Life in Prague: Olsany Cemetery, Magical Cavern

This historic cemetery provides a secluded refuge for people to visit within the hectic and commercial part of Prague.

The Olsany Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Prague, and was founded over three centuries ago. It is unconventionally located just behind the Flora Atrium Mall, and parallels numerous apartment buildings and other businesses.

According to the historical information plaque at the entrance, the cemetery stretches over 50.17 hectares of land. There are over 112,000 registered burials, but it is estimated that over 2 million people have been buried there since it was founded in 1680.

It is a quiet, mysterious place within the otherwise busy city. Hundreds of trees provide protection from the afternoon sun, and the extending ivy covered walls muffle the sounds of the city.

Dimitri, a man who frequents the cemetery to pay homage to his grandmother and grandfather described the cemetery:

“It is like a sanctuary. Depending on how you view the dead, this can be a very peaceful place,” Dimitri said.

The artistry and craftsmanship of many of the graves shows the historical nature and Art Nouveau influence.

Olsany is also the resting place of some well known Czech figures. These graves tend to be much more elaborate and have plates that explain who is buried in said location.

There are a ton of Christian relics and statues that accompany many of the graves.

“The burials are separated by religious denomination. This area is mainly Protestants,” Dimitri said. “There is a separate cemetery just over the way for Jewish burials.”

Many people come in and out of the cemetery to find shade and a tranquil spot to spend some time.

“The trees provide nice shade, makes the air cooler. I like to come here and sit on my break from work sometimes just to sit and think,” Dimitri said.

Olsany serves as an unusual haven for those who want a moment of peace in their otherwise chaotic days.

Written by Sam McIntyre

Featured image by Sam McIntyre

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Edited by Ciera Noe