Sunday, October 16, 2005

Skogskyrkogården cemetery, Stockholm (January 2001)

This is one of my favourite photos. I took it a few years ago when I visited the Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden during winter. The guidebook I was using (Lonely Planet?) recommended it as an interesting place to visit, and as I had some time to kill, I decided, why not? It was my first visit to a cemetery ever, and thus began my hobby of visiting and taking photos of cemeteries I came across on subsequent trips to Europe (see previous post).

It wasn't a particularly dark morning, but for some reason, the photo came out as though I had taken it just as the sun was beginning to set. The park was very peaceful, and there was a wonderful harmony of functional architecture and nature; there was an abundance of pine trees, and the tombstones were neatly, but not disruptively, laid out amongst them.

Skogskyrkogården (Swedish for Woodland Park) was built between 1917 and 1920 by architects, Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz, who were awarded the job of designing and building the cemetery after an international competition was held. If I recall correctly, the gigantic cross in the photo was designed by Asplund.

Greta Garbo is buried here, although I didn't manage to find her grave the day I went. I did, however, manage to find the Woodland Chapel after an hour and a half of trekking amidst the snow, and happily wandered inside with my camera slung around my neck. To my surprise, and I'm sure to the surprise of the congregation inside, there was a funeral service going on and after a second or two of stunned silence, I turned around and beat a hasty retreat.

You can go to this site for a virtual tour of Skogskyrkogården.

No comments: