Thursday, October 26, 2006

Graves of the Obscure and Forgotten

In anticipation of next week's Dušičky holiday (celebrated by most Czechs over the weekend since so many people live far from their family's home), I offer up some photos I took last spring (well, actually I suppose it was already summer) when Nathan and I went for a walk in the Olšanska cemeteries.
I'm not sure just when these cemeteries were founded, but there are still a few graves from the early nineteenth century to be found. These photos are of somewhat more recent tombs. Olšanska is an impressive place at any time of year, but its special charm in the spring and summer is its lush or even rampant growth of ivy and other foliage. In the older parts, paths can be a bit overgrown, although never impassible since the place is a favorite for walks. And, of course, some of the monuments are pretty imposing.
Some of the graves, however, are in a rather disorderly state. I'm not sure whether this is the result of supernatural forces, exhumation of the dead, FAMU students making a horror film, or mere vandalism. Nathan and I attempted to photograph the inner reaches of a few graves, but without much success... well, we did not feel inclined to do more than poke our cameras into the yawning chasms. Had we gone in a more funereal-looking month, we might have been inspired to be more ghoulish.
Then there are also miscellaneous bits of funeral and tomb debris lying about. We considered taking some of it home with us, but refrained. Of course, some of our friends would have picked it up the instant it was photographed in situ, and put it in the living room or perhaps even the kitchen. I won't name any names there. But I suppose that in the months since I took the photos, someone else will have taken away the bits and perhaps used them in an assemblage.

5 Comments:

Blogger Rabbit Girl said...

Amazing photos!

....reminds me a little of the Hyde Park Cemetary in London that I stumbled into many years ago. I was surprised to find out that this is where Karl Marx is buried. Sadly, I missed it. But the cemetary was beautiful and atmospheric nonetheless: headstones interspersed with the foliage -not filed into strict ranks like all cemetaries I had previously encountered.

October 26, 2006 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Dirk said...

Nice piece

October 27, 2006 2:09 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

The graves are in orderly rows here, but admittedly that isn't visible in these photos. Sometime I'll have to investigate the Hyde Park Cemetery.

October 27, 2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Just to clarify, the cemetery you are talking about is Highgate. The Marx grave is rather boring. Just a large plinth with an outsized bust of him on it. Theres a pic here: http://users.cihost.com/ata/marx/26large.jpg. The older part of the cemetery is much more fun, but they really restrict access to it.

October 27, 2006 9:39 PM  
Blogger Rabbit Girl said...

Highgate! Thank you...I had no idea it was a cemetary when I first encountered it. I thought it was merely a park. I was quite surprised to see headstones...

October 29, 2006 4:26 AM  

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