(First published on We Love Budapest, 30 October 2014)
Hungary's National Burial Garden
The Fiumei Road Cemetery houses the "National Pantheon" where many ofHungary's important historical and cultural figures are laid to rest. Sometimes simple headstones, other times huge mausoleums mark where these politicians, artists, authors, scientists, scholars and other heroes are buried. Hungary's National Burial Garden is beautifully designed with tree-lined walkways and sculpted areas that mark different sections.
Hungarian politician Kossuth Lajos and statesman Deák Ferenc are both buried in huge mausoleums built in their honour. These buildings are simply beautiful inside and out. Unfortunately due to restoration works it's not always possible to enter these. Famous poets Arany János, Mihály Vörösmarty and Petofi Sándor have also been laid to rest in the National Burial Garden. There are also different sections for heroes of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, key figures in the Labour movement and a whole section dedicated to artists such as architect Miklós Ybl, novelist Móricz Zsigmond and painter Mihály Munkácsy.
Visiting the cemetery
The Kerepesi Cemetery is open to visit from about 8am until dark. A map is freely available at the entrance to help guide you to the grave sites of the prominent Hungarian figures. Guided tours (of a minimum 10 people) are also available but must be organised in advance. Tours are in Hungarian although of course you could bring a translator. The mausoleums are not always open to enter.
All Saints Day
In early November cemeteries throughout Hungary are particularly busy with visitors.All Saints Day is a national holiday celebrated on November 1 and shops are often closed on this day. It is a time when dead saints are remembered and people take flowers to the grave sites of loved ones.
For more information on the Fiumei Road cemetery visit the National Burial Ground's website (it's in Hungarian). The cemetery is very easy to get to - the main entrance is just a 10 minute walk from Keleti Metro Station at 16 Fiumei Road. To arrange a group tour call 06 1 323 5229. It's possible to buy flowers once there.