September 25, 2008

in stone

Yesterday I stumbled across an amazing accidental find that my father will probably appreciate more than anyone. Tucked away in the middle of the neighborhood I've spent most of my time in while in Munich is a huge - and unbelievably beautiful - cemetery. Surrounded by high walls and small gates, its easy to miss - I first walked in thinking that it was a park. But the tombstones and gravesites are unlike anything I've ever seen in the US. Nearly all of them are striking - you can't tell in the pics, but they are huge - all at least 6 if not 10 feet high; but also because many are beautifully elaborate. And yes, it was a little spooky. Kind of in a way that its so beautiful a place that it becomes surreal, and also because some of the headstones that feature the head of a person truly seemed to be peering right at (or into) you. The landscaping seems very naturally, not obviously groomed, which just adds to both its beauty and creepiness. Most dates seemed to be in the 17 and 1800s. In telling my friend Richard about it later, he said that that cemetery used to be outside of the gates of the city, and some of the walls are so high in places because of the plague - walling it off in an effort to keep those who died from the plague from spreading it outside the walls. I didn't see any Berry's, but did see one for a Familie Von Bary. Whether thats any connection, I'll have to ask my Dad. If you've ever checked out my Dad's blog (linked at right) Dad is into geneology and DNA tracing (no I don't understand any of it either). But he also visits a lot of cemeteries, sometimes photographing every headstone and posting them online for people to find. This led to an article a few weeks ago in the Woodmen of the World magazine (because of the WoW headstones he posted) that I think really captures my Dad well, both in the words and photos (notice the red crocs). Here's a link to the article. For me, finds like these beat a stroll through a museum any day.
  • Woodmen of the World magazine: Cemetery Man

    langolier said...

    'von Bary'??! Close enough.

    BTW, Jon, your WOW magazine link doesn't work.


    Unknown said...

    yeah oops - I meant to link it to your site but put in the wrong link - its corrected now, thanks!

    And I wonder if the von is just a German word and not part of the name?

    Anonymous said...

    You might find this interesting Jon...Sounds like your having an amazing time!