The „Towards the Sun” Central Cemetery in Szczecin is the largest cemetery in Poland, ranks third in Europe in terms of area, and is among the largest in the world. It was set up in 1899-1900. It has an area of 16.7 hectares, and is the resting place of almost 300,000 people.
The cemetery project was developed by the architect Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau to include a monumental gate and a Romanesque Revival chapel. The city purchased the area between the Berlin road (near the „Towards the Sun” Cemetery) and the Pasewalska road (near Mieszko I St.). Originally, it covered 64 hectares. Following its enlargement in 1919, the area grew to 153 hectares. 1900 saw the commencement of the work on the avenues and the laying-out of the cemetery. In 1901, the cemetery was officially opened.
From the start, emphasis was placed on the artistic qualities of the gravestones. The deceased were first buried within a free cemetery section and in the eastern part at the Dworska St., which currently serves as the cemetery section for the Pioneers of the City of Szczecin. It was then that the name Central Cemetery came into use and became established. Near the second gate, a military cemetery was incorporated into its area. In 1967, the military sections were thoroughly renovated and a monument of massive proportions was set up. 1994 saw the Orthodox Church cross being placed near the tombs of the Russians.
The first person to be responsible for managing the cemetery was Georg Hannig. During his incumbency, the cemetery regulations prescribed that the gravestones be „censored”, and specified their dimensions, as well as acceptable materials. Polished marble and granite were prohibited, the preferable materials being limestone and sandstones. The rules were consequently adhered to, and it paid off, as the cemetery became something the city could be proud of.
Within the area of the „Towards the Sun” Central Cemetery, there are two tourist routes: a walking route (1 hour) and a pedestrian route (1.5 h).
The walking route of the Central Cemetery features:
a) the gravestone of Otto Freybe, a famous butcher and producer of smoked meats,
b) a monument dedicated to the soldiers of the German 357th Infantry Regiment,
c) the stele of the deceased Joanna and Harmann Hakkens. Harmann Hakkens was at one time the Burgomaster for the city. It was on his initiative that, among other things, the Chrobry Embankment, the system and arrangement of Szczecin’s roundabouts, as well as the lay-out of its districts (including Pomorzany, Turzyn and Niebuszewo), were established,
d) a cemetery section dedicated to worthy and honourable people, including 104 deceased prominent activists, sea captains, professors, university chancellors and columnists,
e) the gravestone of Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau, an architect credited with designing the cemetery and the town hall building (which is currently home to the Chancellor’s Office of the Pomeranian Medical University), as well as Secondary School No. 1,
f) the Cemetery Chapel, built in 1900-1902,
g) a boulder „Dedicated to the Memory of the Deceased People of Szczecin”,
h) the Military Section of the Cemetery, accommodating 3379 Polish and Soviet soldiers who perished in the course of the battles for the liberation of Szczecin),
i) a monument dedicated to „Those who perished while at sea”,
j) the Katyń Cross,
k) a monument dedicated to the Sybiraks (Poles who have been imprisoned or exiled to Siberia in the 1940s),
l) a plaque dedicated to those who perished in the Taiga, in Siberia and in the Gulags of northern Russia and the Kazakh Steppes,
ł) a gravestone of Herman Kissling’s family.
The Central Cemetery in Szczecin is mostly a green space, and the wild-life inhabiting the cemetery area are not afraid of humans. Clusters of old trees, damp stream valleys and small water basins with swampy and weedy shores make up a mosaic of habitats tailor-made for animals. The Central Cemetery in Szczecin is home to the following animal species: foxes, raccoon dogs, squirrels, badgers, hares, hedgehogs, wild boars, frogs, pheasants, wood pigeons and grass snakes.
The „Towards the Sun” Central Cemetery in Szczecin (Public Utilities Department in Szczecin)
Ku Słońcu Street 125a
tel. +48 91 / 48 56 866
fax. +48 91 / 48 48 055