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Articles

31/10/2012

The Lichakov cemetery


The Lichakov cemetery

Lvov has always attracted tourists from all over the world by its places of interest, one of which is very particular. That is a famous cemetery Lichakov that got the status of historical memorial museum in 1991. Today it opens its gates to the flow of tourists from different countries. This cemetery is famous for its beautiful gravestones, burial vaults, tombs of famous people (there are more than 3000 gravestones), and also for its history. The Lichakov cemetery is not simply one of the oldest in Ukraine; in fact it is older than the cemetery Pere Lachaise in Paris and Highgate Cemetery in London. Both these famous European necropolises officially got their status in the beginning of 19th century, and the Lichakov Cemetery got its status in 1786. From the very first days of this cemetery there were buried mostly political and cultural elites of Galitsky Kingdom and Lodomeria. Ancient gravestones of the Lichakov Cemetery of that time are decorated with sculptures made by famous at that time masters, as then it was popular to hire well-known sculptors who could create a masterpiece. These sculptors ( Gartman Vitver, Anton and Yogan Shimzer) were famous all over the Europe. It is interesting to know that the epitaphs are written not only in Ukrainian and Russian but also in Latin, Greek, Polish, German, Dutch, Romanian and Armenian languages. The cemetery became shelter for public figures, writers, composers, poets, politicians, singers etc. the list of people is very big, but we shall name the most important: famous writer Ivan Franko, the member of “Ruskaya Troitsa” M.Shashkevitch, the famous singer around the world C.Krushelnitskaya, famous performer and poet V.Ivasiuk, and also I.Vilde, I.Kripiakevitch, I.Trush, C.Liudkevith, A.Grotger, C.Banah and others.

All the gravestones here have their own history, and guides today can tell you many interesting stories. Let’s take for instance the gravestone of a famous Armenian archbishop Samuel Stefonovitch that represents a person in full height on the death bed. It had been built 28 years before the owner actually needed it. They say that once the archbishop wasn’t feeling well, being already old enough he decided to order a gravestone for himself. But later he recovered and lived for many years so he had a chance to look at his own gravestone and take care of it before he had to use it. The other gravestone that also has different but very romantic and sad story, belongs to a polish artist Arthur Grotter, who was very popular in Poland in his times. When he was young he met a beautiful girl in Lvov, Vanda Monnet, soon he asked her to marry him. But his dream wasn’t meant to come true. Grotter died being very young, ne was only 30, in Pyrenees, far from his motherland. Vanda Monnet knew that he wanted to be buried on the Lichakov Cemetery so she sold all her jewelry and had just enough money to bring his body back home. The sculpture that crowns the grave is made by a friend sculptor Paris Philippi, who did it for free: a figure of a sad girl who has a falcon near her legs, a lyre with broken strings, and a broken easel. There are so many other beautiful and mysterious stories kept by these gravestones. One more important feature is a military memorial: Marsovoe Field – where the soldiers who died during World War I are buried; the Sechovukh Streltcov memorial – where the polish victims of People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs are buried (1918-1920).

In 1990 the Lichakov Cemetery got the status of historical and cultural national park. There are more than 3000 gravestones here most part of them is considered to be of historical and cultural value.

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