The oldest cemetery in Moscow: photo, name, location, history

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The oldest cemetery in Moscow: photo, name, location, history
The oldest cemetery in Moscow: photo, name, location, history

Whether we like it or not, the cemetery occupies a significant place in our lives. A person may never visit a theater, a library or a museum in his life. However, everyone visits the cemetery at least once. There are several such necropolises in the capital, including ancient ones. Both ordinary people and various celebrities can be buried here. The oldest cemeteries in Moscow can be located either within its borders or outside the Moscow Ring Road.


Moscow, as you know, was founded in 1147. But even before that, an ancient tribe of Slavs-Vyatichi lived on these lands. Such communities were stubborn for a long time, not wanting to accept Christianity. The Vyatichi buried their dead for a long time according to ancient pagan traditions. One of the most common types of burials of the Vyatichi were barrows.

Vyatichi burial mounds
Vyatichi burial mounds

Representatives of this pagan tribe previously put the deceased in a burial pit. Then the deceased was covered with earth in such a way that a small hill formed above him. The deceased Vyatichi were sent on their last journey with gifts from relatives and various kinds of objects.everyday life.

Most of these ancient pagan burial mounds in the capital are located on the right bank of the Moskva River. The most significant burial of the Vyatichi is located on the Setun River.

The oldest cemeteries in Moscow: ancient churchyards

In Moscow, the very first graveyards began to form, of course, next to the churches. Subsequently, if the temple was destroyed or moved for any reason, the cemetery usually gradually fell into disrepair. In ancient times, there were simply a huge number of such spontaneous, abandoned graveyards in Moscow. Peter I tried to fix such a mess. However, the reformer tsar died without having time to issue a decree that would streamline the formation of necropolises.

The first official legalized city cemeteries in Moscow appeared only in the time of Elizabeth. At first, the decree issued by the Empress on the need to obtain permission for burials and the ban on church cemeteries was received by many citizens with hostility. Later, for some time, Muscovites continued to bury their relatives in parish graveyards.

However, starting from 1771, the city's official cemeteries in the capital still occupied a dominant position. That year, as you know, a terrible plague epidemic broke out in Moscow. And it became simply unsafe to bury the dead within the city - next to the temples. This could help spread the infection. People who died from the plague began to be buried outside Moscow, in special "plague" cemeteries.

Finds of scientists

The churchyard, which at the moment, perhaps, can be considered the oldest in the capital, wasfound by archaeologists right under the walls of the Kremlin. According to scientists, in this place in the XIV century. Muscovites buried the victims of the raid of Khan Tokhtamysh.

Another ancient churchyard in the capital is the necropolis near the Manege. Where Manezhnaya Square is located in Moscow today, in the 14th century there was a settlement and a cemetery. In the 16th century, Ivan the Terrible built the Moiseevsky Monastery in this place, under which the necropolis was located.

Tombstones of the Donskoy Monastery
Tombstones of the Donskoy Monastery

Also, the graveyard of the Danilovsky Monastery can certainly be attributed to the oldest cemeteries in Moscow. The earliest references to this cemetery date back to the 13th century. In 1303, the first Moscow prince Daniil Alexandrovich was buried in this, now defunct necropolis.

Destroyed and surviving graveyards

Answering the question of which cemetery in Moscow is the oldest is definitely quite difficult. In the capital there are currently many active ancient churchyards. Destroyed at different times by historians, several are also known.

In any case, Lazarevsky once became the first city churchyard of the capital. Following him, the Semyonovskoye cemetery was founded. Both of these necropolises no longer exist at the moment. Mostly only some churchyards founded under Catherine or in later times have survived to this day. For example, very old cemeteries in Moscow are Novodevichy, Kuzminskoye, located in Staraya Kupavna, Donskoy.

Novodevichy Cemetery

This necropolis in the capital was founded in 1525. It is he who at the moment can be considered the oldest cemetery in Moscow (acting). Initially, this churchyard was intended to calm the nuns of the Novodevichy Convent. Quite often, women of the royal family were also buried in this churchyard. For example, the daughters of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, Evdoky Lopukhin, Tsarina Sophia, Evdokia and Ekaterina Miloslavsky found their last refuge on the Novodevichy churchyard.

Later, secular people began to be buried in this churchyard, including musicians, rich merchants, writers, scientists, etc. In particular, the graves of such famous personalities as Denis Davydov, historian Pogodin are still preserved at the Novodevichy cemetery, Muravyov-Apostol, Prince Trubetskoy, General Brusilov, etc.

The Novodevichy necropolis in the past became so popular with the nobility that by the end of the 19th century there was practically no place left for burials. Therefore, in 1898, it was decided to allocate additional space to the cemetery. Work on the construction of the walls of the new necropolis, the size of which amounted to 2 hectares, was then carried out under the guidance of the famous architect and professor I. P. Mashkov.

Officially, the new Novodevichy Cemetery was opened in 1904. Nowadays, of course, it is already called "old".

Subsequently, the Novodevichy Cemetery was expanded twice more - in 1949 and in 1970. Thus, at the moment, this entire ancient necropolis consists of 4 sections formed at different times. The total area of the Novodevichy cemetery is 7.5 hectares. Since 1922, this necropolis has been a protected monument.state. The churchyard has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the oldest cemetery in Moscow in the photo below is presented to the attention of the reader. As you can see, the monuments erected here are often really impressive.

Cemeteries of Moscow
Cemeteries of Moscow

Kuzminsky churchyard

This one of the oldest cemeteries in Moscow is located in the South-Eastern administrative district in Kuzminki. Compared to the Novodevichy cemetery, this is simply huge. Its total area is 60 hectares.

This necropolis got its name from the village of Kuzminki. This ancient settlement at the beginning of the 18th century was granted by Peter I for special merits to Grigory Stroganov. Subsequently, the new owner built a large estate in Kuzminki, where separate chambers were set aside for the king.

After the death of Stroganov in 1715, his widow began to build a wooden church of the Blachernae Icon of the Mother of God next to the estate. This small temple was completed and consecrated in 1720. At the same time, the village of Kuzminki was renamed Blachernae. In 1753, the estate passed into the possession of the Golitsyn princes as a bride's dowry. Subsequently, it was to these nobles that the village belonged until the revolution.

Kuzminskoye cemetery
Kuzminskoye cemetery

In the middle of the XVIII century in Kuzminki, instead of the old wooden church, a new stone large church was built. The architect of this building was I. P. Zherebtsov. Also at the end of the 18th century, the temple was rebuilt by R. R. Kazakov.

Almost all the time that the temple operated in Kuzminki, there washere, of course, and the churchyard. Some history buffs are also interested in where the old Kuzminskoe cemetery in Moscow is located. Initially, this necropolis was located in the area of the current Kuzminsky forest park. In this place, at the moment, even several ancient graves have been preserved. This first necropolis was removed from the forest park in the 70s of the last century.

New churchyard

The remains of this one of the oldest cemeteries in Moscow, it was decided to transfer to the new Kuzminsky churchyard. The latter was formed in 1956. At the moment, this necropolis consists of two parts: Central and Muslim. At the Kuzminsky cemetery, as well as at many other large graveyards in Moscow, there are, of course, remarkable burials. For example, it was here that the sailors of the K-19 submarine found their last shelter.

Old cemetery in Moscow in Staraya Kupavna

This ancient necropolis is located 22 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road, 1 km from the Gorky Highway. The cemetery is located on a plot of mixed forest, outside the city of Staraya Kupavna. It is believed that for the first time people were buried in this necropolis in the 17th century. At that time, the village of Demidova Kupavna was located in this area. In this settlement, among other things, there was also a wooden church, next to which there was a churchyard.

In 1751, the owner of the Kupavna silk factory, D. A. Zemskoy, built a stone Holy Trinity Church in the village. In the 19th century, honorary residents of the village, as well as clergy, began to be buried outside the fence of this church. On the north side of the settlement, there was anothera cemetery that today is called "old".

In the 30s of the last century, the Holy Trinity Church ceased to exist. Many monuments from his yard were then transported to the old cemetery. Some of the tombstones, unfortunately, were used to build houses for workers.

Cemetery in Staraya Kupavna
Cemetery in Staraya Kupavna

Don Necropolis

This is also one of the oldest cemeteries in Moscow. In the photo below you can see what this ancient necropolis looks like today. The Donskoye cemetery was founded almost as long ago as Novodevichy. The burial of the dead began here in 1591 at the Donskoy Monastery. At the moment, this necropolis is located in the southern administrative district of the capital. Muscovites call this churchyard "old", because there is also a New Donskoy cemetery in this area. The new necropolis arose somewhat later than the old one and is currently a branch of the Novodevichy cemetery.

Donskoy Monastery
Donskoy Monastery

Beautiful monuments

In the old cemetery, mainly clergy were originally buried. In the 19th century, the Donskoy churchyard became the burial place of the Moscow aristocracy. One of the features of this necropolis are very beautiful monuments. In the photo, the old Donskoy cemetery in Moscow, of course, looks simply impressively solemn. In this ancient necropolis you can see busts, steles and graces, which are real works of art.

Don Cemetery
Don Cemetery

Remarkable burials

In the new Donskoy necropolis such famous people are buried,like Faina Ranevskaya, Clara Rumyantseva, poet Boris Barkas. In the old Donskoy cemetery, you can see the graves of the Decembrists, heroes of the war of 1812, poets and writers of the 19th century, as well as the Georgian princes David, Matvey and Alexander.

Graveyards, where quarters are now located

Many old Moscow necropolises were destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, it was believed that the burials hindered the development of the city. Many cemeteries, including ancient ones, located in the area of residential areas, have been outlawed.

In total, 12 necropolises were destroyed in the capital in the 20th century. The most famous old cemetery in Moscow, built up with residential buildings, is, perhaps, Dorogomilovskoye. This necropolis was once located where the Taras Shevchenko embankment now passes, from the Bagration bridge to the 12 houses of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. This ancient churchyard was founded in 1771 and was one of the "plague". When the cemetery was disbanded, the ashes of the dead were transferred to the Vagankovsky necropolis.

Destroyed cemeteries
Destroyed cemeteries

Filovskoye, Mazilovskoye, Bratskoye, Lazarevskoye and many others are also quite famous destroyed ancient cemeteries of the capital. At the moment, on the site of these ancient necropolises, there are either city blocks or parks.