Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 4 - Hallstatt

The graveyard is a place I returned to at least 5 times. I don't know if "cute" is an appropriate word to describe a graveyard, but that's what it was. Here, death has nothing frightening, somber or even solemn. It's as much part of life as the dead are still part of the community.

And the dead are visited daily. Never have I seen such nicely tended graves, such care for detail, such sweetness.
Maybe I felt so at home there due to the atmosphere of gothic elegance that I always relate to. I don't even know if it was intentionally created or it is just the natural feel of the place, but I loved it nonetheless.
Speaking of gothic, it gets better! Since Hallstatt in general suffers from a chronic shortage of space, the graveyard can't be extended, so the graves get recycled. Every 10-15 years the skeletons are dug up, cleaned and placed here, in the so-called Bonehouse:
The bones' identity is preserved with beautiful painting and calligraphy, and the result is this:
The lady with the golden tooth is the latest addition to the Bonehouse; she was deposited there in 1994.
For some reason I connected with Elizabeth Denglerinn here. I spent some time with her, imagining her life. I wish I knew who she really was.
The crosses either get reused, with a new name plaque covering the old one, or get put away. Until someone else wants them, I guess.
Even without the flowers and the birds, you can't help wondering what's so terrible about death if it means having to spend an eternity facing this:
We Romanians like to talk about our deep and traditional understanding of death as part of a cycle. But here it is put into practice, quietly and modestly. I can't imagine a better place to go if you want to feel complete and utter peace. Both alive and dead :)

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

A fost o excursie minunata. Si noi am trecut pe la Hallstatt acum doi ani. Intr-adevar este un peisaj care te lasa fara suflare...mi-a placut cimitirul cu atmosfera lui gothica, si tot reportajultau foarte frumos.