The Calmest Graveyard in Bratislava

16/05/2013 14:03

If you live in Bratislava and fancy reading, writing, or generally hanging out in nature, you are undoubtedly a park regular. Everyone knows the Medická záhrada, Hviezdko, or the riverbank behind Eurovea. We are all familiar with the park below the castle and we frequent Sad Janka Kráľa every summer. But have you ever thought of going to a graveyard instead? It may sound strange at first, but ask yourself: why the hell not?


Personally, as a literature student and an aspiring writer (or at least a scribbler), I’ve tried almost all Bratislava’s parks. All coffee house staff know me and always bring me a) ginger lemonade or b) Earl Grey without even asking. I am a curious person however, and with summer around the corner I decided to enrich my repertoire of parks and other places to read and write. The conditions remain the same: the place has to be quiet, calm, unpopulated, and green. Graveyards meet all of these. So why not try some of them?


I know most of Bratislava’s graveyards and I haven’t really been touched by any one of them so far (not mentioning the fact that most of them are far from the city center, which is where I need them). Today, however, I visited one of the oldest graveyards in the city: the Kozia brána graveyard. It’s a small, quiet graveyard at Palisády known only to few. And I’m writing this because I want YOU to be one of them.


I used to spend a lot of time within the walls of this graveyard. That was a long time ago though, and I don’t remember much of it. And so I decided to refresh these vague memories. After all, I have some family connections to this graveyard – not only did my grandma live on Kozia ulica, but my great-grandfather manufactured many of the headstones that still stand there.


I can honestly say that I was blown away. The graveyard is exactly as calm and beautiful as I have, although only barely, preserved it in my memories. It’s all green and you don’t feel like walking along any pathways. The graves are loosely spread over a knoll covered with trees, grass and bushes. History breathes from the graves and the whole graveyard has a very antique and cozy atmosphere. There are also some famous people buried there – Ivan Horváth, Janko Jesenský and Martin Rázus, to name a few. (All of them literary figures, which I am likely to spot first)


I felt extremely comfortable and relaxed there. Considering the time of my visit (noon), there was not a single person present. Kozia brána graveyard is simply an oasis you should definitely visit someday. It’s open ‘till eight o’clock and it’s situated almost in the city center – at the intersection of the streets Kozia/Šulekova, and Palisády. With two minutes walking distance from Zochova or Hodžovo námestie, it’s really accessible.


There’s not much else to say. Maybe just that you should keep your eyes open and think about trying new places from time to time. I’ve done it today, and it’s already clear that I’ve found my new favorite place to think, read – and write, of course!


Do you have such a place, where you return to read or write? A park, or even a graveyard? Share with us in the comments!


Oliver Meres




Photo by courtesy of Oliver Meres