Mikulov

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Sample imageOne of the oldest and largest Jewish cemeteries in the country dates from around mid 15th century, when the Jewish community settled in Mikulov. The cemetery is situated on the western slope of the Kozí hill, with access from the town, i.e. from the south. Thanks to the terrain configuration the shape of the cemetery is quite irregular. Its area is nearly 20,000 m2. The shape of the cemetery indicates three stages of its extension. The earliest part of the cemetery is represented by the south-eastern section along the eastern wall between the today bricked up entrance and the memorial to the victims of World War I with the original entry path. In early 17th century the cemetery was extended with the north-eastern section as far as the western wall and the lane behind the Rabbis Peak with the tombs of the local and later also Moravian regional rabbis. The Rabbis Peak is the most valuable and most frequently visited part of the cemetery. The present size was acquired by the cemetery in late 19th century by attachment of the plot on the northern side behind the Rabbis Peak with a small gate in the western corner. A new entrance was made in the southern part of the cemetery with a forged entrance gate. There a new funeral hall and a morgue were built in the retro style pursuant to the design of the Viennese Architect Max Fleischer (1898).

The whole cemetery is surrounded with a massive protective wall of stone and brick, probably dating from 1760s. The cemetery includes around 4,000 tombstones arranged in thick irregular rows in the east-west direction and very clearly illustrating development of Jewish funeral sculpture in Moravia.

Towards the end of 19th century the cemetery was divided into seven groups and rows marked with a combination of Roman and Arabic numbers. The oldest preserved legible tombstone is the tombstone of Samuel ben Leb Ashkenazi of 1605.

In addition to the tomb stones the Jewish cemetery also includes a memorial of 25 Mikulov soldiers killed in World War I and a memorial of 21 Jewish prisoners from Hungary, shot dead by Germans in Mikulov on 15 April 1945. The latter memorial was unveiled in 1975.