Budapest Cemeteries

There are some beautiful cemeteries in Budapest, which are well worth a visit if you like to be in peaceful spiritual places and love old statues hidden among the branches of old trees – basically a quiet haven in the busy bustling city of Budapest, sort of an artistic and meditative nature park. Unlike sad and mathematical cement cemeteries, some of the old cemeteries in Budapest are like an open air Fine Art Museum with fascinating statues set amongst the century old birch, oak and acacia trees.

Kerepesi Cemetery Budapest

Kerepesi Cemetery Budapest (photo by Gerrit Labrijn)

Kerepesi Cemetery (Kerepesi Temető)

One of the most amazing cemeteries in Budapest is Kerepesi Temeto (Kerepesi Cemetery), a short trip from the city centre of Budapest. Kerepesi Cemetery is a 55 hectare (136 acre) graveyard, which was founded in 1849. Many of the iconic Hungarian cultural and political celebrities as well as dignitaries are buried here like Louis Kossuth (Lajos Kossuth Mausoleum), Blaha Lujza singer (Mausoleum), Mihaly Vorosmarty poet, Attila Jozsef poet, Leo Weiner music educator, Count Batthany Hungarian minister (Mausoleum), Karoly Gundel (the emblematic figure of the restaurant dynasty – Gundel Restaurant), Miklos Ybl (the architect of the Opera House), Tivadar Csontvary Kosztka painter, Ferenc Erkel composer to mention but a handful of the Hungarian historical figures we still look up to. Of course there are infamous people in Kerepesi Cemetery too like the Communist party leader Janos Kadar, the face behind the Iron Curtain decades in Hungary.

Interestingly enough, unlike in the mainstream cemeteries, people who committed suicide and who were executed were also allowed to be buried in Kerepesi Cemetery (from 1874). The arcades in the cemetery were built in 1904-08 (resembling Northern Italian arcades). During World War II Soviet and Nazi troops fought in the cemetery and many of the precious statues and mausoleums were ruined. Later on the Hungarian criminals (‘Hungarian Maffia’) used the cemetery as their headquarters. The Communist regime wanted to get rid of the cemetery and found all kinds of excuses to gradually diminish the size of the historical graveyard ruining hundreds of graves and statues. The graves that were under attack were the ones whom the Communists thought of as Capitalist oppression (industrialists, bankers, politicians, etc.)

Farkasreti Cemetery (Farkasréti Temető)

The cemetery in Farkasreti road is another beautiful graveyard in Budapest. It was built in 1894. Thousands of Hungarian artists are buried here like Lajos Gulacsy painter, Zoltan Kodaly composer, Margit Kovacs sculptor or Bela Bartok composer who died in the US but was re-buried here (the Socialist regime did not allow religious burial ceremonies at Kerepesi cemetery, so Farkasreti cemetery became an escape route and a Christian graveyard). Similarly to Kerepesi Cemetery, Farkasrét was also under heavy attack during the Budapest battles in World War II.

New Public Cemetery (Új köztemető)

The New Public Cemetery opened its gates in 1886, currently it is spreading out on 207 hectares (511 acres). There is a 26 meter tall bell tower as part of the main entrance built in 1903. You can see beautiful painted glasses on the main entrance made by Miksa Roth, the most famous glass painter in Hungary. There are about 1,5 million Hungarians buried here (with separate sections for Islamic, Greek Orthodox people or the Hungarian monasteries like the Piarist, the Sacre Coeur Sisters, etc.). Section 301 is the burial place for the innocent and brave Hungarians who fought against the Communist dictatorship in 1956.

Our source about the cemeteries: history magazine.