27 October 2010

Urban Graveyard

During a stroll through Berlin, we found ourselves trapped in this amazing cemetery. We walked in thinking it was a park - and it took us a while to find a door back out to the street. It's called the St.-Marien and St.-Nikolai-Friedhof, because it is the church graveyard for the congregations of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, obviously.
The interesting thing about it was the vegetation and the general state of neglect. Trees and brush were growing all through it, a number of gravestones had fallen over or were broken and the paths were almost impossible to follow in some places. The walls around the place were crumbling and a number of the mausoleums looked like they were about to cave in.
This is a stack of gravestones, so apparently somebody has cleaned up a little. The reason apparently, that it's in such a bad state: the graves were mostly destroyed during the war. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that.
According to German wikipedia, the headquarters of the Nazi Youth was located next door, and during the bombardments the defending Nazi troops barricaded themselves behind the gravestones. I'm a little confused about how they did that, but it's on de.wikipedia.org, so it must be true. At least in Germany.
It was a very pretty walk, actually, with almost nobody else around. The graves that were standing were quite pretty, and all the vegetation actually enhanced the place. It was peaceful, at least.
Walking back to the hostel, we passed another graveyard, of sorts.

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