A cemetery seen in miniatures – my first steps in Iceland

I’ve always been very fond of cemeteries – they have a distinct charm. Calm and quiet, they’re perfect places to dwell upon history – that’s why I visit them wherever I go, trying to capture their unique feel. Each cemetery is different. Some are more like parks with neat alleyways, others remind us of The Secret Garden, while some are but ruins of a world long gone by. To me, they’re very special and their atmosphere is almost… movie-like.

I’ve had a chance to get to know Iceland’s oldest necropolis a little better, since I volunteered for conservation works. Being used to typical Polish graveyards, both me and my colleagues had no idea, how much work awaits us. Most of the cemetery has already seen some conservation works, and though the alleys are neat and clean, the rest of the area is quite wild and rugged. The old graves are all weed-ridden and you can barely decipher the names or dates on tombstones, since they’re covered in moss. Usually the tombstones are surrounded by a small fence of some kind. Armed in hoes (which in Cracow, contrary to other parts of Poland, are called kopaczka instead of motyka) and rakes, we declared war on vegetation – to bring the cemetery back to its’ former glory.

„I was a gardener at a cemetery” – that’s a great introduction to a book, rather than a photo album. But you know what Ancient Chinese used to say – „If you want to be happy for a day – get drunk. If you want to be happy for a year – get married. But if you want to be happy all your life – get a garden.” Is there a better place to be, when in search of inner harmony and tranquility? Perhaps, but I’ve chosen a cemetery. It’s been a while since that trip, I’m somewhere else now, still striving for inner harmony, nevertheless I’d like to show you something, that caught my attention back then – a whole microcosmos of tomb statues.

There’s a custom to place angels on children’s graves, a practice which is also popular in Poland. Although time took its’ toll, these statues are still beautiful. They seem very lifelike – reminding me of elves in a cemetery grove.

What surprised me more, where numerous birds, cats and other animals.

I found the garden gnomes quite amusing – fancy seeing them on graves. But then again, why not…

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