A Warrior At Peace

Munich cemetery

A cool, gray autumn day set the perfect mood for a stroll in Munich’s Alter Südlicher Friedhof (The Old South Cemetery).

It was established as a plague cemetery outside the city gates in 1563, and because it was Munich’s only cemetery until 1868, it’s crowded with ornate gravestones and monuments of area notables.

It’s no longer used for burials, and on the day we visited the heavily wooded cemetery was deathly quiet, which further added to its eerie beauty. The combination of elaborate monuments and leafy backdrops, created lots of opportunities for interesting compositions.

The contrast of the darkness of this Greek war helmet and the stark, gray tombstone particularly captured my eye. Sadly, Plato said it best:

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”


Munich Cemetery 2

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

40 thoughts

    1. Thanks Liz. I remember those cold NC mountain winters, and how welcome the spring was. We’re well and hope that you are as well. This cemetery did have a kind of haunting feel. Some of the graves were 100s of years old, and in those days, much more was revealed about the person and their passing. Death from war wounds, fever in a child, childbirth for a young mother – poignant reminders to carpe diem. ~James

    1. Sue, I’ve always enjoyed the art and history in old graveyards, and while some of the monuments are just cold, gray stone, many reveal a great deal about the person. This is what I find most interesting. ~James

    1. Thanks Laura. This graveyard was unusual by US standards. It was heavily wooded, and a high wall on all sides made it a place removed from its busy urban surroundings. It was a nice place for an interesting walk. ~James

    1. Thanks Darlene. This cemetery was a deep green, island of quiet and the perfect place for B&W photos. And after our visit I thought: they don’t make monuments like they used to. ~James

    1. Thanks. The dark, quiet mood and the lack of people made it the perfect place for reflective photography. BTW, the B&W photo on your about page is very nice as well. ~James

    1. Tess, if you know Munich, you know that it’s a bustling, noisy place. It only took a few steps inside the cemetery walls to feel the quiet. There were so many artistic monuments and gravestones. If you like roaming graveyards, this one is excellent. ~James

    1. Thanks Susan. I particularly enjoy walking through old, historic graveyards. It’s always interesting to me what loved ones (or in many cases the deceased) choose what to leave behind as a marker. The lines of graves are tangible reminders of the history of the place. ~James

    1. Thanks Lisa. I’m glad to see that your internet connection is back (at least hopefully). This cemetery was a wonderful place for a walk and photos, as well as a good reminder. ~James

  1. There is something sad and oppressive about cemeteries. I think it stems from contemplating our own mortality. And yet, as you point out, there is a lot of history, natural beauty and art in the crypts and sculpted stones that grips one who ventures into these solemn grounds. Your B&W photo captures much of that gravitas.

    I have always enjoyed your color photographs. The B&W creates an entirely different mood. I cannot help but be impressed. – Mike

    1. Thanks Mike. Some of my favorite cemeteries are in Charleston, SC. The graves go back to the earliest colonial days and Charleston’s history is all there. There are a number of German dignitaries in this Munich graveyard: for instance, Volta as in volts and electricity is buried here. It’s a beautiful quiet place, and I’ve never seen a more heavily wooded cemetery, which added to the ambience. Cool place. ~James

    1. Cur, it’s interesting to see how differently we react to a cemetery full of monuments vs similar art in a sculpture garden. There’s no denying the somber feel of a graveyard. It’s all social conditioning, but it works on me. ~James

      1. Actually James, I find graveyards interesting. It was just the knight’s vacant stare I found spooky. 🙂 Have you visited graveyards in Scotland? Really impressive tombstones. –Curt

      2. Unfortunately Curt, most of my trips to Scotland were for business, and in those days, I didn’t take much time for the tourist sights – and that was my big loss. ~James

    1. Joanne, Ancient Greece occupied a strategic location, and their bellicose neighbors never gave them a break. Plato’s sad observation reflects this reality well. And a look around our world today shows that humankind’s nature hasn’t changed. ~James

  2. Such a moving post…. Interestingly eery shots and very poignant quote.. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Lia. The area that is now Munich has not been a stranger to warfare, and this fascinating graveyard was full of soldiers to attest to this history. It was also interesting that some of the graves from the 1800s were still maintained and had new flowers planted. ~James

      1. Your blog is better than any history class I ever took! Thanks for sharing your travels and historical sites with us!

      2. Thanks Lia. I’m pleased to hear these kind words. I’m not a history geek, but I do enjoy it. And as a traveler, knowing a bit of the local history enhances the experience. After all, without the human experience cities are just a collection of glass and concrete. ~James

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