In the neighbourhood of Olšanské náměstí (Olšany Square) the largest necropolis of Prague is to be found. The founding of Olšany Cemeteries was not quite ideal but its function started to develop through the time and due to many sights the cemeteries have became one of the most visited places to walks.
History of Olšany Cemetries
Originally, an old settlement called Olšany used to be where the today´s burial place extends. In 1679 when many people were dying due to the plague epidemics in Prague a decision was taken to found a cemetery for the plague victims in Olšany. Several chapels such as St. Roch Chapel, St. Sebastian Chapel or St. Rosalia Chapel were built here as a protection against plague epidemics.
The plague epidemics was soon over but as soon as the second wave of the plague epidemics broke out between 1715 – 1716 the Olšany Cemeteries was the place where the victims were buried again. Shortly afterwards the Emperor Joseph II issued a regulation which in general restricted burials of human corps in the Prague centre. That´s why the cemetery was proclaimed a public graveyard in 1786. From 1835 until 1910 more and more new plots were being annexed to the existing ones which were numbered by the Roman numerals. Due to this system the orientation is much easier there.
How to get to the cemeteries?
At present, it is possible to enter the cemeteries premises through several gates from the neighbouring Vinohradská street. The first and the main entrance is located right in the middle of the premises. Not too far from this entrance there is the Central Ceremonial Hall which was built in 1894. The main entrance of the cemetery was built in 1928. Another entry is situated in the lower part of the premises at the cemetery Nr. IV. Through the entrance located in the upper part of the necropolis you will get as far as the new ceremonial hall, to the former old crematorium which was built in the premises in1898.
Besides the history, we also need to learn about the curiosities related to the cemeteries. Remarkable is mainly its surface area currently exceeding incredible fifty hectares. Due to this number Olšany Cemeteries have by right became the largest necropolis in Prague. Another curiosity is the amount of the buried people which exceeds one hundred and twelve thousand. This state, however, has been noted from the extant tombstones but the experts insist that about two million people had been buried here during the existence of Olšany Cemeteries. Olšany Cemeteries is therefore considered the largest cemetery in the Czech Republic. Besides the tombs, graves and burial urns there are also two burial meadows.
In the 1st Municipal Cemetery there are historically very valuable tombstones which were transferred from the abolished Karlín military and Karlín Evangelist cemeteries. In the 2nd Municipal Cemetery you can also find the honourary military burial places from the WW1. Further, there are graves of the soldiers fallen in WW2 here, too. Besides these great graves there are also the graves of the noted Czech personalities. Olšany Cemeteries have become the final resting place of Josef Jungmann, František Ladislav Čelakovský, Karel Havlíček Borovský, Miroslav Tyrš, Josef Lada, Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec. Also Jaroslav Ježek, Vladimír Menšík or Jan Palach were buried here.
Olšany Cemeteries are intersected by an educational trail with several information panels. The educational trail can be reached through the lower gate from Olšanské náměstí. Kostel sv. Rocha (St. Roch Church) is a good orientation point. The entrance is situated above the church.
Praha 3, 130 00
GPS: 50°4’52.407″N, 14°27’37.956″E
GPS: 50.0812242N, 14.4605433E
Tram: 5, 9, 26. 55, 58 – Olšanské náměstí
Bus: 136, 175 – Olšanské náměstí
Metro: A – Flora (from there take a bus Nr. 136 or 175 to Olšanské náměstí station)
Other interesting links
All about: Prague 1 Monuments more read here
All about: Prague 2 Monuments more read here
All about: Prague 3 Monuments more read heres
All about: Prague Castle more read here
All about: Royal route and the coronation of King more read here
All about: Petrin Hill more read here