Cemeteries in Przemyśl

Cemeteries are very signifcant for the culture of the thousand-year-old Przemyśl. The history of the town is refected in the fates of particular people who lived here. It was those people who added colour to the life in town. A multiethnic border town, Przemyśl had a quite special atmosphere. Today the faint traces of that  atmosphere can only be found in the surviving cemeteries, in the peculiar sound of old surnames on the tombstones and the multitude of religious faiths and their symbols. To get to know the town well, one should get  to know its cemeteries. Within the administrative boundaries of Przemyśl, seventeen cemeteries have survived. Eight of them, situated on the southern and eastern slopes of the hill called Zniesienie, make up a rather unique complex.

Among them of special signifcance is the Main Cemetery founded ca. 1855. The "old" cemetery which was used until it was overfowing. The new one was given a symmetrical shape with the main alley leading to the  chapel built in 1859. Around the chapel and on both sides of the alley there soon started to appear splendid gravestones of the major fgures of the 19th-century Przemyśl: high-ranking ofcers of the Austro-Hungarian army and civil service, dignitaries of the Roman and Greek Catholic Chapters, as well as eminent artists, scholars and fghters for independence. The surviving tombstones are of considerable artistic value. The most beautiful ones were made by the Lvov artists: Paweł Eutele, Johann Schimser, Ludwik Tyrowicz and Julian Markowski, whose names immediately bring to mind the Lvov cemeteries, particularly the Lychakiv Cemetery. Those tombstones are splendidly complemented with several dozen others from the early 19th century, transferred here from the old cemetery, the oldest of which dates back to 1806. The cemetery was developed several times. In the early 20th century its oldest, historic part was given the arrangement which has remained until modern times. Also, in 1909, the cemetery was separated from Słowackiego Street with an atrractive neo-Gothic railing. The layout of the cemetery, emphasized by the location on a folded hill slope, the variety of gravestone forms and the beautiful high-growing greenery doubtless make it one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Poland.
The nearby Jewish Cemetery has quite a different character. Founded around 1860, it is surrounded by a wall built in 1913 and its main entrance faces Słowackiego Street. The oldest, central part of the cemetery, is occupied by the oldest, mainly turn-of-century tombstones, stone steles ornamented with traditional symbolic bas-reliefs. Graves and monuments to commemorate the Jews murdered in World War 2 are found here. That cemetery was founded when the old Jewish cemetery, (now in Rakoczego Street) functioning since the 16th century, started lacking room. There are no longer any tombstones in the area of the old cemetery. They were taken away by  the Nazis during WW2. The only remnant of the old structure of the cemetery is a brick wall and a small gate which joined the cemetery with the old foundation of the Jewish hospital.
Up the road from the Main Cemetery, at the meandering former fortress road, now the street called Przemysława, there is a complex of four military cemeteries from World War 1. Their origin is closely related to the role the Przemyśl Fortress played in the Great War. Here lie the bodies of thousands of soldiers killed during the bloody triple siege of the fortress between 1914 and 1915. The cemeteries were consecrated on 1 November 1916. There are separate cemeteries for the soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian armies, and across the road, one for the unidentifed soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian army. They are relatively modest in architectural terms; only the German cemetery has the form of a stone mausoleum. 
Also at that time another cemetery for the soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian army was founded in the newer part of the town, in the quarter called Zasanie.That cemetery is a monument to the defenders of the Fortress of Przemyśl. It is marked with a tall iron cross with the inscription MORTUIS PRO PATRIA, which blends in well with a beautiful chapel. At present the cemetery is part of the nearby municipal cemetery founded in 1939. Back in the old part of the town, in Przemysława Street there is the Military Cemetery established in the 1920s in one part of the former military WW1 cemetery. Its centrepiece is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier consecrated on 31 May 1925. On both sides of the alley leading up to it there are graves of soldiers killed in WW2 and monuments to commemorate the Poles murdered in Katyń and on the Polish eastern frontier.In Kasztanowa Street there is the Ukrainian Military Cemetery. It was founded around 1920 as a burial place for about two thousand POWs of the army of Western Ukraina People’s Republic and for the interned soldiers fghting under the Ukrainian leader Semen Petlura, from 1918 kept in the POW camp in Pikulice.
The German 1939-1945 Military Cemetery bears witness to the last war. It started to be used on 7 October 1995. Here lie around four thousand German soldiers who died in WW2 in the south-east of Poland.
Additionally, within the town boundaries some small old cemeteries have survived, once belonging to the adjacent villages which in the 19th and 20th centuries were incorporated into Przemyśl. They are old Uniate graveyards established near the now non-existent Orthodox churches in the districts of Pikulice and Sielec, the church graveyard in Wilcze, parish graveyards at the churches in Kruhel Mały and Przekopana (formerly an Orthodox church).

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