Vagankovo Cemetery

One of Moscow's better known cemeteries, Vagankovo had originally emerged as a burial ground for plague victims at the end of the 17th century. Plague deaths were rare at ordinary times and church and monastery graveyards had been sufficient before the 1771 plague epidemic. With people dying on a massive scale, Count Grigory Orlov, who spearheaded the anti-plague effort, decided to move the mass graves outside the city, to Vagankovo Village and elsewhere. The plague was eventually forgotten, and Vagankovo became a regular cemetery within city limits.

The city continued to expand. In the 19th century land became quite expensive, and ordinary people could no longer afford to be buried at Vagankovo. Only Muscovites of consequence could, the likes of baker Ivan Filippov, whose bread was acclaimed as the best in Moscow. They began burying eminent artists, athletes and scientists at Vagankovo in the 20th century. The poets Sergei Yesenin and Vladimir Vysotsky were buried here, as were artist Vasily Surikov, physiologist Kliment Timiryazev, footballers Eduard Streltsov and Lev Yashin, and many other celebrities. Many tombstones here are genuine works of art by famous sculptors and artists. These days the Vagankovo Cemetery is a beautiful necropolis, overgrown with oaks and poplars