Przestrzeń sepulkralna w turystyce
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The sepulchral space in tourism Summary The sepulchral space is a fragment of the geographical space consecrated for burials and deposing ashes after cremation. Its purpose is also to commemorate the dead through particular sepulchral art (architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, etc.). In broader sense it is the space related to death, burial ceremonies and sites, and different aspects of the cult of the dead. The character of this space (physiognomy, morphology) depends on historical, religious, cultural and social conditions. The sepulchral space (broadly understood) is: a) discontinuous – consisting of separate, scattered sepulchral sites, b) open – it is hard to define its clear-cut boundaries as the special, sacred character fades away gradually with growing distance from the sepulchral site ; moreover, some fragments of the sepulchral space may be related to death only temporarily (e.g. only during the funerals or temporary museum exhibitions), c) heterogeneous – being composed of different elements varying as to their morphology, physiognomy, emotional value (depending on historical or religious considerations and personal engagement of the people involved). This paper is about the sepulchral space in present-day Poland, particularly the areas representing tourist destinations. The following classes of sites have been distinguished within this space: a) cemeteries, b) burial monuments, crypts, grave chapels, c) places of mass death and common graves, d) museums, exhibitions and events, e) other sepulchral sites. In Poland there are some 4,000 cemeteries varying as to time of foundation, functions, character and localization (Fig. 2). With regard to their tourist potential one can distinguish: – major cemeteries – main, most ‘prestigious’ cemeteries of a city or region (including national necropolises: the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw, the Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow, the Old Cemetery in Zakopane), – cemeteries of national and religious minorities: Protestants (Evangelicals, Lutherans, Calvinists, Mennonites), Orthodox, Old Believers, Greek Catholics, Mariavites, Muslims, Karaites, Jews (including some 60 ohels or tzaddics’ tombs), – war and military cemeteries and extermination sites, – peculiar (private, epidemic, hospital, cloister, castle, fortified, animal) cemeteries, – lapidaries and symbolic cemeteries e.g. the Cemetery of Non-Existing Cemeteries in Gdańsk. The second group of sepulchral sites includes burial monuments, crypts and grave chapels (see Tab. 1). These can be divided into the following classes: – tombs of Polish kings and their families – chiefly in the Wawel Cathedral in Cracow, and also in the cathedrals in Poznań and Płock and in the Capuchin Friars’ Church in Warsaw, – tombs of writers, artists, political leaders and activists, mostly in the crypt of the Pauline Church ‘Na Skałce’ in Cracow, in the Crypt of the Eminent Citizens of Wielkopolska in the St. Wojciech Church in Poznań, in the crypt of the St. John Cathedral in Warsaw and in the Wawel Cathedral crypt, – tombs of priests, blessed and saints, e.g. St. Adalbert in Gniezno, St. Stanislaus the Bishop in Cracow, St. Jadwiga of Silesia in Trzebnica, St. Fau-stina in Cracow, J. Popiełuszko and Cardinal S. Wyszyński tombs in Warsaw, – family chapels and tombs, – crypts and ossuaries e.g. the famous Skull Chapel at Czermna (Kudowa Zdrój), – symbolic and peculiar tombs e.g. the Unknown Soldier Tomb in Warsaw, mounds in Cracow, Sea Victims monument in Szczecin, symbolic tombs of the Siberia deportees, Communism Victims, Katyń Massacre Memorial. The third group of sepulchral sites includes mass extermination sites and common graves. Most of them originate WW II when on the territory of present- -day Poland there were many concentration camps, extermination camps and prisoners of war camps e.g. in Majdanek (mausoleum-pantheon), Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bełżec, Sobibór, Płaszów, Chełmno, Sztutowo, Rogoźnica, Łódź, Palmiry, Łambinowice, Żagań – all being common graves of thousands of people murdered by Nazis. The sepulchral space is also formed by other sites and events related to death e.g. – museums with collections of coffin portraits (the largest collection of some 300 items is in the regional museum in Międzyrzecz), sepulchral sculpture, sarcophagi, epitaphs, ancient texts of funeral sermons, temporary exhibitions e.g. the exhibition ‘Vanitas. Coffin portrait and the burial traditions in ancient Poland’ in the National Museum in Poznań I 1996 (app. 50,000 visitors), – burial rituals, Passion plays, religious feasts – in particular the All Saints’ Day celebrated in Poland in a very special way: family members – often coming from remote places – gather at gravesites to commemorate their relatives, put flowers and light lamps, – other sepulchral sites such as memorials to commemorate someone’s death e.g. the J. Popiełuszko Crucifix at the Vistula Dam at Włocławek, the Dead Lantern in the St. Nicolas Church in Cracow or penitential crosses in Lower Silesia. Cultural and educational functions of sepulchral sites have been recognized in the canon of cultural tourism of Poland. Among 443 items, there are 28 cemeteries, tombs and mausoleums. It confirms the importance of sites if this kind for cultural tourism. Nevertheless, regarding cemeteries as tourist product is often met with opposition for ethic reasons. The above-mentioned examples demonstrate, however, that various sepulchral sites are in fact already perceived as tourist product (or its important component). At many cemeteries special personnel is employed to provide guiding services and help visitors perform certain religious ceremonies, selling souvenirs, cemetery plans and guidebooks, postcards and devotional articles. Also, some tourists-attracting events posses character of tourist product e.g. Passion plays in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the ‘March of the Living’ organized for Jewish youth from all over the world, or funerals of eminent persons, that in Poland traditionally turn into mass religious and patriotic manifestations. Pilgrimages of Hasidim provide example of travels focused mainly or only on sepulchral space. The leader among the organizers of this kind of tours is the Reichberg Travel Agency, which every year organizes several pilgrimages to tzaddiks’ graves to commemorate their death anniversaries. An analysis of the offer of 200 travel agencies in Poland has showed that sepulchral sites quiet often are included in the itineraries of sightseeing, pilgrimage and sentimental tours. Almost all excursions to Vilnius and Lviv include visit of Rosa Cemetery and Lychakivskiy Cemetery. Numerous groups of Polish tourists visit Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris and Polish war cemetery at Monte Cassino. Among necropolises in Poland the most popular are the Old Cemetery in Zakopane and the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. Many sepulchral sites of tourist interest have already acquired a commercial character: e.g. an admission fee is charged at the Skull Chapel in Kudowa- -Czermna, the Silesian Piast Mausoleum in Krzeszów, the Royal Crypt at the Wawel cathedral. A thematic trail focused on cemeteries, unique in Poland, has been designed in the Low Beskides mountain range. It includes so-called Galician war cemeteries created to burry soldiers who died during the Gorlice operation in the WW I. These cemeteries – beside cultural heritage of the Lemko ethnic group and the natural environment of the Magurski National Park – represent very distinguishable element of the regional tourist product, which enhances the identity of region’s offer.
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