After visiting the Beethoven museums in Heiligenstadt I walked to the nearby region (previously the village) of Grinzing, to find the art nouveau grave of Gustav Mahler, surrounded by its box hedges, in Grinzinger Friedhof [Grinzing cemetery], followed by a long walk to find two houses nearby with Mahler connections (one of them is on his death certificate as he was staying there when he died). There appeared to be quite a lot of security around the houses, and then I noted that one now seems to be the Embassy of Saudi Arabia; I didn't hang around or take photos!

A day or so later, after the weather had deteriorated considerably, I went to the massive and inappropriately-named Zentralfriedhof [central cemetery], which is actually 3 miles or so out of the centre [U-bahn U3 to Simmering, then tram No.6 to 'Zentralfriedhof, 2 Tor', the main entrance and the second-to-last tram stop]. 2.5 million people are buried here, and there seemed to be an internal bus service to get around. It was pouring with rain and windy, and I'd become quite expert at using the camera and umbrella at the same time, in the wind.

I headed for the musicians' group in the Famous People section, and found many old friends: Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert, together as a trio; Schoenberg (actually in a different place, closer to the heads of state); and the Strausses, including Josef Strauss, who trained as a mechanical engineer and was very talented, but was also an amateur composer and conductor who turned to music full-time after a successful period deputising for his brother Johann – Johann once said: "Josef is the more gifted of us two; I am merely the more popular". Their youngest brother Eduard, himself a successful conductor, is also buried nearby.

Johannes Brahms is there, as are the conductor and operetta composer Franz Suppe (1819-1895), and Strauss's rival Josef Lanner (1801-1843). I was pleased to see that the Streichers, Andreas and Nanette, are looking over Beethoven in death as they did in life – Nannette in particular used to bring him pies and fix his washing, when his life was getting out of hand as it frequently did. Their tomb, actually that of their son Johann Baptist – 'J.B.Streicher und dessen Eltern' [J.B.Streicher and his parents] – is set modestly in the trees, just to the left of Beethoven's.

You are here: Home > Grand Tour > Destinations > Vienna > Musicians' Graves