Cemeteries in Koprivnica

The oldest cemetery remains in the Koprivnica area were found west of Bjelovarska Ulica (Street), in the place of the old landfill (Bajer, next to the company “Rapid”). A grave was found there dating from the Urnfield Culture (1300-750 BC). A larger Antic (Roman) cemetery (necropolis) was found in the area of today’s Kunovec Breg (village near Koprivnica), where a Roman settlement Sunista is believed to have existed. The cemetery dates from 1st and 2nd century. In the area of Farkašić, in the vicinity of today’s Draganovec (Koprivnica suburban area), an Antic grave from 4th century was found. It is believed a Roman settlement called Piretis was there. A larger medieval cemetery (14th to 16th century) was found in Starigrad, in the vicinity of PRC (Podravka’s Recreational Center), at the foot of the Kamengrad Fortress.
The oldest data mentioning cemetery in the central part of Koprivnica is from 1607. The cemetery was within the fortress of the Blessed Virgin Church (today’s St Nickolas’s Church). This might be supported by the existence of a Renaissance tombstone of a boy called Gotthardt von Schrattenpach from 1608, which still exists today within the Rectory. Before the Rectory was built, the tombstone was probably in the vicinity, apparently in an old Koprivnica cemetery. Some of the citizens of Koprivnica were buried in the crypts within the city churches. Leander Brozović published a list of buried people in the crypt of the St. Anthony Padovan Church.

Central town cemetery is mentioned late on next to the St. Lucy’s Chapel, for the citizens of the Koprivnica fortress and which was outside the fort wall (the area of today’s hospital). That is where the St Lucy’s Chapel is first mentioned in 1650. At the time of the canonical visitation on March 11, 1659, this Chapel was found by the fortress bank. The Chapel was raised by three pious persons but it still did not have a finished roof. There was a cemetery around the Chapel, where Germans and Croatians were buried. One part of the cemetery was for the burial of heretics, probably Protestants. That part was separated by a fence. The coronel’s wife had the altar put in the Chapel. The Chapel was completely bare, save for the Antependium and the statue of St Lucy, which was a gift from the colonel’s wife in 1658. The Chapel was is ruins in 1671. In 1680, the Chapel was described as a chapel built on a cemetery and that is was built out of wattle which was then covered by mud and blanched. The Canonical report by Toma Augustić states in 1700 that the Chapel had an oak foundation and the rest was made of wattle. It had a St Lucy altar, a lockable door and above the door there was a small tower with a consecrated middle-sized bell. The Chapel had a good roof and it was surrounded by a cemetery. Holy Mass was held on St Lucy’s day and All Souls’ Day and silent and sung masses were held when someone requested and paid for them. The caretakers were Tomo Čuz i Pavao Franjetić. During Canonic Visitation in 1778 St Lucy’s Chapel is mentioned having 3 altars and enough church vessels, and similar condition was noted in 1787 and 1804. In 1807 the pipe organ was bought for this Chapel from the Chapel in Močile, and the old pipe organ was sold to the Holy Three Kings Chapel in Dubovec. There is also a description of the Chapel from 1810 when it is mentioned that the chapel is located outside of the Fortress behind the ditch. It was wooden, rectangular and contained three altars. At the shrine, there was a St. Lucy’s altar with a picture, the north side housed a St. Izidor’s altar and the southern the St. Vinko altar. At the time, the main city cemetery was surrounding the Chapel where people from the fort and surrounding areas were buried. In the early 1900s, more and more houses were built around the Chapel and the cemetery so Pastor Adam Žuvić suggested the abandonment of the cemetery and relocation to the cemetery next to the Holy Spirit Chapel. This was executed in 1845 and soon the Chapel was abandoned and after 1850 it was knocked down.

In the vicinity of the St. Lucy Chapel there was a St. John the Baptist Chapel which is mentioned for the first time in 1671. German mercenaries (soldiers) maintained the Chapel. Around the Chapel there was a cemetery. In 1680 this Chapel was described as standing in front of a large gate and was maintained by German mercenaries. A well-known description of the Chapel from 1700 stated that it stood on a German part of the cemetery. It had oak foundations and was built out of wattle. The Chapel was well covered, it had the altar of St. John the Baptist. No one was buried in the German part of the cemetery without a permission of a pastor, whose permission was further needed for holding Holy Masses. In 1765, there is a mention of a tomb in the Chapel, and in 1768 clergyman Matija Petrović wrote a suggestion for the bishop to knock down the Chapels of St. Lucy and St. John the Baptist and build one new, stone chapel. According to canonical visitation in 1778, it is visible this chapel was located in the center of the town cemetery in the immediate proximity to the St. Lucy Chapel and it had 3 altars and other necessities. As the number of German citizens in Koprivnica was eventually reduced to a very small number of people, the citizens of Koprivnica cared less and less for this chapel and it began to deteriorate. This is visible from the canonical visitation in 1787. St. John the Baptist Chapel was knocked down by Koprivnica Pastor Franjo Tršćanski in 1796 based on the permission of the Zagreb NDS.

According to Canonical visitation files from the mid-17th century a Holy Spirit Chapel was raised, with a cemetery, for the citizens of Duga ulica and Banovec (streets in Koprivnica). It is mentioned in 1650 to be located by the road from Koprivnica to Varaždin. In 1659 there is a mention of this chapel by the pond called Gospinja, near a public road from Koprivnica to the village of Subotica. It was in extremely poor shape. The wife of a German officer Jakov Buher donated the money for the procurement of construction materials, and the citizens living in Duga ulica and Banovec donated free undercarriages and workers. The chapel was still not finished for the canonical visit on March 11, 1659 and it was three times the size of the old chapel. A cemetery was around the chapel which was surrounded by a small and already almost covered pit. The new chapel is mentioned in 1671. It was further described in 1680 as a building made of wattle, covered in mud and blanched. The shrine faced north and on the south side there was a lockable door. It had a wooden tower with a consecrated bell. The chapel was surrounded by a cemetery. Similar state was noted in 1700 when the caretaker was Andrija Šušnić. Hold Spirit Chapel was wooden in 1778 and it had 2 altars. A canonical visitation from 1787 mentions that the chapel was in a good condition except the tower that needed repairs, and in 1810, the chapel had only one altar. In 1845, Koprivnica pastor Adam Žuvić succeeded in closing the main town cemetery by St Lucy’s Chapel and that year saw the expansion of the cemetery by the Holy Spirit Chapel, which then became the central Koprivnica cemetery. The same pastor suggested to the city administration in 1850 for the new stone chapel to be built, instead of the wooden Holy Spirit Chapel, but by that point, it had not been built. A run-down Holy Spirit Chapel was closed the same year. Pastor Josip Beruta had a goal to build a new chapel. He also suggested the demolition of Holy Three Kings Chapel and St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, the abolition of their cemeteries and the unification with the Holy Spirit Chapel. Pastor Beruta suggested the construction of Holy Spirit Chapel and opening a cemetery in the area of today’s Dubovec (street) and Jamborica (today’s Ante Starčevića Street). The town administration chose a special committee for the proposal, which rejected the proposal of the new location for the chapel and cemetery, but supported the construction of the new Holy Spirit Chapel which is still located in the town cemetery. It was built in 1873. The inhabitants of Brežanec were unhappy about the abolition of the cemetery and the demolition of the St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, but their deceased had to be buried at the cemetery next to the new Holy host Chapel since 1874.

Thus, Koprivnica had a new central cemetery during the second half of the 19th century around the Holy Spirit Chapel, which is still in function today. The cemetery was considerably expanded in 1869 but not arranged. The town gardener Dragutin Ruhl started arranging the cemetery in 1890s and today’s horticultural appearance was given by the town grave-digger Ivan Maček. Graves of many famous inhabitants of Koprivnica are at the town cemetery (Đuro Ester, Tomo Šestak, Đuro Sudeta, Josip Vargović, Vladimir Malančec, Vinko Vošicki, Leander Brozović, Božena Loborec, etc.)

Among inhabitants settling in Koprivnica during the 17th and 18th century, there were Orthodox Catholic tradesmen, who are mentioned in writings as the Greeks, originally from the South-Eastern Europe which was then under the Ottoman Empire rule. The inhabitants had different ethnic heritage (Greek, Macedonian, Serbian, Aromanian, Vlach) who are all culturally bound by their religion, and socially connected by being Turkish vassals. They were supported and protected by the border authorities in Koprivnica until 1765. Once the border authorities left Koprivnica, the town authorities denied the Green tradesmen the citizenship rights, previously granted by the border authorities. They held masses in a private home, which was then forbidden and sealed by the town authorities. They later began building an Orthodox Catholic Church (in today’s Trg Mladosti), which was finished in late 1700s. Additionally, the tradesmen set up a cemetery for Orthodox Catholics which is first mentioned in 1788 and is located by the main road from Koprivnica to Križevci (junction of Crnogorska ulica and Križevačka cesta), near a former suburbs Dubovec. Before that, Orthodox Catholics from Koprivnica were buried in the nearby village Velika Mučna (about 8 kilometers southwest from the town). That cemetery is still in function today, and has a few tombstones of greater artistic value and age.

Although there had been Jews in Koprivnica before, it was only after 1851 that the Jews started settling in the area in greater numbers. In 1810 there were 23 Jewish families in town, in 1847 there were 40 families. In 1869 there were as many as 119 Jews in Koprivnica and in 1876 they raised the synagogue as well as religious school and premises for the Jewish community. Those were the Ashkenazi Jews, and only after the World War I did the Sephardic Jews start inhabiting Koprivnica. According to the writings of Leander Brozović, there was a separate Jewish cemetery for citizens of Koprivnica built by the road from Koprivnica to Varaždin in 1950s. Krešimir Švarc was of the opinion that in 1851 the cemetery started to take shape. At the time cemeteries were built outside settlements, but with time, and through the spread of Koprivnica, the cemetery became a part of the town. The oldest part of the cemetery is its eastern part and there are some examples of very old tombstones typical for Ashkenazi Jews, with vertical stele of crushed stone with Hebrew inscription and symbols. Its west part mostly hold statues made of marble, with Hebrew and German inscriptions. The side parts housed the newest monuments which had (apart from Hebrew inscriptions) Croatian inscriptions. The cemetery had few graves, and after the World War I, a monument was raised for all deceased Jews in the war. In 1975 it was changed into a monument for the victims of the Holocaust. The Jewish cemetery was especially destroyed during the World War II (when most Jews living in Koprivnica were killed). After the end of the War the cemetery was abandoned. In 2000 Koprivnica City Council raised a monument in the shape of a doorway in the place where an old morgue once stood.

Koprivnica also had a cemetery round the Holy Three Kings Chapel which is first mentioned in 1671, and which was maintained by caretakers Ivan Rasinec and Marko Ferčulin. In 1680 it was written that is was located in the field near Špoljarska ulica. In 1700 the Chapel was described as a big and bright building. It had brick foundations with oak pillars and wattle was built in between them. The Chapel had one window, the door was facing west and in front of it there was a wooden vestibule. Above the door there was a small wooden tower with a consecrated bell. It had a good roof, wooden ceiling, brick floor and the altar with the picture of Holy Three Kings. The Holy Mass was held on Epiphany, St. Filip and Jakov Day and one morning Mass during Advent. There was a spread cemetery around the Chapel. The Chapel’s assets were taken care of by Juraj Kraljić and Ivan Balentić.

By the Chapel, between the road and what is later to become a railroad to Zagreb, there was a well-arranged cemetery for deceased citizens of Špoljarska ulica, and for a while Dubovec and Reka. Citizens of Dubovec were later on buried at the cemetery next to the Holy Spirit Chapel, in the place of today’s town cemetery, and citizens of the village of Reka in the cemetery by the Holy Trinity Chapel in Reka (where the Chapel was raised in 18th century and was surrounded by a cemetery). In 1768 clergyman Matija Petrović suggested that the Holy Spirit Chapel and Holy Three Kings Chapels be united into one chapel with one organized cemetery around it. In 1778 the Three Kings Chapel was three quarters of an hour away from the Parsonage, it was built out of wood and it had a small tower with one bell. Canonical visitation in 1787 states that this Chapel was in a poor state, and in 1805 it was stated that it had a new tower and a sacristy. An organ was bought for it from St. Lucy’s Chapel in 1807. The 1810 Visitation states that it was wooden and square shaped with a wooden roof. The Chapel housed altars of Holy Three Kings and St Franjo Ksaverski. During mid-1900s, it was abandoned and dangerous for use. In 1870 a great parson Ladislav Kukuljević was the head of a committee which forbid the service of Holy Mass in the Chapel and it was knocked down in 1874, the same year its cemetery was abandoned.

In the fields behind Brežanec, there was a chapel called St. Mary Magdalen Chapel with a cemetery. In 1650 it was mentioned as a new one and as well-built. The Chapel was raised around 1649, which is visible from a canonical report from March 10, 1659. It was surrounded by a small ditch, it had a good roof and it had recently been paved with bricks. In a small tower there was a bell. The altar was built out of bricks and the plank had painted pictures of St. Mary Magdalen and St Barbara and the Holy Trinity. The Chapel also had some pictures made on paper. Apart from everything needed for the service of the Holy Mass, the Chapel also had a silver chalice. The Chapel was taken care of by an infantry soldier Petar Figač. A cemetery is mentioned around the Chapel in 1671. In 1680 it was written that this Chapel was in the area of Brežanec, and in 1682 Andrija Novaković and Šimun Matijašević were the sacristans. The first detailed description of the St. Mary Magdalen Chapel was in 1700. The Chapel was consecrated and located in Brežanec, with oak foundations with sides built out of wattle. It had a brick altar, above which was the picture of Sr. Mary Magdalen. It was quite light as it had two windows. The floor was made of brick and the ceiling was made of wooden beams. The door was facing west and above them was a small wooden tower with a consecrated bell. Two pictures painted on a cloth hung on the walls and about 20 pictures painted on paper. The Chapel had pews and a good roof. There was a fenced-in cemetery surrounded by a ditch. There was a cemetery for inhabitants of Brežanec and Ciglarska ulica (today’s Starogradska ulica) in the 18th century. Clergyman Petrović in his canonical visitation in 1768 suggested to join the chapels of St. Vid and St Mary Magdalen. For that purpose a new St Mary Magdalen Chapel would be built out of bricks, and besides its main altar, it would also have an elegant St. Vid’s altar. However, this was never executed, and the 1778 report states that the chapel is wooden and small and that it has a small tower with one bell. The 1787 canonical visitation mentions that the chapel is wooden and in a good shape with plenty of good furniture, and the same was stated in 1804. The chapel had two altars: St. Mary Magdalen and St. Barbara. The door was at the front while a small sacristy was on the north side. A cemetery was around the chapel where inhabitants of Brežanec, Bakovčice and Starigrad buried their deceased. In 1841 Pastor Adam Žuvić persuaded inhabitants of Brežanec to repair the Chapel but they stopped caring for the Chapel in the second half of the 19th century. The Chapel was knocked down in 1874, the cemetery abolished and the inhabitants buried their deceased at the Holy Spirit Chapel cemetery.

Prior to 1671, a St. Andrew’s Chapel with a cemetery was raised in Jagnjedovec and it was located on the hills. The same Chapel is mentioned in 1680. In 1700 it was said that the Chapel was built out of wattle on wooden foundations. There was a cemetery around it. The Holy Mass was served on St. Andrew’s Day and one morning Mass during Advent.

St. Emerik’s Chapel under the Old Town is mentioned in 1634. During medieval times there was a cemetery around it which was later abandoned. During the session of Croatian Parliament, it was mentioned that the Chapel took care of a property awarded by King Žigmund in 1406, but Koprivnica Captain Mespergh took it for himself. The same Chapel is mentioned in 1650 as “Capella Sancti Emerici ducis sub Ztari grad”. There were no burials around the Chapel then. When clergyman Andrija Vinković on March 11, 1657 visited this Chapel, he wrote that it had three brick altars which were empty and the Chapel needed to be supported by inhabitants of Bregi, Jagnjedovec and Herešin. In 1700 this Chapel had oak foundations and pillars and the walls were built out of wattle. The Chapel was light (it had three windows), the door could be well-closed and were facing west. Above the door there was a wooden tower and it, a consecrated mid-sized bell. In front of the door there was a vestibule which had a good roof. A carpenter made a (new) altar of St. Emerik. The Chapel was consecrated, and Holy Mass was held on St. Emerik Day and St. Ladislav Day. In the 18th century, there was a small cemetery around it where inhabitants of Starigrad buried their deceased, for the poorest inhabitants and those people who lived in nearby vineyards. That cemetery was in close proximity to the medieval cemetery. This Chapel was three quarters of an hour away from the Parish Church in Koprivnica in 1778 and it was in a valley among vineyards. It was wooden, and had a small tower and a bell. It was taken care of by a hermit called Antun Zerhaver. When he died, the St. Emerik Chapel started to deteriorate, and in 1787 it was described as a ruin. Canonical visitation in 1810 states that the St. Emerik Chapel or St. Mirko Chapel was in Starigrad, in the forest, among vineyards, next to a small creek Jagnjedovec and in the area of military border. The Chapel was wooden and square, its west side door had a vestibule and the sacristy was on the north side. On Ascension Day a big procession would arrive from Koprivnica. As the Chapel continued to deteriorate, Koprivnica Pastor Josip Kovačević suggested in 1823 that the Chapel be knocked down. The Chapel was knocked down that same year and its assets were distributed among the Holy Trinity Chapel in Reka (and St. Emerik altar), St Andrew’s Chapel in Jagnjedovec and the St. Vid Chapel (altar of the Lord’s Ascension).

Cemetery in Herešin is much younger. The inhabitants of Herešin used to bury their deceased in Koprivnica old cemetery, around St. Lucy’s Chapel (by today’s Hospital). Ivan Magić (in his book “Herešin through history”) states that the last person from Herešin buried at the old cemetery in Koprivnica was buried on April 28 1845.

After that, in 1859, people from Herešin arranged their own cemetery in the location where it still exists today. In the beginning it was a very small cemetery, and in 1910 it was considerably increased. In 1911 a big stone cross was put up. The cemetery still has graves of last noble landlords of Herešin – family Brebrić (Andrija Brebrić was a councilman of Koprivnica in 1848) and between 1965 and 1974 money was collected to put up a concrete fence around the cemetery. The Herešin Local Board plans to build a mortuary for the cemetery.