10 Lesser-Known Historical Cemeteries in Europe

Image by Anna Wontorczyk

New Jewish Cemetery Krakow (by Anna Wontorczyk)

Cemeteries. Some people associate them with zombies, creepy hands poking out of graves and cold wind and mist. Many of our Spotters see them as good places to relax, let your mind run free and learn about the history of the city.

Most people have heard of the famous cemeteries in Paris (Père Lachaise), Prague (Old Jewish Cemetery) and London (Highgate cemetery). The cemeteries our Spotters have written about are cemeteries that most guidebooks did not mention and therefore are not overrun with tourists, but still just as beautiful and historically-worthy as the famous ones!

There are many beautiful cemeteries our Spotters have written about. So if the city you live in, or are visiting, is not listed in this top 10, look up the city’s blog and you might be able to find one there that unfortunately didn’t make the list.

In random order…

1.  The New Jewish Cemetery – Krakow

The New Jewish Cemetery in Krakow (pictured above) was opened in 1800, so it’s a bit ironic calling it “new”. But it was named after a cemetery established in 1535, so it’s comparatively new! The cemetery is vast and the deeper you go the more “wild” it becomes.

Our Krakow Spotter Anna: “It changes with every season and, with that, so does my perspective. Krakow, like any city, is a busy, noisy place, but it has its nooks and crannies where silence is golden and one of those places is The New Jewish Cemetery.”

2. St. Marx Cemetery – Vienna

By Linda Nepicks

By Linda Nepicks

Vienna Spotter Linda: “The Mozart lovers, who know the true story, the very neighbors in the third district and the gloomy city tourists may know about this spot. But even some of my Viennese friends have never seen or heard about this attraction.”

The St Marx Cemetery in Vienna has amazing weather-beaten tombstones, sculptures fallen to bits and pieces, epigrams worn off by the ravages of time. If you can read German you can learn more about the profession of the deceased on the tombstone – brewer, a landlord, a cigarette shop owner, etc..

3. Kerameikos – Athens

Kerameikos Athens (by Marilena Salamanou)

Kerameikos Athens (by Marilena Salamanou)

Kerameikos Cemetery Athens is the most important cemetery of ancient Athens. It used to be the borderline of the city.lthough it’s very centrally located, between some major Athens roads, “when you enter the site, time starts to move at a different pace.” according to Athens Spotter Marilena.

4. Jewish Cemetery Weißensee – Berlin

jewish-cemetery-weissensee-berlin-(by-robby-block)

Jewish Cemetery Weißensee Berlin (by Robby Block)

Jewish cemetery Weissensee has been neglected by years, but is getting some much needed attention now. Many doubt however it can be enough to save the cemetery. Berlin’s Jewish community once numbered over 600,000, and today there are just 14,000, too small to keep up with maintenance without outside help. So go now!

Wise words from our Spotter Robby: “Nothing reminds you of your own mortality like a visit to a cemetery, and no other cemetery can be a better reminder.”

5. Chuchle forest – Prague

chuchle-forest-prague-(by-toma-jungwirth) (1)

Chuchle Forest Prague (by Tomáš Jungwirth)

Chuchle Forest in Prague is quite a well-known park, but few people visit the somewhat hidden church with a surprisingly large cemetery.

It’s one of our Spotter Tomáš Jungwirth’s favorite spots in the city “It offers a nice view of the river and a part of Prague. It is very silent and often feels somehow deserted. The proper place for a quiet meditation.”

 

6. Mirogoj Cemetery – Zagreb

Mirogoj Cemetery Zagreb (by Karla Lončar)

Mirogoj Cemetery Zagreb (by Karla Lončar)

Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb is known as one of the most beautiful resting places in Europe according to our Zagreb local Karla Lončar. She’s usually very modest, so it must be true!

Mirogoj is full of monuments, and is called the Croatian Pantheon due to many famous people buried in its grounds.

7. Nunhead Cemetery – London

Nunhead Cemetery London (by Richard Fisher)

Nunhead Cemetery London (by Richard Fisher)

“Cemeteries should only be visited on certain circumstances (for example, you wouldn’t want to take a guy/girl there on a first date). However when you need to unwind or just want to learn a bit about London’s rich history, then the Victorian cemeteries are a way to explore and see the Victorians’ unique relationships with life and death” recommends our London Spotter Peter Hoffer.

Unlike at the more famous Highgate Cemetery, admission at Nunhead Cemetery London is free and visitors are not required to join a group led by a guide. And it’s just as beautiful: “Stone angels whose faces are faded from the rain, ivy creeping over statues, tombstones with names barely legible whose inhabitants might be forgotten forever.”

8. Petržalka War Cemetery – Bratislava

petrzalka-bunker-war-cemetery-bratislava-(by-lenka-encingerova)

 

Petržalka Bunker & War Cemetery in Bratislava is quite a walk from the city – perfect for a day of exploring around the borders of Slovakia & Austria!

The recently restored WW1 cemetery just opposite is the final resting place of soldiers of different nationalities. Also take a look at the bulky military bunker, which was restored by volunteers.

Bratislava Spotter Lenka: “I like how this place soaked in the dark history is nowadays visited by families, cyclists and joggers. It’s quite a hidden spot surrounded by thick vegetation on the edge of a European metropolis and the Austrian countryside. Even in the high season it never feels crowded.”

9. Old Believers Cemetery – Kiev

Old Believers Cemetery Kiev (by Lena Shcherbak)

Old Believers Cemetery Kiev (by Lena Shcherbak)

Our Spotter Elena Shcherbak recommends visiting Old Believers Cemetery Kiev.

Old Believers were Christians with their own traditions and rules who were persecuted and lived here in the 18-20 century. The cemetery is now closed and abandoned, but the gates are usually open.This is a a very “Spotted by Locals” spot where you won’t find any other tourists, and an excellent chance to learn something about an almost forgotten group of people.

10. Bogoslovskoye Cemetery – Saint Petersburg

Bogoslovskoye Cemetery Saint Petersburg (by Dmitriy Ivanov)

Bogoslovskoye Cemetery Saint Petersburg (by Dmitriy Ivanov)

Saint Petersburg has quite a few very famous cemeteries. Bogoslovskoye Cemetery Saint Petersburg is more remote, and more obscure, but very interesting.

Our Spotter Dmitriy Ivanov: “Bogoslovskoye Cemetery’s main attraction are graves by some of Russia’s biggest rock stars. New-wave band Kino‘s singer Viktor Tsoi‘s car-crash death in 1990 was mourned by millions of fans, many of whom camped at his gravesite in Bratskaya path for years. I was a bit scared of the area when I was a kid, as my school was across the road.”

Don’t like tombstones, but still want to visit a graveyard? Our locals have got you covered :) Visit the Car Cemetery in Warsaw – recommended by our local Magda.

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)