March 13, 2008

Bratislava's Underground Cemetery

On our final half day in Bratislava we were able to get in contact with the man who oversees the underground Jewish cemetery. He met us at the above ground opening and then took us down into what remains of this amazing place. When this It was truly remarkable to see the effort that has gone into keeping this sacred cemetery accessible. Rabbi Chatem Sofer's grave is here - he was an important Rabbi to the Jews of Bratislava in the 1800 and 1900s.
I found this place beautiful because of its mystery, setting, care and perseverance. The architect is Martin Kvasnica. Notice the glass pieces coming down from the ceiling. They are symbolic graves that also stick up above ground. A few were smashed but it actually added to their beauty. My folks wondered who would take care of this place for future generations? While we were there a young rabbi arrived as well as some other visitors so although it is a bit of a mystery word gets around.

This final image is a view from the exit. In the distance you can see the new housing and corporate developments that will be taking over Bratislava's Danube views. This holiday was so cool because Bratislava has not yet exploded as a tourist destination and is just developing as a strong and viable economy.