Theme #3: Cemeteries. It sounds weird and morbid, but I kind of like visiting cemeteries. I think this started for me in 2006 with the Vysehrad cemetery in Prague where Dvorak is buried, and since then if I have the opportunity, I like to visit the big cemeteries in different countries. They’re very peaceful, and somehow it makes me feel more in touch with the country itself, looking at the tombs of its famous dead people.
And Russia has a lot of dead people. That was the really earthshattering conclusion that I arrived at after tons of time in museums, cathedrals, monasteries, and of course cemeteries. But really, I just couldn’t get over how many dead Russians were littered throughout history. 26 million dead in World War II (excuse me, the Great Patriotic War) alone. I mean, it boggles the mind.
Visiting two of the big cemeteries in Russia was also quite an ordeal of endurance in some respects. Temperatures hovering right around freezing meant a constant give-and-take between new snow and thaw, coupled with unpaved and/or unshoveled paths, which meant my not-so-waterproof shoes called it quits about ten minutes into both cemetery visits and made enjoyment of the grounds a bit of a challenge
Here are some of the tomb pilgrimages I made:
ALEXANDER NEVSKY CEMETERY, ST PETERSBURG
Miscellaneous tombs that I just found interesting-looking:
NOVODEVICHY CEMETERY, MOSCOW
Anton Chekhov plot:
And assorted others: