You had me at Krematorium
- You had me at Krematorium
- How we ended up here
- Loućka vsypu
- We wandered
- I researched
- The Ceremony Hall
Visiting a cemetery is a look into the past of a culture. A friend of mine says you can tell a lot about a culture by how they treat their dead. We almost always visit a local cemetery. It may sound creepy, but I am not talking about a new cemetery, I am talking about cemeteries that have existed for centuries.
How we ended up here
We were heading to Zličín, in western Prague because we had never been there, and that was the first tram that showed up. We would have been equally happy to go to Modřany in the southern area of Prague. Just the luck of the draw. On the trams in Prague, there is a monitor that lets you know where the next couple of stops are. I looked up, and I saw Krematorium Motol pop up on the display, and I told my wife to take a look. I’m like let’s go, and she was all in, and the next thing we know, we are off the tram heading towards the Krematorium.
I initially thought, what are we doing here in the middle of nowhere in Prague, walking up to a tree with large shelf mushrooms on them. We weren’t even sure the place was open, since the gates looked closed, but as we got closer, we noticed that it was just the vehicle gate. We walked in and noticed a fence with all sorts of flowers and mementos all over it. On the other side of the fence is a grassy area, about 50’ by 50′, lined by shrubs and a stone at the far end that says, “Loućka vsypu” or literally “I pour meadow” which is a scattering place for ashes.
We wandered around for a while, and it was like any other cemetery we had ever visited, except everything was just smaller. The graves had ornate headstones and were well maintained; it was like a sculpture park, so interesting.
We saw a building across the road with a pond in front. I am trying to read the various signs to understand what this is. There are groups of flowers randomly scattered around the pond, and we also notice the stones embedded in the ground. The only thing I really know about this place is that it was built in the 50s and 60s at the height of communism in the former Czechoslovakia, and there were all sorts of words I did not understand.
After some later research, I found out that there are four options:
- Scattering in the little field near the front gate, the least expensive.
- Scattering around the pond or burying (directly or in an urn) in the area around the pond.
- Interned in small mausoleum-like structures.
- Or interned in a private/family plot. Most expensive.
The Ceremony Hall
I think the thing that threw me for the biggest loop was the Krematorium ceremony hall. Looking inside, it almost looks like a movie set, kind of a futuristic Soylent Green place. Even more so when I found out that at the end of the ceremony, the silver doors open, and the coffin moves on a conveyor belt to the other room. I am almost certain that the doors do not open directly into the oven because that would be super creepy.
Less weird is that the ornate windows with apparently silhouettes of people in mourning, in front can be opened to allow for more guests or to accommodate any other last requests with a pretty view of the pond.