The Powązki Cemetery – all graves counted and recorded

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St. Honorata’s gate leading to the cemetery.
St. Honorata’s gate leading to the cemetery.

The Powązki Cemetery was listed as a heritage site in 1965. Unfortunately, this has not prevented the vandalisation and decay of monuments and chapels. Now their restoration will be easier. The city has completed the inventory of all cemetery objects.

"The inventory process took the city a few years. It included not only field work at the cemetery but also document search," said Michał Krasucki, Director of the Heritage Protection Department. "With the collected data, we not only created a map which, especially now, before All Saints Day, may be useful to the families of the buried, but also a single information resource that will serve genealogists and Varsavianists doing research into this grand 18th-century necropolis."

The data on tombstones and monuments are very detailed, including their exact location at the cemetery. The database includes photos and descriptions, the content of the inscription, the type of the material from which the tombstone was made, potential threats (such as tree roots) and the degree of preservation. All information was entered into the computer system, and a map was created. A user-friendly search engine has been provided to help find each specific tombstone (out of a total of around 70,000), and to determine its location on this 43-hectare historic necropolis.

Subsidies from the city budget
The City of Warsaw has had a substantial contribution to the preservation of the historic and artistic value of the cemetery.  For over a dozen years the City has contributed funds in the form of subsidies to enable the required conservation and restoration work. Thanks to that, many works of art at the Powązki Cemetery regained their former lustre. In the years 2007–2018 the city spend more than PLN 7 million on renovations of the Powązki cemetery monuments. Restoration and maintenance work was done on the catacombs, 100 tombstones and the fencing. One of the most impressive renovations was that of St. Honorata’s gate leading to the cemetery.

Moreover, the employees of the Heritage Protection Department have been long-standing members of heritage protection committees, and have participated in the annual fundraising events organised by the Jerzy Waldorff Social Committee for the Care of the Old Powązki Cemetery, as well as in other projects for the protection and international promotion of the Powązki Cemetery.

Thanks to the efforts of Warsaw’s authorities, in 2007 the cemetery joined the prestigious Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE), bringing together leading institutions taking care of historic necropolises.

The Powązki Cemetery was established in 1790 and covers a space of 43 ha. Around a million people are buried there. At the Honour Lane there are graves of insurgents and soldiers, independence activists, writers, poets, academics, artists and thinkers. The mausoleum holds the ashes of people murdered in concentration camps.
See the map of the Powązki Cemetery:
tab: cmentarze/Stare Powązki