About the cemetery
Cemetery Boninovo reflects the demographics of the population of the city of Dubrovnik.
A peculiarity of Dubrovnik cemeteries is that both Municipal and Orthodox cemetery were built on land where summer residences of Dubrovnik nobility and citizens had been. The conversion of former summer residence district into modern cemetery space through the 19th century was pioneered by the town's minorities, first Jewish and then Orthodox communities, whose model of conversion of summer residence into a cemetery chapel and the garden into burial ground was followed by Catholic population twenty years later with the construction of Municipal cemetery. The choice of periphery proved to be a good one, although today the cemetery is situated almost in centre of the city of Dubrovnik.
The Orthodox cemetery
During the Russian-Montenegrin siege of Dubrovnik in 1806, the town's surroundings were devastated, with many summer villas in Boninovo burnt, thus clearing the space which could potentially be used for other purposes. Subsequently the Orthodox cemetery was built in the garden of the summer villa of Pozza-Sorgo family, with the summer villa reconstructed and enlarged to make a sacral building, and with the central tree alley of the old summer villa converted into the main alley of the cemetery.
The Municipal cemetery
The Municipal cemetery follows the same pattern; the main alley leading to the main entrance to the Holy Cross chapel was the alley in the former garden, and the chapel with adjoining rooms is a reconstruction of the burnt summer villa which had belonged to the Altesti family. The earlier use can be observed in today's cemetery walls which were actually the wall fences of former estates, and present-time, with the main gate of the municipal cemetery adapted from the preserved gate of Altesti summer residence.
Stylistic influences at the cemetery
We may say that the complex of Boninovo cemeteries in Dubrovnik has gone through the stylistic stages of Classicism, Historicism, Modernism and simplicity prevailing in the second half of the twentieth century, almost devoid of any stylistic traits. Grave memorials were built in each of these styles, and apart from average monuments, there were also high quality creations in accordance with Dubrovnik standards.
Reflection of Dubrovnik and its citizens
It is also worth pointing out a particularity and specificity of Dubrovnik which occur and prevail in this context - typical modesty reflected in town's architecture over centuries. The distinctive modesty of Dubrovnikers, be they Catholics, Orthodox or Jewish, was further demonstrated in their grave memorials in the 19th century. Just one walk through Dubrovnik cemeteries will suffice to attest this fact. While elegant, most grave memorials are modest and simple in comparison with those in cemeteries of similar merchant towns on the Adriatic coast - Split, Zadar, Rijeka or Trieste - such as spectacular mausoleums, magnificent sculptural works by famous sculptors, spacious parks and cemetery chapels.
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