I see dead people

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

Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Glinka

Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Mussorgsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Anton Rubinstein

Anton Rubinstein

Sergei Vasilyevich Lebedev (invented commercially viable synthetic rubber!)

Sergei Vasilyevich Lebedev (invented commercially viable synthetic rubber!)

Yuri Mikhailovich Yuriev (actor)

Yuri Mikhailovich Yuriev (actor)

Ivan Shishkin (I saw lots of his paintings in the many art museums I visited)

Ivan Shishkin (I saw lots of his paintings in the many art museums I visited)

Miscellaneous tombs that I just found interesting-looking:

NOVODEVICHY CEMETERY, MOSCOW

Mikhail Bulgakov

Mikhail Bulgakov

Anton Chekhov plot:

Boris Yeltsin:

Nikita Krushchev

Nikita Krushchev

Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol

Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich

And assorted others:

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