Tuesday, 21 February 2012


The Necropolis of the Masters of Arts was opened in August 1937. The development of that area began since the early days of the existence of the Alexander Nevsky monastery. In March 1823. Due to the small area of the existing St. Lazarus's (Lazarevskoye) cemetery (now the Necropolis of the eighteenth century), the chancellery of the Alexander Nevsky monastery proposed to "establish a similar cemetery".

Originally, the cemetery was called the New Lazarevskoye. In 1869 a burial chapel was built by the architect N.P. Grebenka and funded by the Polezhaevs, a wealthy merchant family. It was named Tikhvinskoye  after the wonder-working icon of Mother of God of Tikhvin. The cemetery's area was extended. According to the plan of 1881 the Tikhvinskoye cemetery already had its present-day boundaries and was enclosed by a stone wall.

Before the October Revolution the social status of the cemetery was very high. Here were buried mostly representatives of the nobility, manufacturers and well-off merchants. The necropolis was then extended to outstanding statesmen and military people, scientists, men of letters, composers, etc.

The imposing gate to the necropolis
Necropolis "Masters of Art"
By the end of 19th century the Tikhvinskoye cemetery had numbered 1325 gravestones: Monumental pedestal crosses of various shapes, numerous altars, icon cases, steles, chapels, massive vaults. The first post-Revolution years were a tragic page in the history of the Tikhvinskoye cemetery. As there was no possibility to ensure the protection of graves, the monuments were rapidly being ruined.

View of one of the avenues of the necropolis
In 1926 the Tikhvinskoye cemetery was closed. Nevertheless, burials took place until 1932 when it was decided to establish a museum-necropolis on the cemetery's territory. This was supposed to be a park-necropolis with the burial places of prominent people of culture. Its outward appearance, free from common graves, was not going to be like a common cemetery. 

Reconstruction began in 1936 and was completed mainly in August 1937. The Tikhvinskoye cemetery ceased to exist. Most monuments were destroyed. Those of high artistic value but with no remains were transferred to the adjacent Necropolis of the eighteenth century. It was done so as to clear the "Necropolis of the Masters of Arts". During reconstruction more than sixty reinterment places were added to the old monuments of the Tikhvinskoye cemetery which escaped destruction. Historically, no artists or actors were buried in the Tikhvinskoye cemetery. Monuments to the representatives of these arts have been transferred to the area. The result is an amazing collection of monuments to prominent artists, composers, poets, authors, musicians. I was especially interested to see the memorials of some the great Russian composers.

Left: Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa (11 March 1818 — 14 July  1910) was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived.
Fyodor Ignatievich Stravinsky (Russian: Фёдор Игнатиевич Стравинский), 20 June, 1843 – 4 December, 1902) was a Russian bass opera singer and actor. He was the father of Igor Stravinsky and the grandfather of Soulima Stravinsky.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильич Чайковский) (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Some of these rate amongst the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire.
The bust of Tchaikovsky
Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein (Russian: Анто́н Григо́рьевич Рубинште́йн) (November 28, 1829 – November 20, 1894) was a Russian pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist he ranks amongst the great nineteenth-century keyboard virtuosos. He founded the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, which, together with the Moscow Conservatory founded by his brother Nikolai Rubinstein, were the first music schools of their type in Russia.
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: Никола́й Андре́евич Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков, 18 March,1844 – 21 June, 1908) was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five. He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas.
Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (Russian: Ми́лий Алексе́евич Бала́кирев, 2 January, 1837  – 29 May, 1910), was a Russian pianist, conductor and composer known today primarily for his work promoting musical nationalism and his encouragement of more famous Russian composers, notably Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He began his career as a pivotal figure, extending the fusion of traditional folk music and experimental classical music practices begun by composer Mikhail Glinka.
Left: Anton Stepanovich Arensky (Russian: Анто́н Степа́нович Аре́нский; 12 July, 1861 – 25 February, 1906), was a Russian composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music.
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (Russian: Михаи́л Ива́нович Гли́нка, June 1,1804 – February 15, 1857), was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music. Glinka's compositions were an important influence on Russian composers, notably the members of The Five, who took Glinka's lead and produced a distinctive Russian style of music.
The Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra is one of the first large architectural ensembles of St. Petersburg, dating back to the 18th century. This unique historic and artistic complex, outstanding from architectural and city planning points of view, is tightly linked with the history of Russia and its culture.
This is a post for the Taphophile Tragics meme.


  1. So beautiful.

    Herding Cats


  2. There is such incredible details in some of the markers. I especially like Arensky's and Tchaikovsky's.

  3. Nick,
    This is the best I saw on your pages. What an incredible list!


  4. We're certainly covering a lot of territory on this meme. Shame the original cemetery was destroyed but good that the markers have been kept and restored.

  5. The cemetery looks like a park its really beautiful and filled with some of people who lived at the top of their game. Awesome photos!!

  6. Wow, what a place to visit. It's gorgeous. But I'm afraid I might need to be accompanied by a translator!

  7. To have all those 'masters' under the one roof, so to speak, leaves me speechless. Such a list.

    I simply knew that the period after the Reveolution was not going to be a positive time for this cemetery and its illustrious residents.

    What is interesting, though, is that even when the communists were in charge, there was still elitism allowed in this cemetery. I do not quite understand that, other than to regard it as hypocritical.

    There are photos to treasure in tis lot, Nick. I agree with Ann: this meme is covered such a wide and exciting range of cemeteries and cultures.

    At first, I thought you were GOING to Russian this week. Not I understand you to have meant 'virtually'. Tis okay: I am old and catch on eventually. With a bit of digging in the old ribs!

  8. wow. i like many f those graves! especially the composers seem to have real beautiful ones. i like tchaikovsky best!
    must be cool to see russia. did it at all feel scary there? dangerous?


I love to hear from you, so please comment. I appreciate constructive criticism as it improves my skills as an amateur photographer.