it's one of the must-see's when visiting Graz.
Steven Jooste (12 months ago)
Certainly on of my most favorite buildings in Graz. An imperial place of rest next to the Dom. Turquoise domes stand out against the blue sky above the Mausoleum and, together with the Dom and Katharinenkirche church, define one of the city’s magnificent views. You could almost have been whisked away to the lands to the south, given how this ensemble enchants any visitor with more than just a hint of Florentine flair. Here in Graz, Emperor Ferdinand II had his court artist Giovanni Pietro de Pomis lay out the impressive tomb.
Francisco Chamorro (14 months ago)
I had a problem when visiting this place, I went to pay with a €10 and the lady in the front informed me that she didn’t have change...mind you the entrance fee is €6, how do you not have change for that amount? I asked her if she would charge me the student rate since it was €5 and I’m pretty sure she would have change, she informed me that she couldn’t unless I had a student ID, which is idiotic since it’s not my fault she didn’t have change. So I had to go around asking for someone to change me a €5 note into coins so I could go in. How do you not have change?!? Its ridiculous. Either way the place is not worth €6, I would say €4 at most.
Anton Varga (17 months ago)
A hidden treasure in Graz. Not well marketed but well worth the visit. The staff were very helpful. Views from the top of the tower are excellent. Watch out for the bell chimes if you are up there. They are very loud!
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Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

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