Perhaps it's a bit strange to visit a cemetery on a holiday, but after two days of busy Kiev, a day trip to Chernobyl and Pripyat, and lots of enthusiastic people who kept offering us vodka, s0y and I needed some silence. And this monumental cemetery gave us exactly what we needed, and more.
Just before we left for Ukraine, I got this email from my dad saying that the crematorium in Kiev should be architecturally interesting. As we sort of forgot in advance that Kiev also had much to see we took this tip to heart and decided on a Sunday morning to walk from our hostel to the cemetery.
The road up along the walls of the cemetery were impressive. Occasionally, we had the opportunity to take a look inside, and all we could see were graves and vegetation. It seemed as though the oldest part of the cemetery was almost forgotten, like the cute old little Lada lost on the side of the road.
The crematorium itself is a bizarre piece of communist futuristic architecture amidst the modern part of the cemetery. On a hill under the sun, lay graves that were groomed to perfection. What a contrast to the older part.
The oldest part of Baikove dates from 1833 and it shows. The entrance is a stately gate and some graves look like they have not been taken care of for over 100 years. Obelisks are broken off, gravestones completely overgrown with plants, and most grave stones are crooked. And how does anyone ever find their way?! There are hardly any paths, all graves are placed in a random order.
But appearances are deceiving. If we just walk on a little further through the maze of graves we also see orthodox women complete with headdresses weeding. Some tombs are decorated with flowers, with the next gated grave again hidden behind the cobwebs.
Perhaps a weird place to visit, but very nice.