If nothing else, the Habsburgs believed in making a grand exit.
But when Ferdinand became Emperor and de Pomis died, the half-finished Mausoleum was left to languish in stone dust. Since nobody had the urge or the funds to do more, Ferdinand II was buried in a cold – and empty – shell.
It remained neglected until 1687. At that point, Ferdinand II’s grandson, Emperor Leopold I, hired a Graz wunderkind named Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to complete the Mausoleum’s interior.
Saint Bonus: The church facade is crowned by the figure St. Catherine of Alexandria, the famous Roman-era martyr who was condemned to death on a spiked breaking wheel. A touch from Catherine’s fingers shattered the wheel into hundreds of pieces. (Note where the statue’s left hand is resting.) She was beheaded instead.
Thanks to a stunning demonstration of Christian oratory at her trial – she bested 50 of the Roman Emperor’s best philosophers defending Christianity – St. Catherine is also the patron saint of universities. That’s why this church overlooks the former Jesuit college where Graz University was founded.