Cemetery in Suwałki

One way to get a flavour of the town's former ethnic mix is to visit the sprawling cemetery about 1km west of the tourist office. It comprises several separate burial grounds for people of different creeds, including Catholic, Orthodox, Old Believers and Islamic areas. A separate gate leads to the old Jewish cemetery. Largely destroyed in WWII, it attests to Suwałki's once thriving Jewish community.

Begin your exploration at the doorway to the tiny Muslim graveyard, the last remnant of the Tatars. The gate, situated just to the right of ul Zarzecze 12, is locked and the graves are hardly recognisable. The only way you'd know it's a Muslim graveyard is the crescent symbol etched in the wall at the gate.

About 30m along, opposite ul Zarzecze 29, is the entry to the relatively large Jewish cemetery, reflecting the one-time size of the community. A memorial stands in the middle, assembled from fragments of old grave slabs. The gate is normally locked, but you can get the key at the Town Hall office at ul Mickiewicza 1.

Opposite ul Zarzecze 19 is the Orthodox cemetery, marked by a wooden church, and behind this stands the Old Believers' graveyard; both are largely wild and unkempt. The Catholic cemetery begins here and stretches for a good long way.