The Raadi cemetery is the oldest and largest burial ground in Tartu, dating back to 1773. Many prominent historical figures are buried there. It is also the largest Baltic German cemetery in Estonia after the destruction of Kopli cemetery in Tallinn. Until 1841, it was the only cemetery in the town.
Between 1771 and 1772, Catherine the Great, Russian empress issued an edict which decreed that from that point on no-one who died (regardless of their social standing or class origins) was to be buried in a church crypt or churchyard; all burials were to take place in the new cemeteries to be built throughout the entire Russian empire, which were to be located outside town boundaries.
The burial ground was officially opened on 5 November 1773 as the St. John's (town) parish cemetery. It also served as the University of Tartu burial ground. The St. Mary's (country) parish and Russian Orthodox Dormition congregation cemeteries were established north-west of the St. John's in the same year. It served as the only cemetery in the town until 1841.
Burials at the cemetery were drastically reduced after the transfer of Baltic German population over to western Poland in late 1939. Burials at the cemetery continued on a much smaller scale until 1944, principally among those Baltic Germans who had refused Hitler's call to leave the region.
By the beginning of the 21st century, the expansion of the town has passed beyond the borders of the cemetery and alternative burial grounds are established elsewhere in the town.References:
Kerameikos was the potters" quarter of the city, from which the English word 'ceramic' is derived, and was also the site of an important cemetery and numerous funerary sculptures erected along the road out of the city towards Eleusis.
The earliest tombs at the Kerameikos date from the Early Bronze Age (2700-2000 BC), and the cemetery appears to have continuously expanded from the sub-Mycenaean period (1100-1000 BC). In the Geometric (1000-700 BC) and Archaic periods (700-480 BC) the number of tombs increased; they were arranged inside tumuli or marked by funerary monuments. The cemetery was used incessantly from the Hellenistic period until the Early Christian period (338 BC until approximately the sixth century AD).
The most important Athenian vases come from the tombs of the Kerameikos. Among them is the famous “Dipylon Oinochoe”, which bears the earliest inscription written in the Greek alphabet (second half of the eighth century BC). The site"s small museum houses the finds from the Kerameikos excavations.