Kapuzinergruft (Imperial Burial Vault), the family vault of the Habsburg dynasty, below the Church of the Capuchin Friars Minor, built from 1622 to 1632, founded by Anna, wife of Emperor Matthias; Anna and Matthias were the first to be buried in the Imperial Vault in 1633. Several extensions during the reign of Leopold I (1657), Maria Theresia (1753) and Emperor Franz Joseph (1908).
Emperors throughout three centuries, without exception, are buried in the Imperial Vault; the urns containing the hearts of the emperors are in the Augustinian Church, while the urns with the entrails of the imperial family are in the catacombs of St Stephen´s Cathedral. The 103 metal coffins testify to the craftsmanship of the Viennese tin casters. The Late Baroque double sarcophagus of Emperor Franz I and Maria Theresia and several other sarcophagi were designed by B. F Moll.
Since the 1950s extensive restoration has been undertaken to halt the progressive decay of the sarcophagi through tin blight and surface corrosion. The Imperial Vault was greatly extended by establishing the New Vault below the monastery garden in 1960. - The last Habsburg to be buried in the Imperial Vault was Zita von Bourbon-Parma in 1989.
Literature#M. Hawlik-van de Water, Die Kapuzinergruft, 1987; W. J. Bandion and S. Goldberger, die Kaisergruft, 1990; G. Beutler, Fuehrer durch die Kaisergruft bei den PP Kapuzinern zu Wien, 1998.