Huge and atmospheric, Prague’s main burial ground was founded in 1680 to handle the increased deaths during a plague epidemic. Jan Palach, the student who set himself on fire in January 1969 to protest the Soviet invasion, is buried here, as is Czechoslovakia's first communist president, Klement Gottwald. To find Palach's grave, enter the main gate (flanked by flower shops) on Vinohradská and turn right – it’s about 50m along on the left of the path.
The oldest gravestones can be found in the northwestern corner of the cemetery, near the 17th-century Chapel of St Roch, but the most flamboyant art-nouveau memorials and mausoleums are concentrated around the main entrance and along the main path leading north. The cemetery's most elaborate monument, the Hrdličkova family tomb, lies just inside the main entrance and shows the deceased soldier Hans appearing to his mother in a dream, while she is comforted by Emperor Franz Josef I.