Great Cemetery (Lielie kapi) Riga, 2015

Help Support Derelict Places:

Wrench

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,347
Location
Lancashire

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
 

Wrench

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,347
Location
Lancashire
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
 

Roderick

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
126
Reaction score
131
Location
Derbyshire
What a great find! Lovely gothic atmospherec pics. It reminded me of another similarly incongruous cemetery in the Philippines in Manila which is my idea of hell on Earth, BUT there is a Chinese cemetery there with security guards and maintenance crews, even street sweepers otherwise deserted where the tombs are all fine buildings up to 4 stories high. On the dead person's birthday (though it might be their death day) the family unlock the house/tomb go in and have a celebration/party. The widow often sleeps on the stone box containing the remains - another very strange place to explore.
 

Wrench

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,347
Location
Lancashire
What a great find! Lovely gothic atmospherec pics. It reminded me of another similarly incongruous cemetery in the Philippines in Manila which is my idea of hell on Earth, BUT there is a Chinese cemetery there with security guards and maintenance crews, even street sweepers otherwise deserted where the tombs are all fine buildings up to 4 stories high. On the dead person's birthday (though it might be their death day) the family unlock the house/tomb go in and have a celebration/party. The widow often sleeps on the stone box containing the remains - another very strange place to explore.
Cheers Roderick my feet feet appreciate it
 

BikinGlynn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
1,778
Reaction score
3,294
Nice place that dude well photographed.

I recently did a well known crypt with open caskets & bodies, can honestly say its the only place that just felt wrong being in there!
 

Hayman

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
291
Reaction score
210
Nice place that dude well photographed.

I recently did a well known crypt with open caskets & bodies, can honestly say its the only place that just felt wrong being in there!
One of my schools had been a large private house with its own chapel in the extensive grounds. Its crypt contained the remains of ancestors going back to the Victorian age. But the coffins were not open to view. Still the smell was there. And I went to the Kensal Green catacombs on an 'open' day - the building, not the coffins.
 

Hayman

Regular Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
291
Reaction score
210
I'm sure yours will do the same sir
No – a simple cremation, my ‘ashes’ disposed of, and that will be it.

I have mentioned before the Old Water Mill at Hellingly, Sussex, which my maternal grandparents ran as a tea garden and guest house in the 1920s-1930s. One of my great-grandfathers came over to London from Germany in the 1880s.

His and his English wife’s grave in south London was going to be flattened along with most of the others in the same cemetery, and the gravestone destroyed. And The Old Water Mill was the only address the cemetery authorities had for their heir, my grandfather.

I found this out because I have maintained contact with the owners of the Old Water Mill from the 1960s through to now. And the current ones forwarded the letter from the cemetery about the planned levelling of the graves.

I paid for the gravestone to be taken to The Old Water Mill, and erected there. So, that is my spending money to tell other people about my dead relatives. Although I see it as preserving a bit of Germano-Anglian history for future generations. Photos attached.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1055.JPG
    IMG_1055.JPG
    1.4 MB · Views: 21
  • IMG0134A.jpg
    IMG0134A.jpg
    710.9 KB · Views: 23
  • IMG0133A.jpg
    IMG0133A.jpg
    205 KB · Views: 22

Wrench

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,347
Location
Lancashire
Nice place that dude well photographed.

I recently did a well known crypt with open caskets & bodies, can honestly say its the only place that just felt wrong being in there!
Cheers sir,, not sure I'd like the open casket scenario 😱
 

Latest posts

Top