July 11, 2014

 

Mountain Cemetery Heidelberg

 

My cat Lucky died yesterday. Therefore I was in a quite sad and melancholic mood today. And so I decided that this would be the perfect place to go.

The mountain cemetery was created in 1842 by the landscape gardener Johann Metzger. He set up the huge area of the cemetery to fit seamlessly into the surrounding nature so it looks more like a park. Due to its age most of the cemetary area is shaded by old trees that give it a very quiet and peaceful aura.

 

The cemetery was opened in 1844 and is still in use today.

A lot of famous people are buried at the mountain cemetery. To just name a few: the president of the German Reich Friedrich Ebert, the chemists Robert Bunsen and Carl Bosch, the poet Hilde Domin, and many more.

 

The crematory is made from yellow sandstone and overlooks part of the cemetery.

Naturally there are not a lot of people around - therefore the pathways are mostly empty. 

Close to the entrance I found this very impressive crypt. 

Most of the graves are very old - the majority are family plots. The sandstone that is used for many of them is a regional product. 

This amazingly detailed grave scene is located next to an old stone wall.

This seems to be the door to the Underworld for one family.

On some gravestones are epitaphs that are apparently meant to give comfort and hope to the bereaved.

This is probably the grave of a so-called butterfly child. This is a child that was stillborn and/or born way too early.

The grave of the former president of the German Reich, Friedrich Ebert.

In between there are some graves that are barely visible or recognizable anymore. 

As you can see a lot of the tombstones are elaborately carved and adorned with ornaments. 

 

This beautifully adorned marble column was standing next to a path.

These I found on a sarcophagus.

Others on various tombstones.

Roses seem to be the most favorite choice of ornament. So I thought it was only fitting to find a wilted rose in a small basin - and a fresh one decorating a grave.

A lot of the gravestones are adorned with coat of arms. 

Throughout the cemetery are statues - made from marble or sandstone - and each and every one of them is beautiful.

In case you get tired from walking there are seating accomodations along the way.

A part of the area is dedicated to a Jewish cemetery and a small synagogue.

 

I was wondering about the many small stones on top of the gravestones and found this explanation:

 

"The common custom to leave little stones or pebbles on Jewish head stones goes back to the ancient Jewish funeral practice, when the corps was lay to rest in burial caves. The particular section of the burial cave then in the majority of the cases was locked with a round roll able stone (thegolèl). In return to avoid the rolling away of the round golel, the stone was fixed with a smaller stone, called the dofèk (to knock) a word in modern Hebrew also means the pulse. To leave the stone today at a visit means to knock on the grave."

Strangely enough I saw a gravestone that had shells on top of it. Maybe a variation of the Jewish custom. 

Of course there are - due to the nature of this place - a lot of crosses - some with wonderfully carved ornaments.

Same goes for urns - be they made from sandstone, marble or metal.

There are also monuments that are dedicated to certain causes. 

 

One is an obelisk set up by the AIDS-Hilfe Heidelberg. The names on the stones are those of people who died from AIDS.

The other is a war memorial.

Amazingly enough even the spigots from which you can fill the watering cans are set into beautifully carved sandstone. This one is called the rose fountain.

On many of the graves are little angel figurines, mementos or lanterns. 

And once again I turned some of the pictures into black and white ones. And once again I love the difference this sometimes gives to the mood of them.