Old Cemetery Complex, Rzeszów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Old Cemetery Complex in Rzeszów consisting of a cemetery with gravestones and a chapel is one of the oldest necropolis in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship. The cemetery was a burial site for meritorious people who made a positive contribution to the town and the region; their gravestones were made by companies based in Rzeszów, Lviv and Cracow. The Classicist chapel located in the cemetery is one of the few of its kind in that area and thus is of immense value.

History

The necropolis was founded in 1792 after the closure of the cemetery located at the local parish church. The cemetery was located in the area of the hospital garden. A cemetery chapel of the Holy Trinity was built in 1787-92. It was most probably built on the site formerly occupied by an older hospital church of the Holy Spirit, which was destroyed in a fire. Since 1863, the necropolis was managed by the local municipality. As early as before 1879, the cemetery was enlarged and reached its maximum area. In 1884, the chapel underwent renovation. As a result of the cemetery becoming overcrowded and inability to extend the cemetery, in 1909 it was decide to close the cemetery. From then to 1971, the chapel served as a pre-burial chapel of the new cemetery in Pobitno. Burials forced by warfare continued to take place in 1939 and 1944. After the war, it was devastated. In the 1960s, the town authorities were striving to liquidate it. In 1966, 1975 and 1982, it was decreased because of alterations to roads (to the west and south) and construction of a heating network (to the east). In 1971, the chapel was closed down. It was used again since 1981 as a rector’s office and chaplain’s office of the Voivodeship Hospital. In 1982-1988, it was renovated and extended by a sacristy. In 2012, the chapel was handed over to the Greek Catholic Parish of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in Rzeszów and since then it has been a parish tserkva.

Description

The cemetery is located east of the chartered town, which is now the City Centre district. The necropolis in the shape of a latitudinal rectangle is limited by buildings to the north, Targowa Street to the west, Spytka Ligęzy Street to the south, and the Wisłok river waterfront to the east. Most of the area of the cemetery is flat; slight decrease is in the eastern part, and a greater decrease along the southern boundary. The cemetery was divided into irregular quarters with two main avenues (northern and southern) in the east-west direction. Single entrance to the cemetery is located on the axis of the northern avenue. A chapel is placed in the north-west outermost corner of the necropolis. According to publications, the oldest preserved gravestone dates from 1810 (Mieciu Lerer 1808-1810), the next oldest one from 1813 (Ignacy Tustanowski 1724-1813). Most of the gravestones date back to the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century. In the cemetery, there are gravestones in the form of both simple crosses and extended complex architectural and sculptural compositions. The most numerous are gravestones from the local workshops of Jan Czuba, Kazimierz Mitasiński or the meritorious Janik family, which was established by Franciszek, then it was run by his wife Leokadia, and by their son Tadeusz for the longest period of time. There are also numerous preserved gravestones made by the workshops based in Lviv (Antoni Schimser, Jan Schimser, Julian Markowski, Ludwik Tyrowicz) and Cracow (Kazimierz Chodziński, Franciszek Fischer, Franciszek Hochstim, Józef Kulesza or Leopold Stehlik).

The chapel is oriented towards the east. It is designed in the Classicist style. It is a masonry structure built on a rectangular floor plan with a three-sided end section and a polygonal sacristy added to the east. The compact body of the chapel was preceded by a four-column portico. It was covered with a gable roof giving way to a three-sloped roof. The western part of the roof ridge was surmounted by a tall slender steeple. The front (western) façade features a pseudo-Doric portico. The façade is single-axial and pierced by oculi over the door opening and at the top. It is flanked by rusticated pilasters and topped by an attic gable converting into a triangular gable in the centre of the façade. The remaining façade are partitioned with rusticated pilasters and crowned with a profiled cornice. The interior is covered with a wooden pseudo-barrel vault. To the west, there is a choir gallery supported by two piers. The modest fittings of the chapel includes a Late Baroque altar and epitaphs dating from the later 18th century and first half of the 19th century.

The building is open to visitors all year round. Viewing of the chapel is only possible by prior telephone arrangement.

compiled by Bartosz Podubny, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 13-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Cemetery sheet, Rzeszów, tzw. "stary" cmentarz parafialny, prepared by M. Wajdowicz, 1992. (Archives of the Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Rzeszów)
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, the so-called white sheet, Rzeszów, Kaplica cmentarna p.w. św. Trójcy, prepared by Cz. Wajdowicz, 2003 (Archives of the Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Rzeszów)
  • Fudala E., Helwin W., Historia Starego Cmentarza w Rzeszowie, Rzeszów 2009
  • Helwin W., Stary Cmentarz w Rzeszowie 1792-1909, Rzeszów 2002

General information

  • Type: Roman Catholic cemetery
  • Chronology: 1792 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Targowa , Rzeszów
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district Rzeszów, commune Rzeszów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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