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Olšany Cemetery in winter
|Number of graves||65,000|
Olšany Cemetery (Olšanské hřbitovy in Czech, Wolschan in German) is the largest graveyard in Prague, Czech Republic, once having as many as two million burials. The cemetery is particularly noted for its many remarkable art nouveau monuments.
The Olšany Cemetery was created in 1680 to accommodate plague victims who died en masse in Prague and needed to be buried quickly. In 1787, when the plague again struck the city, Emperor Joseph II banned the burial of bodies within Prague city limits and Olšany Cemetery was declared the central graveyard for hygiene purposes.
Olšany necropolis consists of twelve cemeteries. There are two ceremonial halls assigned to bid farewell to the deceased; the newer one is located in a building of the former of Prague's first crematoriums. New to the scene is the "Olšany Cemetery Learning Trail" which is so far mapping the history of three of the oldest sections and also sketches the life stories of some celebrities buried here. Prague's Olšany cemetery excels in its picturesque style and its tranquil nooks, surpassing even Malostranský cemetery and Slavín, and is the biggest necropolis in the Czech Republic.
Part of the movie Bad Company was filmed in Olšany Cemetery.
Many well-known people are buried at Olšany Cemetery, including:
Writers, artists, and actors
- Karel Havlíček Borovský (1821–1856), writer
- Viktor Dyk (1877–1931), writer and conservative politician
- Karel Jaromír Erben (1811–1870), writer
- Václav Kliment Klicpera (1792–1859), playwright
- Jaroslav Čermák (1831–1878), painter
- Josef Lada (1887–1957), artist and writer
- Viktor Oliva (1861–1928), artist
- Antonín Slavíček (1870–1910), painter
- Ladislav Stroupežnický (1850–1892), playwright
- Jiří Voskovec (1905–1981), actor and playwright
- Jan Werich (1905–1980), actor
- Rudolf Hrušínský (1920–1994), actor
- Karel Kramář (1860–1937), politician and first Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia (November 1918 – July 1919)
- Jan Syrový (1888–1970), general and Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia during the Munich Crisis (September–December 1938), as well as acting President following the resignation of Edvard Beneš
- Radola Gajda (1892–1948), military officer (and eventually general) with the Czechoslovak Legions in World War I and the Russian Civil War; later one of the founders of the fascist (yet anti-German) National Fascist Community and member of the Czechoslovakian Parliament
- Klement Gottwald (1896–1953), communist President of Czechoslovakia (1948–1953); his body was originally displayed in a mausoleum at the site of the Jan Žižka monument. In 1962 the body was cremated, the ashes returned to the Žižka Monument and placed in a sarcophagus. In 1990, Gottwald's ashes were moved to Olšany Cemetery, together with the ashes of about 20 other communist leaders which had also originally been placed in the Žižka Monument.
- Jan Palach (1948–1969), student who set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square in Prague as a protest against the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
- Pavel Roman (1943–1972), winner of four consecutive titles (1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965) in ice dancing at the World Figure Skating Championships with his sister Eva
- Marie vitochova Jindrichkjer and Jiri Vsetecka, Prague and Art Nouveau, translation by Denis Rath and Mark Prescott, Prague: V Raji, 1995.
- "New Town and Suburbs (Nove Mesto) – Prague Attractions". PlanetWare. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Beauty and Fame of Olšany Cemetery (Portal of Prague)". Praha.eu. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Beauty and Fame of Olšany Cemetery". Praha.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Radio Prague: Exhibition at Vitkov Memorial highlights the Klement Gottwald personality cult". 8 March 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
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