The New Jewish Cemetery in Olšany, Prague, founded in 1889, has become generally known as the place of the eternal rest of the author Franz Kafka. It is also the biggest Jewish cemetery in the Czech Republic, taking in count its size and number of tombs. It is also protected as cultural heritage.

Autographs of famous names can be found on the tombs, for example architects Jan Kotěra, Josef Zasch, Antonín Balšánek, Josef Fanta, or Adolf Foehr; sculptors Jan Štursa, Čeněk Vosmík, Emanuel Kodet, J. V. Myslbek and others. The skilfulness of important Czech stonemason’s companies in Prague should not go unnoticed (e.g. L. Šalda, E. Radnitz, V. Žďárský, G. Ciani). They skilfully implemented in stone the designs of architects and sculptors. Tombstones and tombs used to be made out of one or two kinds of rock, usually granite or marble, sometimes also sandstone or travertine, they were of foreign or Czech origin. The tomb of the Kubinzky family seems to be quite unusual in this sense. Five different kinds of rock were used in the process of its construction.

Image 1: An overall view of the tomb of the Kubinzky family, 2019.

This large Neo-baroque, Classicist tomb, situated in the north-eastern corner of the New Jewish Cemetery in Olšany, Prague, can be dated back to 1892. It was made in the form of an open mausoleum and it is the most sumptuous and monumental tomb at the cemetery. It has the ground plan of 5 x 6 metres and it is 5 metres high.  It is made mostly of beige sandstone that has at some parts lightly pink smudges. All the perimeter walls, the high plinth with a profile base and capitol located around the whole perimeter of the bottom part of the construction, the architrave, portico, chambranle, oval niches in the frontal façade, vases in these niches, flaming vases located in the upper part of the construction, balustrade railing that lines the place where the roof of the tomb rests, gable with the coat of arms of the Kubinzky family. Two crests of tournament helmets above the shield with the inscription Labore Nobilitas beneath it, also rich decoration with mantling motifs at the sides of the shield are still recognizable at the shield, all made of sandstone. This is a rock that can be easily worked with. It is very often used for different stonemason’s purposes. It is probable that Cretaceous sandstone from Hořice was used for the construction which had been used for decorative constructional purposes in many centuries.

For World of Stone provided by authors:
RNDr. Barbora Dudíková, RNDr. Zdeňka Petáková