Mausoleums & Crypts in Czech Cemeteries
Mausoleums with crypts tend to occupy more space than tombs with vaults, the primary difference being that mausoleums are buildings designed for entry by family members. They were fashionable among some of Prague's wealthy citizens in the late 1800's, but have become a trend of the past. Although access to these buildings is limited, it was our observation that most had crypts beneath the floor where caskets were place on racks. Inside the ground-level front door was a room typically having a table or altar for religious symbols, urns, flowers, photographs, candles, etc. Stone plaques engraved with names and dates adorned the walls. Many of these buildings had a stairwell leading to a second floor, but what was up there is a mystery. Some had stairwells leading down to the crypt. (If anyone reading this has additional information from personal experience, please report.) The locked front door and windows were usually covered with iron bars.
These photos illustrate different styles of the private mausoleums observed in Prague. The first photo shows the largest mausoleum in Olsany Cemetery, a structure measuring approximately 8 x 20 meters.
This smaller mausoleum is of the more typical size. Still in use by family members, it had fresh flowers and was in tidy condition.
At least one mausoleum had a circular stairwell doing into the crypt below.
Someone had removed the crypt cover inside this structure. Although it created a hazard for cemetery visitors, it provided a nice opportunity to study the design.