Warsaw: Powązki Cemetery

Warsaw: Powązki Cemetery Warsaw: Powązki Cemetery

Powązki is the oldest and most beautiful cemetery in Warsaw. Founded in 1790 next to the Church of St Charles Borromeo, it became the place of rest for many eminent Poles. Sources relate that Chopin also wished to be buried at Powązki, but he had a foreboding that, for political reasons, his wish would not be fulfilled.

Among the graves at Powązki Cemetery are those of the family, teachers and friends of Fryderyk Chopin. The ashes of his parents, Justyna, née Krzyżanowska (1782-1861), and Mikołaj Chopin (1771-1844), which until 1948 lay in the catacombs, are now located in plot 9-IV-1, next to the grave of Stanisław Moniuszko. 

The first member of the Chopin family to be buried in Powązki was the composer's youngest sister, Emilka (1812-1827), who died of tuberculosis aged fourteen, a few years before Chopin's departure from Poland. The Chopins' eldest daughter, Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa (1807-1855), was buried in the Jędrzejewicz family tomb, to which Emilka's remains were also transferred from their previous resting place. The Jędrzejewicz family tomb is situated in plot 175-II-6/7. Izabela Barcińska, née Chopin (1811-1881), lies with her husband, Antoni Feliks Barciński (1803-1878), in the Barciński family tomb at II-II-9/10.

Buried in plot no. 159-V-1 is Chopin's teacher, Józef Elsner (1769-1854), vice-chancellor and professor of Warsaw Conservatory, composer and conductor. His grave is adorned with a statue of a Weeping Muse, made in 1855 by Wojciech Świecki to a design by Ignacy Gierdziejewski. Chopin's first teacher, Wojciech Żywny (1756-1842), lies in plot no. 12-II-20.

In a corner tomb, situated on the extension of the catacomb avenue, in plot no. 173-VI, is the grave of Count Fryderyk Skarbek (1792-1866), professor of political economics and administrative sciences of Warsaw University, historian and social activist, pupil of Mikołaj Chopin, with whom the Chopin family long maintained very close contacts.

Powązki is also the last resting place of admirers, popularisers and outstanding performers of Chopin's music. They include Jerzy Żurawlew (1887-1980; 1-I-4), Zbigniew Drzewiecki (1890-1971; 73-III-2), Mateusz Gliński (1892-1976; catacombs opposite 12-IV) and Władysław Kadra (1918-1968; Avenue of the Meritorious [Aleja Zasłużonych] 250/105).


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