The Habsburg Imperial Crypt is a burial chamber of entombment for the members of the House of Habsburg. It was founded in 1618 and located between the capuchin church and the monastery on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt in Vienna, near the Hofburg Palace.
The mausoleum guards the bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The 107 metal sarcophagi and five heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo are all visible inside the crypt.
Still nowadays some of the resident Capuchin friars is perpetuing their role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt.
Balthasar Ferdinand Moll, was the artist that sculpted the tombs of the mausoleum, using various techniques of metalworking, like full casting for the sarcophagus, hollow casting for decorative sculpture, carving, engraving and precious hammered relief for surface decoration.
In order to guarantee the stability of the enormous display tombs, they used iron bracings and wood lining inside.
The coffin usually has two locks, the key to one is kept by the Capuchin Guardian of the crypt, the other is kept in the Schatzkammer of the Hofburg palace in Vienna.
Within the coffin, the body usually had the organs completely removed as a necessary part of the embalming process. The hearts has been placed into silver urns and sent elsewhere, and for some the intestines and other organs have been put into a copper urn and deposited in the Dukes Crypt in the catacombs of Vienna’s cathedral, the Stephansdom.
The Habsburgs were one of the confirmed merovingian bloodline lineage.
The oldest person entombed here is Otto von Habsburg, aged 98 years and 7 months. Otto Von Habsburg is believed to be one of the last merovingian heirs under the protection of the Priory of Sion.