Yet another example of the gruesome divide-and-conquer burial strategy of the Habsburg dynasty. It is said that other dynasties waged countless wars to acquire new lands, but you, happy Austria, marry. Even in death, the Habsburgs placated three different churches with the honor of caring for their remains. The best known, the Kapuzinergruft, contains their actual bodies. St Stephens holds their innards (intestines and other parts taken out during the preservation process). But the Augustinerkirche holds, in the Herzgruft (Heart Crypt), all the Habsburgs' hearts. The tradition began in 1627 with Emperor Ferdinand IV, who wanted to lay his heart at the feet of the Mother of God, literally. His heart, and those of his descendants, are preserved in silver jars which are carefully cared for by the Augustinian friars who run the church. When the renovation was underway it was found that the preservative in some of the caskets had evaporated over the years, leaving nothing but a dried-out, mummified heart.
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Augustinian Friars' Church and Nearby Attractions on Map
Kunsthistorisches Museum(0.7 km)
One of the world's greatest art museums and in a palace that is a work of art itself.
Hofburg Palace(0.3 km)
This immense palace complex grew into a large, unwieldy series of buildings over the years and was the imperial residence of the Habsburg emperors until 1918.
Opera House(0.3 km)
Probably the most-beloved symbol of Viennese arts, and one of the first buildings to be rebuilt in the postwar era.
Neue Hofburg(0.4 km)
The newest and largest section of the Imperial Palace.
The Albertina is the largest Habsburg residential palace and a popular art gallery in Vienna, with over 50,000 drawings and one million prints dating from Late Gothic to contemporary.
Largest Baroque cathedral north of the Alps, designed by the famous architect Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.
The Museum District(1.1 km)
Has served as a cultural district of Vienna since 2001.
Vienna House of the Arts(1.8 km)
Even an avowed hater of modern art can appreciate this.
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