I remember very well the first Jewish cemetery I’ve visited and where my interest started. It was still in my teenage years in the nearby town from where I live, in Kazimierz Dolny. This charming little town with the bohemian atmosphere and over 60 art galleries is one of the main tourist destinations in Poland. Every weekend from April to October it’s overcrowded with people who visit the lovely market place, walk along the Vistula river or climb the Three Crosses Mountain for the best view. But not so many of these people know that not that far away from the center of the town the beautiful Jewish cemetery can be found.
The cemetery was created in 1851 in the very beautiful location – in the forest on the side of the gorge (one of many in that area). Sadly the place has a very tragic history – in the time of World War II it was the place of executions of Jews and Christians, eventually during that time the cemetery was also destroyed. Yet a lot of the gravestones were saved and were in a pretty good condition – the local artist suggested to German soldiers, who were building the road using these gravestones, that it’d be faster to put them with letters facing the ground (instead of destroying beautiful superscription).
In the 80s these gravestones were used for the “wailing wall” that is broken in the middle – it is the symbol of the tragic fate of Polish Jews. Many gravestones are in the ground in front of that monument but it’s worth going into the forest just behind it to find couple more really beautiful ones. They are scattered between the trees not very close from each other, all in a really good condition.
Yesterday the weather was gorgeous and I was more than happy to finally go out and play with my new camera. Without much thinking I’ve decided to go to Kazimierz Dolny and take very first pictures at the Jewish cemetery. I just knew it’s gonna be even more beautiful with lots of snow around. And I was right. It was simply magical. When I was walking around I felt like I’m in some sacred place. Sun was shining between the trees, around me was a complete silence and I was carefuly strolling around, afraid this special feeling can go away anytime…
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This cemetery isn’t any new to me, I’ve visited it already couple of times, yet each time I manage to find something new there. New details on the gravestones, new angles to look at things… Even if know the area fairly well I still find interesting things there. And I’m sure I’ll find even more next time I visit the cemetery…
Do you find cemeteries interesting too?
If you think of visiting Poland or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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