In 1828, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert spent the last few weeks of his life at his brother’s apartment near Vienna. Although Schubert was dying of either typhoid fever or syphilis, he continued to compose during this time, completing a series of piano sonatas and his last work, ‘Der Hirt auf dem Felsen’ (The Shepherd on the Rock). The two-room apartment where Schubert spent his last days (40, to be exact) is now a poignant museum that documents the final weeks of his life, his funeral, and his grave – he was buried next to Beethoven in the local cemetery at Wahring, although both composers have since been exhumed and reburied in Vienna’s central graveyard. Schubert was a keen admirer and contemporary of Beethoven, and even carried a torch at Beethoven’s funeral (little knowing he would only outlive the great composer by a year or so). Although the Schubert Sterbewohnung (‘Schubert’s Death Apartment’) doesn’t have many of the composer’s personal effects, there are many touching letters to and from his family that were written around the time Schubert discovered he was dying, and visitors to the museum may also listen to some of Schubert’s music there.
Schubert’s Sterbewohnung is located close to Vienna’s Naschmarkt, and it is worth combining the two in one visit as the museum is a small (yet charming) attraction that won’t take very long to visit. To get there by public transit, take the underground (U4 line) to the stop Kettenbrückengasse, or the Hop On Hop Off Yellow line to the stop Naschmarkt. The museum is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month.