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When visiting other cities, I most often visit Jewish cemeteries, and less often Catholic ones (especially active ones). This time I decided to make an exception and visit the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow – the largest necropolis in this city.
Location and access
The cemetery is located at Rakowicka street, but you can also enter from Aley of 29 Listopada. There is a tram terminus at the main entrance (Rakowicka street) (Bus Stop Cmentarz Rakowicki) and several parking spaces. If you want to go by public transport, look for tram number 2.
History of the Rakowicki Cemetery
The cemetery was established in 1802 when burials in church cemeteries were forbidden (the same was the case in Kielce with the Old Cemetery).
The area was bought from the Carmelite order, and the first burial (January 1803) was Apolonia Lubowieckie Bursikowa, who died on January 15, 1803. The name of the cemetery does not come from Rakowicka Street, but from the nearby village of Rakowice.
Over the years, the cemetery was enlarged several times, and in 1976 it was entered into the Register of Monuments of the City of Krakow. Currently, it covers over 40 hectares with over 70,000 tombstones.
The military one is a separate part of the cemetery, but I will visit it next time. In this part, in addition to military graves, there are, among others tomb of Pope John Paul II’s parents.
It is interesting that at the Rakowicki Cemetery you will often find non-Polish names on the tombstones, which proves the great importance of Krakow and the diversity of its townspeople.
The cemetery is open to visitors during the following hours:
- April – September: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- October – March: 7.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Plan of Rakowicki Cemetery
The plan of the cemetery is available on the website of the Department of Communal Cemeteries in Krakow. On this page, you will also find a grave locator that will help you find the tombstone you are interested in. (plan)
Among the many outstanding residents and supporters of Krakow, we managed to visit a few whose names are well known to many Poles.
Wisława Szymborska – our Polish Nobel Prize winner in the field of literature. She died in 2012, and her grave is located in GD, row 10, grave number 10.
Zbigniew Wodecki – singer, musician and composer. He was famous for the songs “Start from Bach”, Chałupy welcome to “or a song to the fairy tale Maya the Bee. He died in 2017, and you will find his grave in the LXXV headquarters.
Jan Matejko – painter, creator of battle and historical paintings. Known, among others from the paintings of Rejtan, Stańczyk or the Prussian Homage. He died in 1893 and his grave is located on the main avenue of the cemetery.
Wojciech Kossak – battle and historical painter. Known for his love of painting horses. It is his authorship of the painting Józef Piłsudski in Kasztanka. He died in 1942, and you will find his grave on Aleja Główna (quarter XIIb north).
Marek Grechuta – singer, poet, composer. Although he has recorded a dozen or so albums, the song “Days, which we do not know yet” is most associated with him. He died in 2006 and his grave is located on the Avenue of the Meritorious.
These are just a few of the many famous people buried in the cemetery, but probably enough to encourage you to walk!