Nida Ethnographic Cemetery and Krikštai

Nidos etnografinės kapinės ir krikštai
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Pamario g. 43, Nida

Nida Evangelical Lutheran Church neighbours Nida Ethnographic Cemetery, dating back to the 19th and 20th c. The ethnographic cemetery has Krikštai, wooden grave markers that were common in the Curonian Spit and have survived until this day in their original forms.
Krikštai are some of the oldest forms of grave markers in Lithuania. They were made out of thick, differently-shaped wood boards. Krikštai are reminiscent of a tree due to their silhouettes. Birds were frequently carved on their edges. Krikštai had far more functions than just to be a sign of a dead person. It was thought that Krikštai were an image of a mythological world tree, connecting all the parts of the universe. In a spiritual sense, it is the way a spirit or a prayer takes to go to the paradise or the heavenly spheres. It is also interesting that when making Krikštai for men, those trees whose names have a masculine gender were used, e.g. an oak, a birch tree and an ash tree, while those with a feminine gender, e.g. a fir tree, an aspen and a linden tree, were used for women. Krikštai for men had heads of horses and motives of plants and birds carved, while the grave markers for women had birds as well as the motives of plants and a heart. In Lithuania Minor, Krikštai were always placed by the feet of a dead person so that “he would have something to hold onto when rising on the day of the Last Judgement.” Eduardas Jonušas carried out the restoration project for Krikštai. The restored Krikštai have been placed in the furthermost corner of the cemetery.
The cemetery is open for visitors. The cemetery is also the resting place for the famous sponsor for artists Hermann Blode, the builder and priest of Nida Evangelical Lutheran Church Gustav Echternach and the honorary citizens, namely, the architect Algimantas Zaviša, the artist Eduardas Jonušas and the city mayor Stasys Mikelis.