We get to the Central Cemetery using the tram line No. 8 or 10 - get off at the Central Cemetery stop and are in front of its main gate. We can also get to the cemetery from Mieszka I Street - choose bus no. 61, 62, 81 or 83 - get off at the Mieszka I stop. We have to go back approx. 170 meters to the entrance gate.
The Central Cemetery in Szczecin is the largest in Poland and the third largest necropolis in Europe. The facility was officially opened in 1901. The foundation was designed by Wilhelm Meyer-Schwart. This famous architect from Szczecin planned the eastern part of the cemetery, the main gate, administration buildings and a cemetery chapel. From the beginning of the building's existence until 1928, Georg Hannig was the cemetery manager, who gave the necropolis its final form. It was he who influenced the shape of the rest of the necropolis, which was incorporated into the cemetery in 1919. It is Hannig who is responsible for the selection of the species of trees and shrubs that can be found in the "garden of the dead".
The central cemetery consists of three parts - eastern (the oldest), western and central. The oldest part has a regular, terraced layout, here the dominant features are the chapel and the war quarters. The roads in the eastern part of the cemetery are circular. The western part of the necropolis has a lane system of roads connected with the valleys of the three streams.
In 1925, a crematorium was added to the morgue - in the 1920s, Szczecin was one of the first cities that decided to cremate. The promoter of cremation and urn burials was Dr. Michaelis, who convinced Director Hannig to his concept. When Dr. Michaelis died in 1916, he was the first to be cremated. His urn tombstone is still located in the Central Cemeteries - it can be found on the hill to the east of the People's Quarters. In 1930, a second, modernist chapel was built, which was pulled down in 1984. By the end of 1940, over 117,000 dead were buried in the cemetery, the number increased significantly during World War II. After the end of the war and the takeover of the city, Poles were initially buried in vacant quarters, and then in the place of old, liquidated graves.
When designing the Central Cemetery, Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau tried to create a garden of the dead. The necropolis was supposed to resemble a park as much as possible. A large part of the cemetery was devoted to lawns, wide avenues, water reservoirs and hedges. We will also find stairs and viewpoints. The cemetery had regulations which precisely defined which tombstones could be erected in the necropolis.
In addition to the tombstones, there are several dozen monuments in the cemetery, incl. dedicated to the heroes of September 1939, the victims of Stalinism, "those who did not return from the sea" and Siberians. From the side of Mieszka I Street and we find a 19th-century Dutch windmill, which today has a garden shop.
The main gate of the cemetery was erected in the years 1901-1903 in the neo-Romanesque style. There are two wings adjacent to the gate, in which the cemetery administration and utility facilities are located. The facility was destroyed in September 1941 and rebuilt in 1959.
The chapel, designed by Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau, was built in 1900-1902. The building is inspired by Romanesque architecture. The building is situated on a hill opposite a large fountain. After the end of World War II, the building was not used, it was rebuilt from damage only in 1981, during the renovation there was a fire, which destroyed, among others, central dome. The reconstruction took 13 years, the first funeral after the war was held there in 1994.
There is also a war quarters in the Central Cemetery, which is located on the main viewing axis of the necropolis - between the chapel and the Brotherhood of Arms monument. There are 3,379 soldiers in the headquarters - 367 Polish soldiers and 3,012 Soviet soldiers. The headquarters was established in the years 1946-1954, soldiers exhumed from temporary burial places are buried here.
At the cemetery, there is also the People's Quarters, which was established in the 1960s. Here are buried people who have made a special contribution to Szczecin - we can find here, among others tombstone of Janina Szczerska, Jan Papuga, Capt. Konstanty Maciejewicz, Capt. Antoni Ledóchowski or Florian Krygier.
In the eastern part of the cemetery in 2010, the so-called a historical route that will allow you to get to know the most interesting places in this part of the cemetery. 21 stations were captured, incl. Bernhard Stoewer's tombstone, lapidarium, Hermann Haken's tombstone, the quarters of the distinguished, chapel, Katyn cross, the Siberian monument and the veterans' quarters.
In the cemetery, we can find species of trees and shrubs of foreign origin, incl. from North America, e.g. Californian fir, American pine, giant thyme, bellflower, American linden, from Asia e.g. pendulous forsythia, Japanese larch, ginkgo biloba, Turkish hazel, from Europe e.g. European hops hornbeam, Dutch linden, Greek fir, Burgundy oak, Serbian spruce and Swedish rowan. In total, according to research, there are over 400 species of trees and shrubs in the Central Cemetery. In 2010, a botanical path was marked out in the eastern part with 32 boards with descriptions of interesting trees.
Currently, the Central Cemetery covers an area of 167.8 ha, and since its opening, over 300,000 people have been buried there. The necropolis was entered on the provincial list of monuments in June 1986.
There are over a dozen free parking spaces in front of the cemetery's main gate. It is also possible to enter the necropolis. We will pay 45 PLN for crossing the gate by car. If the reason for entering is a funeral, the first 5 cars will cost PLN 20, and the next PLN 40.
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