Olsany Cemetery is the biggest necropolis of the Prague and iconic places with its exceptional art nouveau monuments and artworks. Actually, Olsany Cemetery consists of a couple of different cemeteries. In times, each of these cemeteries extended and became one and the biggest cemetery in entire Prague city. Today, it became a very popular and iconic spot of Prague to visit or even for the daily walks between death and life. Within the borders of Olsany Cemetery, there are also Commonwealth War Graves and Jewish Cemetery. In addition to all this, there are many religious buildings, statues, sculptures and more.
Olsany Cemetery and Prag Plague in 1679
History of the Olsany district and the cemetery dates back a couple of centuries ago. Originally there was an old settlement over the area of the cemetery, Olsany. In 1679, there was a big plague around the Plague which causes much death around Prague. Officials were looking for a place to bury the victims and they decided to do it in Olsany. History of Olsany Cemetery basically begins with an unfortunate disaster.
In 1787, once more a plague hit the Prague. In order to bury the victims as fast as possible and to contain the plague, Emperor Joseph II banned the burial of victims inside the city centre. As a result of this act, Olsany Cemetery declared as the central cemetery of the city for hygiene concerns. Some of the chapels like St. Roch, St. Sebastian and St. Rosalia built as protection against the plague. Each of them has very unique architectural details and styles worth to see. As you can see from the picture below, the official was using the subdivision system with Roman numerics to use the Olsany Cemetery in a more efficient way.
A Necropolis with 12 Cemeteries
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Olsany Cemetery is a big necropolis consist of multiple cemeteries. In total there are 12 cemeteries including Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, and military burial grounds. The Jewish section of the cemetery is the biggest one in Prague, bigger than the Old Jewish Cemetery in the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). For the military burial grounds there are fallen soldiers from different countries and times; Russian soldiers from Napoleonic Wars, Czech soldier and pilots from Eastern and Western lines in North Africa during the World War II, members of commonwealths. Each of these section of the biggest necropolis of Prague worth to see to witness the history in a very different way. Graves belongs to the other countries soldier are under the protection of the Czech government based on the agreements between countries.
Also, there are two ceremonial areas currently active to be used during the burial. One of them is located at Prague’s first crematorium. However, there is Olsany Cemeteries learning Trail to move through the time inside the cemetery by visiting the oldest sections to the newest ones while stopping at the important figures graves. If you ever join the Olsany Cemeteries learning Trail please don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences on the comment section. In total, more than 230.000 people buried inside the borders of Olsany Cemetery over 65.000 graves. As you know, after a while a new person can be buried at the same grave, especially during backdate. However, you can visit one of the 200 chapel graves and 6 columbariums inside the cemetery.
Where is Olsany Cemetery?
Olsany is a bit far from the Old Town Square and New Center of Prague. If you want to visit in the same both Prague Castle and Olsany it might not be possible due to the distance between them. If we take the Clementinum and the Charles Bridge in the centre of Prague, Olsany Cemetery is around 5 km away from them. Walk to the cemetery from the centre will take around 60 minutes through this route. If you like to walk to the long distance it would be a fine walk fro you. But, especially in the summer, it can be tiring for you. So, check below to find your public transport options to go to the Olsany Cemetery from Prague city centre.
- Flora and Želivského metro stations: Line A (Green Line)
- Olšanská tram station: Lines 1, 9, 26, 91 and 95
- Olšanské hřbitovy tram station: Lines 1, 5, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 25, 91, 92 and 98
How to Visit Olsany Cemetery?
Just go and enter one of the entrances. You don’t need a ticket or anything else to visit the cemetery or any building inside of it. But based on my experience it might take a full day to see every corner of the cemetery because it is bigger than 50 hectares with so many details to feel. The main entrance of the cemetery is next to the Olšanské hřbitovy tram station on the Vinohradska avenue. Also, it is located very between the Flora and Želivského metro stations. Of course, there are other entrances to the cemetery from multiple points but using the main entrance is the best way to start to tour. You can use the widget below to find the best-guided tours with English and a couple of other languages and other attractions to join.
Olsany Cemetery Facts
- Biggest necropolis of Prague
- Biggest Jewish cemetery of Prague
- 230.000 people buried over 65.000 graves
- 200 chapels and 6 columbariums
- Part of the Bad Company movie filmed
If you ever visited Olsany Cemetery please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions on the comment section to help the others. Also, feel free to ask your question.