Graveyard, St. Petersburg, Russia (2016)

Normally I’m more drawn to the industrial ruins of our own era, but I won’t say no to an abandoned old graveyard, if such happens to come along. That was the case with this place.


The story of the forlorn cemetery near the central St. Petersburg is common enough. It served as a graveyard of a monastery at the imperial Russia. Then came the revolution and the closures of churches by the Soviet Union. “Modern” cemetery was opened on the area and the old, “tsarist” graveyard was left to rot. Many graves were robbed and during the decades they were gnawed to ruins by elements and vandals. It was many years after the collapse of the Soviet Union when there was enough time and money to get the cemetery working again. It is still full of broken, shattered & rusty nameless graves that belong to nobody.


Apart from typical headstones and crosses, there were some big vault-like mausoleums in the area.


Some were quite lofty in the early morning light that dribbled through the clouds to the cemetery.

Palace of the Dead

Their roofs and windows were shattered & rotten, and no-one had maintained them for years.


Stone of the tombs had crumbled with age, and the gates of the graves were rusty and open.


Inside they were empty except of faded paintings and occasional items like a framework of a wreath.

Flowers Grave.jpg

Most of the graves had crypts underneath. They had also collapsed and were empty apart from the trash.


Some tombs still had fixtures and even small items left, like this altar construction with images.


The abandoned cemetery was profoundly sad place. I did’t want to dishonor the graves, so I didn’t step inside the mausoleums, just photographed them from the door. But they had already been dishonored, many, many times, and no-one was taking responsibility for that.




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