Saturday, March 18, 2017

229. Bellu - a window into the past

On my travels I always like visiting cemeteries- especially in cities that have a strong Christian heritage. It is the Christians – and primarily the RC and Orthodox – that erect the grandest monuments. And it is in cemeteries that you find so much more than who and when people died - they are the windows into the past - and wandering up and down the many lanes of graves you will find stories of families, occupations, local and world-wide events like wars and plagues, and so much more of interest.

In Bucharest the Șerban Vodă Cemetery ( commonly known as the Bellu Cemetery ) is the largest and most famous of the many throughout the city. It is located on a plot of land covering an area of some 54 acres, donated to the local administration by Baron Barbu Bellu. It has been in use since 1858.

 Bellu Cemetery is the final resting place of just about every great Romanian academic, scientist, politician, artist, writer, musician and poet from modern times.

In Bellu Cemetery I particularly found it fascinating the number of ornate family tombs. Some were in disrepair – so I assume the family has moved away or has died out – others were in pristine condition with well-tended miniature gardens out front. One such tomb - under renovation – was open and passing by I could peer into the crypt and saw that it was three levels underground – each level had shelves that held the many coffins from the deceased family members …

 Bellu Cemetery Chapel

After wandering around a deserted – except for the deceased of course and two other camera-toting tourists – Bellu for a couple of hours I was dying for a coffee and a good sit-down - but not to be … so I made an on-the-spot decision that when I go, there will be no grandiose headstone or sculpture put up for my memory – but rather I will instruct my executors to erect a nice little alfresco café with lots of seating and serving good coffee for my visitors - and for those sticky-beak tourists with their cameras …