To get to the Central Cemetery, take the tram No. 8 or 10, get off at the Cmentarz Centralny [the Central Cemetery] stop and You are in front of the main gate. You can also get to the cemetery from Mieszka I Street: take the bus no. 61, 62, 81 or 83, get off at the Mieszko I stop. You have to go back approx. 170 metres to the entrance gate.
The Central Cemetery in Szczecin is Poland's largest and the third largest necropolis in Europe. It was officially opened in 1901. The blueprint for building the cemetery was provided by Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau. This famous architect from Szczecin planned the eastern part of the cemetery main gate, administration buildings and a cemetery chapel. From its inception until 1928, Georg Hannig was the manager of the cemetery and he was the one who gave necropolis its final form. It was he who had influence on the rest of the necropolis, which was incorporated into the cemetery in 1919. But for Hannig, we would not have had the current selection of tree and shrub species that are located in 'the garden of the dead'.
The central cemetery consists of three parts - the eastern (the oldest), the western and the central ones. The oldest part has a regular terraced layout, where the chapel and the war burial plot are the most prominent. The paths in the eastern part of the cemetery have a circular layout. The western part of the necropolis has a lane layout, which is associated with the valleys of the three streams.
In 1925, the crematorium was added to the morgue. In the 1920s, Szczecin was one of the first cities that allowed cremation. The propagator of cremation and urn burials was Dr. Michaelis, who persuaded the manager Hannig into his idea. When Dr. Michaelis died in 1916, he was the first to be cremated. To this day, his urn has been stored in the Central Cemetery. You can find it on the hill east of the field of honour. In 1930, a second modernist chapel was build, and which was demolished in 1984. By the end of 1940, there had been more than 117,000 burials in the cemetery, the number increased considerably during World War II. After the war and the takeover of the city, the Poles were initially buried on available fields, and then in the old graves that had been cleared.
While designing the Central Cemetery, Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau tried to create a garden of the dead. The necropolis was supposed to resemble a park as much as possible. A large part of the cemetery was covered with lawns, wide avenues, ponds and hedges. The stairs and observation points can also be found. The cemetery had regulations defining what kind of tombstones can be placed in the necropolis.
In addition to the tombstones, You can find dozens of monuments dedicated to the heroes of September 1939, victims of Stalinism, 'to those who did not return from the sea’ and to Sybiracy, to mention just a few. From Mieszka I Street, You can find a nineteenth-century Dutch windmill, in which a garden store is now.
The main gate of the cemetery was built between 1901 and 1903 in the Neo-Romanesque style. The gate is adjacent to two wings, i.e. the administration of the cemetery and maintenance infrastructure. The building was destroyed in September 1941 and rebuilt in 1959. The chapel, designed by Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau, was built between 1900 and 1902. It was inspired by Romanesque architecture. The building is located on the hill opposite the vast fountain. After the Second World War, the building was not used, it was rebuilt only in 1981, during the renovation there was a fire that destroyed, among other things, the central dome. The reconstruction lasted 13 years, the first post-war burial took place there in 1994.
In the Central Cemetery, there is also a war burial plot, which is located on the main view corridor of the cemetery - between the chapel and the monument of Bractwa Broni [Brotherhood of Arms]. 3379 soldiers, 367 Polish soldiers and 3012 Soviet soldiers to be precise, lie there. The plot was established in the years 1946- 1954, the soldiers exhumed from the temporary burial places were buried there. At the cemetery, there is also the field of honour, which was founded in the 1930s. The people who particularly contributed to Szczecin are buried there. You can find there, among other things, the tombstones of Janina Szczerska, Jan Papuga, Cpt. Konstanty, Cpt. Antoni Ledóchowski or Florian Krygier.
In the eastern part of the cemetery, the so-called historical route was created in 2010, which is to provide insight into the most interesting places of this part of the cemetery. It consists of 21 stations, such as Bernhard Stoewer's tombstone, the lapidarium, Hermann Haken's tombstone, the field of honour, the chapel, the Katyń cross, the monument to Sybiracy and the field of combatants.
In the cemetery, we can find exotic tree and shrub species e.g. from North America such as: white fir, white, giant cedar, sweetshrub, American linden; from Asia such as: forsythia suspensa, Japanese larch, ginkgo biloba, Turkish hazel, from Europe such as: European hop-hornbeam, Dutch linden, Greek fir, Burgundian oak, Serbian spruce and Swedish whitebeam. In total, according to a study in the Central Cemetery, there are over 400 species of trees and shrubs. The botanical trail was marked out in the eastern part in 2010, at which 32 boards with descriptions of interesting trees have been put.
Currently, the Central Cemetery covers an area of 167.8 hectares, since its opening over 300 thousand people have been buried in the area. The necropolis was put on the provincial list of monuments in June 1986.
There are a dozen of free parking spaces in front of the cemetery main gate. It is also possible to drive into the cemetery area. The cost of driving through the gate is PLN 45. If You drive through because of funeral reasons, the cost of the first 5 cars is PLN 20 , and PLN 40 for subsequent ones.