Cemetery Church, Vienna
This church is in the middle of the Central Cemetery in Vienna. Its really quiet, not many tourists visit graveyards, but I find them really interesting. In particular I was there to visit Beethoven. But I’m really glad I popped into the church. In German it is called “Katholische Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Gedächtniskirche”, which means the “Karl Lueger Memorial Catholic Church”. Karl Lueger is a somewhat controversial figure, in that he is credited with transforming Vienna into a modern city, but he was a strong Antisemitic, to the point that Hitler credited him as an inspiration for his own Jewish views. I am somewhat baffled to see that this church would be named after him – it is a very sensitive topic in Vienna.
The dome is surprisingly modern, just a simple pattern. No biblical scenes like you see all over the other churches in Vienna. Incidently this is the second dome, the first was destroyed in World War 2.
A view from outside.
The Strauss composers
The final resting places of Johann Strauss I (dad), Johann Strauss II (son), and Josef Strauss (other son). All three were musicians and composers.
Johan I – dad
Johann II – he wrote what is probably the most famous waltz in the world, The Blue Danube
Grave in the forest
While walking in the forest in Ojcow I came across this beautiful grave. I don’t know anything about it, but I can’t imagine that a grave made entirely of plants would last for very long in the humidity of the forest. It is a lovely and peaceful spot for a little quite contemplation.
A grave matter
I am fascinated with graveyards, and I love walking through them. They have a sense of quite and calmness. They are places where you can pause and remember that whatever your worries, they are probably not that important when put into perspective.
So today when I drove past the Muizenberg Cemetery on a misty morning, I had to stop for a few minutes to walk through the graveyard and look at the graves. Interesting that even though once you are going there is no coming back, there is still clearly a distinction between the expensive and inexpensive graves.
Jim Morrison’s Grave
His grave is in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the largest and oldest cemetery in Paris. He shares the ground with several illustrious people, including Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. The crypts (many of them shared by families) almost looked like small houses, rather that a resting place for the dead. While many were very old, several were from just a few years ago. The graveyard is full of labyrinthine paths, criss-crossing on their meandering routes. I had a distinct Ann-Rice feeling in the graveyard.
What I also found interesting is that there were a large variety of graves from different Churches, including Christian, Jewish and a few Chinese graves.
It was quite a walk to find Jim Morrison’s grave, especially because I got so lost that I had to stop and buy a map. So when I eventually found it, I didn’t just pause for to contemplate, I also had to pause for breath. I have never seen a pop star’s grave before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It looked exactly like all the other graves, except that it was covered with bunches of fresh flowers – suggestive of a regular stream of visitors. I was surprised to be the only person there. I also expected graffiti, but there was none.
My reflective moment was shattered when a group of tourists arrived (“there he is!”), and went to gawk and slobber at his grave (Ok so I was also a tourist, but you can at least show some sense of decorum in a graveyard). So I decided that it was time to say goodbye and move on.