Bratislava is running out of burial places

Citizens of Bratislava more and more prefering cremation to burial.

The cemetery at Slávičie údolieThe cemetery at Slávičie údolie (Source: Sme)

During the last few years an increasing number of Bratislavans have opted for burning their mortal remains rather than burial. One of the reasons for this change in behaviour is the lack of burial plots in Bratislava.

Marianum, the company operating the cemeteries in Bratislava, registered 1,020 grave burials and about 3,300 cremations last year . This means that 76 percent of Bratislavans preferred cremation. In comparison, in Prague as many as 99 percent of citizens choose cremation.

“Thus, there is an assumption that the number of cremations will increase [in Bratislava],” Radoslav Vavruš, director of the funeral company Marianum, told the Sme daily.

If the number of cremations increase during the following years, the pressure for the creation of new burial places would decrease and transfer to the building of so-called columbariums, i.e. places for placing cinerary urns at cemeteries.

For now, if the current trend in burying continues and if no new burial places are added, Vavruš estimates that Bratislava would run out of free burial plots within seven to eight years.

Marianum operates 18 cemeteries, two military cemeteries and a columbarium. In total it oversees 88,449 burial places. Of these the cemetery in Slávičie údolie holds the highest number, 25,489, followed by Martinský cemetery with 15,476 places.

The cemeteries operated by Marianum include three historical ones: Ondrejský, pri Kozej Bráne and Mikulášsky cemeteries. New burials in the historic cemeteries ceased somewhere in the 1950s and now only in exceptional circumstances are new graves allowed. Such a circumstance arose earlier in October when the first president of modern Slovakia, Michal Kováč, was burried at Ondrejský cemetery.

Vavruš estimates free burial places in Bratislava at about 8,000 while there are also 4,000 burial places for which nobody pays any more and thus might be prepared for new burials. In Bratislava, the rental of a burial plot is €13.53 per year. The city is also looking for places where new cemeteries may be created.

People can check whether the rental for a grave of their beloved has been settled at the website www.cintoriny.sk. Via this site they also can light a virtual candle or lay a virtual wreath on the grave of the deceased.

In 2017 Marianum plans to extend this service in order that people would be able to pay for a real wreath online and employees of the funeral company would lay it down at the grave.

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