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a place set apart for the burial of the dead. The nature of the cemetery and the way in which it is maintained are determined by the burial rites of a particular people, religion, sect, or social group, as well as by the administrative and health standards established by the authorities.
Groups of graves dating from the time of primitive communal and early feudal societies are called burial grounds. The cemeteries of the classical world, ancient East, Mediterranean, and Black Sea region are usually called necropolises. In Russia rural cemeteries were called pogosty (churchyards). Burial places of prominent persons are sometimes called pantheons. In some instances the tombs and tombstones in cemeteries are of artistic value, and the inscriptions on them (epitaphs) may have historical significance.
In Russia cemeteries were often attached to monasteries and urban and rural churches. The dead were buried near every parish church, so that in Moscow by the end of the 17th century there were more than 300 burial places. The separate nemetskoe (“German”) cemetery existed for foreigners. The Arkhangel’skii Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin served as the burial vault of the Muscovite princes and the Russian tsars; the Russian emperors were entombed in the SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg; and the Russian Orthodox hierarchs were buried in the Uspenskii Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. In October 1723, Emperor Peter I promulgated a ukase prohibiting burial (excepting that of “noble persons”) within city limits, but it was generally ignored. In 1758 the first municipal cemetery in Moscow, the Lazarevskoe, was opened. On Mar. 24, 1771, during a plague epidemic, the Senate issued a ukase ordering that persons who died of the plague in Moscow be buried in special places outside the city and that all others be buried in monasteries and churches away from the center of the city. Later, by the ukase of Nov. 1, 1771, the Senate prohibited burial near churches in all cities and called for the creation of cemeteries beyond city limits. The epidemic of 1771 led to the appearance of new cemeteries in Moscow—the Preobrazhenskoe and Rogozhskoe— which became centers of the Old Believer religious communities. At the beginning of the 1770’s, municipal cemeteries were founded in Moscow, notably the Vagan’kovskoe, Danilovskoe, and Kalitnikovskoe. The cemeteries at the Andronikovskii, Danilovskii, and Donskoi monasteries and the Novodevichii Convent became the traditional burial places for the Moscow aristocracy. Gradually urban cemeteries acquired a planned layout.
In the 18th and 19th centuries military, naval, and prison cemeteries (such as the one within the Shlissel’burg Fortress and the “dissenter” [raskol’nich’e] cemetery within the walls of the Solovki Monastery) were established, as were cemeteries for victims of epidemics. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the growth of population and the expansion of cities, the number of cemeteries also increased. Many cemeteries that had been established on the outskirts of cities in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were now within city limits. Some old cemeteries were closed or moved. The close relations between state and church and the existence of an official religion, Orthodoxy, resulted in the differentiation of cemeteries along religious and national lines (Armenian, Jewish, Heterodox, Lutheran, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Tatar, and so forth).
Even in the prerevolutionary period a number of cemeteries in major Russian cities had become unique national historical monuments. Prominent sculptors who created tombstones and monuments include J. A. Houdon, F. G. Gordeev, M. I. Kozlovskii, I. P. Martos, and P. P. Trubetskoi. Among outstanding Soviet sculptors who have executed tombs and monuments are S. D. Merkurov, V. I. Mukhina, I. D. Shadr, and G. A. Iokubonis.
After the October Revolution of 1917 the Soviet government’s decrees on the separation of church and state and on religious freedom transformed cemeteries from religious institutions into civil and secular ones. Civil rites replaced religious ones. Soviet emblems, notably the five-pointed star and hammer and sickle, appeared on tombstones. Epitaphs ceased to be religious.
The growth of Soviet cities and their socialist reconstruction made it necessary to close or partially eliminate old cemeteries. New cemeteries were established in conformity with modern health and technical requirements. For example, current regulations in the USSR specify that cemeteries must be located at least 300 m from apartment and public buildings: The size of the area set aside for a cemetery is calculated on the basis of 1.2 hectares per 10,000 inhabitants. Cemeteries must have greenery covering at least 20 percent of the total area. The observance of health regulations ensures the normal decontamination and mineralization of the corpses and prevents cemeteries from becoming sources of epidemics or infectious disease.
Participants in military operations and revolutionary events were often buried in mass graves outside the cemetery, sometimes with special honors in the center of the city. This was the origin of such unique memorials as Marsovo Pole in Leningrad and Red Square in Moscow. After the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) memorials were erected in cemeteries where those who had died in military operations and during sieges were buried, for example, the Piskarevskoe Cemetery in Leningrad, the Park of Glory in Kaliningrad, and the Hill of Glory in L’vov.
In the 20th century cemeteries also came to be used as places for burying or preserving urns with ashes.
In the USSR the best-known cemeteries are the Novodevich’e Cemetery, the cemetery of the Donskoi Monastery, Vvedenskie Hills, Vagan’kovskoe Cemetery, and Preobrazhenskoe Cemetery in Moscow; the cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery (now the Museum of City Sculpture), Volkovo Cemetery (Literatorskie Mostki), and Smolianskoe Cemetery in Leningrad; the Baikovo Cemetery in Kiev; the Brāļu and Raiņis cemeteries in Riga; the Pantheon on Mtatsminda in Tbilisi; the Lychakovskoe Cemetery in L’vov; the Military Cemetery in Vilnius; and the Metsakalmistu (Forest Cemetery) in Tallinn.
Among the best-known foreign cemeteries are Highgate Cemetery in London, where K. Marx is buried; Père Lachaise in Paris; Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.; and the Campo Santo in Pisa and Genoa.
REFERENCESRozanov, N. P. O moskovskikh gorodskikh kladbishchakh. Moscow, 1868.
Ostroukhov, V. Moskovskoe Lazarevo Kladbishche. Moscow, 1893. Istoricheskaia spravka o peterburgskikh kladbishchakh. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Shamurin, Iu. “Moskovskie kladbishcha.” Moskva v ee proshlom i nastoiashchem, no. 8 [Moscow, 1911].
Shamurina, Z. I. “Velikie mogily.” Ibid., no. 10 [Moscow, 1911].
Sobolevskii, N. Skul’pturnyepamiatniki i monumenty v Moskve. Chapter 4. Memorialy i nadgrobiia. Moscow, 1947.
Tbilisskii panteon na Mtatsminda (Putevoditel’). Tbilisi, 1956.
Enakolopashvili, I. K. Didubiiskii panteon. Tbilisi, 1957.
Gerodnik, G. O Parkakh dobrykh vospominanii. Tallinn, 1970.
Beliavskii, M. T. “Pamiat’ nuzhna zhivym.” Istoriia SSSR, no. 3, 1972.
Grab und Friedhof der Gegenwart. Edited by S. Hirzel. Munich, 1927.
Auzelle, R. Derniers demeures. Paris .
V. I. KANATOV
What does it mean when you dream about a cemetery?
Finding oneself in a cemetery in a dream may indicate sadness or unresolved grief. Alternatively, it may simply represent one’s “dead” past.