Haydn's Tombin Haydn Church in Eisenstadt

Don’t Lose Your Head in Haydn Church in Eisenstadt

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The Haydn Church in Eisenstadt is the Tomb of the composer Joseph Haydn. It was not until 1954 that the skull of Haydn was found. The Haydn Chruch in Eisenstadt was built from 1715 to 1803 according to the plans of Pricen Paul I. Esterházy. The prince, however, did not even live to see the start of construction, since he was struck by the plague in 1713. The church was never finished.  Today’s building represents the presbytery. Inside is the famous Haydn organ from 1797. Several masses composed by Haydn were performed here under his direction.

In the south tower of the church there is a treasury. It shows valuable paraments, ciboria, sacral devices and pilgrim souvenirs. 

The Haydn mausoleum

Haydn was originally buried in Vienna. Price Nicholas II. requested the transfer of his body to the Haydn church in Eisenstadt. Here it was found that Haydn’s head was missing. The skull of Haydn was apparently “hijacked” by supporters of the so-called “Gallian phrenology”. They tried to very their theories about human genius. Thus, Haydn was buried with a wrong head in the crypt of the church.

In 1932, Dr. Paul Esterházy built a mausoleum in the left wing of the church. He also endeavored to preserve the skull, which had been in the possession of the Society of Viennese Music Friends since 1895. But the return of the skull of Haydn was delayed. Thus Esterházy canceled the consecration of the burial ground. It was not until 1954 that Haydn’s head was connected in a solemn procession with the rest of the skeleton. A plaque commemorates the unknown head, which was originally buried with Haydn’s body.

The church’s crypt

The crypt serves as the burial place of some servants, musicians and relatives of the Esterházy family. These include the favorite violinist of Prince Nikolaus II from Pesaro, Alois Tomasini, or the last court music director and pupil of Haydn, Johann Nepomuk Fuchs. This was Joseph Haydn’s resting place from 1820 to 1954. A monument at the entrance to the organ loft commemorates the predecessor of Joseph Haydn – the court Kapellmeister Gregor Josef Werner. Please not that you can only visit the treasury and the crypt as part of a guided tour.

For more information, please check out this website.

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