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Odessa's Main Cemetery

Interesting Site

Lustdorfskaya Doroga 6 (Люстдорфская дорога)
Tel: 65-60-58

This huge cemetery, bigger than most Odessa parks, has the most interesting statues, sculptures, and art work in the entire city. Being the most prestigious and expensive cemetery in Odessa, many of these gravestones are ornate.

Ukrainian Graveyards are incredibly different from Western cemeteries. Contemporary western cemeteries tend to be well kept, with perfectly cut grass, few trees, a sense of strict organization, and are quite boring. In sharp contrast, many Ukrainian cemeteries are disorganized, chaotic jungles. Plots are fenced off with waist high, often ornate enclosure.
Instead of a central body in charge of the upkeep of the cemetery plots, each family who owns a plot is responsible for its maintenance.

Many of the older plots are in complete disrepair, tall weeds and trees have grown over the gravesite, and decayed flowers and trash litter the plot. There are many overgrown, winding paths among these gravestones, often ending in a dead-end. Based on the maintenance of the graves, a visitor gets a sense with each gravesite whether the deceased loved ones are still, and if they are, whether they take the time to visit and maintain the site.

Cemetery entrance

At the main entrance the plaque reads:

At this cemetery the remains of
victims ofStalin-led repressions
lie, people ofvarious nationalities,
non-party membersand communists,
tortured and killed in1930-1940.
May memory of innocent
victims of tyranny live forever.

In the center of this chaos is a large blue pastel Orthodox church

A long row of soldiers who perished in World War Two is guarded
by a golden memorial statue.

The famous eye surgeon Filatov is buried on the north west corner of the chapel.

Ukrainians have interesting traditions of mourning the dead. Including covering the mirrors during the wake. Up to forty days after the funeral there are several prescribed dates with special customs.

Many of these plots have benches and small picnic tables. On the Sunday after Easter Memorial Day / Raditelsky Den (parents/ родительский День), people return to the gravesite with food and vodka. They eat, drink, and reminisce among their dead loved ones.