If skulls are your thing, then this is definitely the cemetery for you. St. Sebastian’s Cemetery is a small old cemetery located in the centre of Salzburg, just steps away from the well-worn tourist trail, hidden behind St. Sebastian’s Church and a high wall. That said, it was pretty easy to find with the help of Google Maps.

This is an old cemetery, started sometime in the 15th century as a cemetery to bury plague victims and lepers, but when the church was built on this site in 1512 it attracted a new clientele. About 200 years after it was first established, the cemetery was rebuilt in an Italian campo santo (cemetery) style and of course attracted some wealthy and famous patrons, including Mozart’s father and Mozart’s wife (as well as her second husband). The centre field is full of more simple gravestones (include the Mozart family), while the arched colonnade has some more grandiose statues. That said, most were not very interesting (to me), as they were either pretty generic (of the deceased, angels, etc) or were mostly a grave marker with a small sculpture, like a cross. That said, being an older cemetery, it was rife with older imagery that you don’t often see in newer cemeteries. So there were lots of snakes and skulls and other winged creatures to look at, as well as very ornate writing on the tombs and plaques throughout the cemetery.

It didn’t take very long to visit, but it definitely was worthwhile coming here.

Quality of Monuments: As already noted, the most interesting aspects of this cemetery are all the skulls and skeletons, as well as other, older types of funeral imagery. None of the statues particularly stood out to me.

Cemetery grounds: It’s a graveyard that’s connected to a church, so it isn’t very large. It’s in the shape of a large square, and there is a tiled walkway to walk around. The green part of the cemetery is not as flat, but still easy to walk around.

Visitors: I only saw one mourner here – who spent a long time at a particular grave and was visibly upset. I definitely gave her space. Other than that, there were a handful of other visitors like me.

Photographer Notes: None really, although on overcast days in the inner part of the colonnade can get a little dark, so have fast film or use high ISOs.


Cemetery: St. Sebastian’s Cemetery (or Friedhof)

Established: sometime in the 15th century

Notable Internments: Mozart’s father (Leopold) and wife (Constanze) and the mausoleum of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau.

Location: Linzergasse 41, just behind St. Sebastian’s church. The entrance is down a little lane off to the side of the main street.

Hours: Open daily 09:00-18:00