The Jewish cemetery of Rădăuţi (Radautz) was one of the highlights of our trip so far – one of the most impressive cemeteries I’ve ever seen. South of Radautz are Solca and Arbore. In both villages are Jewish cemeteries. We visited them today.
In the morning we went for a walk through the center of Radautz. The Tempel Synagogue is still one of the most impressive buildings in the city. With its two towers, it has a strange resemblance to a Christian church. Another former synagogue is located a few hundred meters further – today window frames are sold there. The city center was vibrant – despite the Easter holidays, the shops were open and we strolled through the streets to catch some impressions.
The Jewish cemetery was harder to find than we expected. At a car wash we asked again for directions; finally five locals discussed the correct location and how to get there. After a few attempts we were successful. A neighbor phoned the key holder and finally an old man opened the gate of the cemetery. Amazed, we faced a forest of grave stones.
The cemetery of Radautz is one of the most impressive Jewish cemeteries I’ve ever seen. This is due to the quality of the stone carving, but also because of the density of the grave stones. The cemetery is mostly well maintained; Carob trees provide shade.
We drove on to Solca and Arbore. In both villages there are small Jewish cemeteries. As we drove, we thought that here are more horse-drawn carts and more storks than in other parts of Bukovina. On the horizon we saw the peaks of the Carpathians.
The cemetery of Solca is a strange place. It is surrounded by a barbed wire fence that triggers unpleasant associations. Whether there were once more grave stones is hard to say, but the existing tombs fill only a small part of the fenced area. Behind the fence fields extend as far as the eye can see. How much space does a man need?
In Arbore, we had to search for a while for the cemetery, but finaly found it. We only stayed unattended for a short time. A man followed us and kept an eye on us until we left the cemetery. I like how the local Jewish cemeteries are protected.
The cemetery of Arbore is very small. As in Solca it is surrounded by open fields. The vastness of the landscape in conjunction with the graves makes a deep impression. The word ‘eternity’ appeared for a moment in my mind.
We briefly visited the monastery of Arbore, but a week of traveling made an impact today. All of us were tired and we needed some rest. We drove back to Radautz to relax a bit at the hotel.
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