Photographer's Note

Rasos Cemetery (Lit. Rasų kapinės, Pol. Cmentarz na Rossie) is an old cemetery in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius. Since Vilnius used to be a center of Lithuanian-Polish culture, there are a lot of famous people, including heart of Pilsudski, buried there. It's one of the oldest still existing cemeteries in Central Europe and the world.
Founded in 1769 by Bazyli Miller, the mayor of Wilno, in the place of ancient pagan temple and a small plague necropoly. He was also the first person to be buried there. In 1801 a chapel and belltower were built. After 1844 Rossa received a new, neo-gothical shrine. It was built by Józef Bohdanowicz, local priest, and Jan Waszkiewicz, professor at the Academy of Wilno. In 1920 a small military cemetery was built near the enterance for the solders who died in the city during the Polish-Bolshevik War. It was rebuilt in 1935-1936 by Wojciech Jastrzębowski, who also made a project of Piłsudski's tombstone.
Until September 18, 1939, when the Red Army entered the city, a honorary guard of three soldiers stood there at all times. Three unknown soldiers who refused to give up their arms to the Soviets in 1939 were shot on the spot and are now buried next to Marshall Piłsudski. Part of the cemetery contans graves of Polish Home Army soldiers, who fell during the Wilno Uprising. Their graves, demolished after the war, were rebuilt by the Polish state in 1993.
Graves of Polish soldiers who fell in 1939The whole Rossa cemetery was to be destroyed in the 1980s as the Soviet authorities planned a major motorway to be built directly through the cemetery. Fortunately, a press campaign led by Polish-language "Czerwony Sztandar" (Red Banner) newspaper and economical difficulties halted the destruction.

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Additional Photos by Krzysztof Dera (Fis2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 14522 W: 164 N: 25228] (169679)
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