One of the walkways leading around the Kerepesi Cemetery.
Kerepesi Cemetery (Hungarian: Kerepesi úti temető or Kerepesi temető. Official name: Fiumei úti nemzeti sírkert, i.e. "Fiume Road National Graveyard") is the most famous cemetery in Budapest.
It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Hungary which has been almost completely preserved as an entity.
Founded in 1847, Kerepesi is located in outer Józsefváros, near Keleti pályaudvar (Eastern Railway Station), and can be reached via Budapest Metro line 2. It is the innermost cemetery of Budapest, although it still lies about 2 km from the downtown centre.
Kerepesi is one of the biggest National Pantheons in Europe and the biggest outdoor statue park with its area of about 56 hectares. It is sometimes referred to as the Pčre Lachaise of Budapest.
The cemetery's first burial took place some two years after its opening, in 1849. Since then numerous Hungarian notables (statesmen, writers, sculptors, architects, artists, composers, scientists, actors and actresses etc.) have been interred there, several of them in ornate tombs or mausoleums.
This was encouraged by the decision of the municipal authorities to declare Kerepesi a 'ground of honour' in 1885. The first notable burial was that of Mihály Vörösmarty in 1855.
In 1874, a special parcel was established for those who were denied a church funeral (those who committed suicide and those executed).
The cemetery is also famous for its Arcades, built between 1908–1911, recalling the style of Northern Italian cemeteries.
The artists' sector – in which each tomb contains a notable Hungarian representative of the arts – was created in 1929.
Until the 1940s, several tombs were removed to this cemetery from others in Budapest – for example, it is the fourth resting place of the poet Attila József.
The cemetery was declared closed for burials in 1952. This was partly because it had become damaged during World War II, and partly for political reasons, as the Communist government sought to play down the graves of those who had 'exploited the working class'. At one point it was intended to build a housing estate over the cemetery. Part of the grounds were in fact handed over to a nearby rubber factory and were destroyed in 1953.
In 1958, a Mausoleum for the Labour movement was created. During the Communist period (which lasted from 1948 till 1989 in Hungary) this was the only part of the cemetery highlighted or even mentioned by the authorities. After the fall of communism, Kerepesi was still considered by some as a Communist cemetery (for example a son of Béla Bartók forbade his father's ashes to be interred there).
The cemetery, with its extended parks among the graves and monuments, is today open to the public, but interments have ceased.
Taken 25th March 2006.
Landscape and travel