Visits to old cemeteries rarely make it to a standard bucket list of a tourist who often needs to prioritize under certain time pressure. However, it is sometimes worth making an exception and heading to one of the old burial place, for instance in Cracow.
Rakowicki Cemetery is the biggest, yet not the oldest one in Cracow. It was grounded when the Austrians who ruled the city in 18th-19th century decided to sort out a couple of city matters, including moving the cemeteries outside of the city. The central point of the cemetery is the Helcl chapel from which fan out smaller alleys with huge family vaults, more modest tombs and interesting sculptures.
Many of the latter are actual small masterpieces, often designed by renowned Kraków artists. Soft fall sunbeams and colorful leaves both add to the scenery.
A walk around this cemetery is not only of visual, but also historical value. It is here where many famous Poles are buried, such as famous battle scenes painter Matejko or the Nobel Prize Winner Szymborska. Inscriptions in Polish, German or Russian, on the other hand, remind of Kraków’s role in Galicia, a former province in the great Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The cemetery has been put on an official cultural heritage list which seems to be one more reason to pay it a visit – not only for All Saints’ Day (1st November).
How to get to Rakowicki Cemetery?
It’s a 20 minute walk from Planty Park or take a tram the line number 2 to Cmentarz Rakowicki from Planty Park/Teatr Slowackiego stop. The ride takes about 10 min.