When is a cemetery also an official museum?

ANSWER: When it is Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine.

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Created in 1786 this is not just a beautifully landscaped park it is also an open air museum of beautiful sculptures and architecture.

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The earliest gravestones date back to the 17th century although there are few gravestones from that time currently in the cemetery. There was a decision made in the 19th century that they would crush any gravestones that had not been taken care of for more than 25 years; and the crushed stones were used to pave the cemetery alley’s.

You can trace the history of L’viv and Galacia by the names of those buried at the cemetery most of whom are outstanding politicians, scientists, writers, and artists from Polish, Ukrainian, German and Armenian tombstones.

Today you cannot be buried here unless you already have purchased a plot or you are a Ukrainian famous person.

This is “Sleeping Beauty” actress Regina MarkovskaIMG_20170609_092611.jpg

I was very surprised to see a large monument to 3 American servicemen, who helped to fight in the war alongside the Ukrainian military 1919 – 1920.

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Not far from this monument is an enormous military cemetery where Ukrainian and Polish children are brought by their schools to learn their history. “Lest they never forget.” (this photo is about 25% of the area).

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On the top of the hill there is another military cemetery dedicated to Polish soldiers who fought on Ukrainian soil.

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There are more than three hundred thousand graves at this cemetery and many of the tombstones are beautiful works of art.

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And some want their personality, or their ethnicity to show.

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in addition to the monuments you will encounter small chapels.

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NOTE: to my friend Lynn, and others who enjoy browsing cemeteries:

When visiting Lviv you can order a tour on the cemetery website at: http://www.lviv-lychakiv.ukrain.travel

Bring your camera, a bottle of water and comfortable walking shoes. Be prepared for 2-4 hours to walk the entire cemetery.

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