Olšany Cemetery in Prague

Famous castles, churches, chapels and cemetaries of Europe. In places, particularly the old quarter, it is more than a little reminiscent of Highgate Cemetary, London. Olšany Cemetery (Olšanské hřbitovy) is the largest graveyard in Prague, Czech Republic, having had as many as two million burials and it is particularly noted for its many remarkable art nouveau monuments.

In 1679 the plague took the lives of more than 30,000 people generating an urgent need for new burial places and more ground to accommodate them. As a result the city of Prague bought a a piece of land located in the village of Olsany, not far from the old town, from a local farmer and Olšany Cemetery was created in 1680 to accommodate the huge number of the city’s plague victims that required rapid disposal. This huge necropolis extends to about 50 hectares (150 acres) with a total of 112,000 graves and more than 2,000,000 people have been buried there. It is the burial place of many famous Czech artists, writers and politicians. The cemetery is a quiet, peaceful place, an oasis of calm in the midst of the city almost as if time had stopped while the rest of the city bustles with economic boom and development. The only movement among the crumbling graves are the little old ladies continuously tidying them.

Photography Copyright Steven Dark &c 2015