Great Cemetery (Lielie kapi) Riga, 2015

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Tbolt

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If you walk North East from Riga....and keep walking you will eventually come to this old site.
That's whatTerance Trent D'arby (
names have been changed to protct the innocent and downright odd) and myself did during a visit to Riga for some smokes as they were soooooo cheap.
unfortunately, we had already been walking for many hours in the opposite direction to see other things such as the flea market

(This place is a must if you are ever here The daily Latgales Flea Market or Latgalīte Flea Market sells things you had forgotten ever existed, just don't take any pics....that does not end well)

By the time we got here and walked back we had walked about 15 miles and I decided this would be the day to break in my new boots but they broke in my feet instead .

Anyhow here's some history and pics, history from wiki.

The Great Cemetery (Latvian: Lielie kapi; German: Großer Friedhof) was formerly the principal cemetery of Riga in Latvia, established in 1773. It was the main burial ground of the Baltic Germans in Latvia.

Extensive damage and removal of many headstones and graves by the Soviet authorities governing the Latvian SSR after 1945 led to the suspension of burials and the eventual conversion of the burial ground to a public park. Despite this, a significant number of old graves have survived.

The 22-hectare property is owned by the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Between 1771 and 1772, Catherine the Great, empress of the Russian Empire, decreed that no-one, regardless of their social standing or class origins, was to be buried in a church crypt or churchyard; all burials were to take place in the new cemeteries to be built throughout the entire Russian empire, which were to be located outside town boundaries. These measures were intended to overcome the congestion of urban church crypts and graveyards, and were prompted by a number of outbreaks of highly contagious diseases linked to inadequate burial practices in urban areas, especially the black plague which had led to the Plague Riot in Moscow in 1771.

Against this background the Great Cemetery in Riga was founded in 1773. It served as a burial ground for over 170 years for almost all Baltic Germans who died in the city between 1773 and 1944. Additionally, numerous Latvians of upper social status were buried there as well. The cemetery was divided into three section: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian.

One of the first to be (re-)buried there was the founder of the city, Albert of Riga, whose remains were exhumed from one of the city's main churches and transferred to the cemetery in 1773.


Final burials 1939–1944

Burials at the cemetery were drastically reduced after Hitler's forced transfer, under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, of tens of thousands of Baltic Germans from Latvia in late 1939 to occupied areas in western Poland.

Burials at the cemetery continued on a much smaller scale until 1944, principally among those Baltic Germans who had refused Hitler's call to leave the region.


Situation after 1944

Hundreds of headstones and graves were removed or destroyed by the Soviet authorities during the second occupation of the Baltic states.

In 1957 the cemetery was closed completely for any further burials and began to fall into disrepair.

In 1967 or 1969 the city council decided to bulldoze large sections of the cemetery in order to transform it into a public memorial park.

The Russian Orthodox section of the cemetery, later named Pokrov Cemetery, is the only area which was not added to the territory of the Memorial Park and therefore was the only part to remain well preserved.

A significant number of Baltic German and Latvian graves and family plots, including a restored crypt built in 1777 and the graves of Krišjānis Barons and Krišjānis Valdemārs, have survived the post-war destruction. However, many of these graves are in an abandoned or neglected condition.[1]

The city of Riga is currently discussing exchanging St Peter's Church for the Great Cemetery so that the city can properly take over maintenance.[2]






























This was a very odd place where folk walk their dogs or have little picnics with their children amongst the vanalised tombs of the dear departed, interesting and very old place to wander around tho.
Sadley there was lots of graff connected to anti-semitism dotted around .....it never ceases to amaze me that the human race seems to refuse to learn from it's past mistakes and it turns my stomach to see it.

Pics were taken on an old camera many years back so please dont judge me too harshly

Thanks for looking
 

FunkyMuffin

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Fabulous report as always sir and equally fabulous photos. Always a pleasure reading what you post.
 

Tbolt

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Wonderful pictures of a fascinating site. Have put it on my 'list'!
Defo put it in your list..... just don't do it in new boots.
It's easy enough to find on Google or maps but if you make sure you go to the flea market
 

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