Most of these cemeteries are actually tourist attractions, and are visited by many tourists annually. You would begin questioning who would want to see things like this. Surprising as it seems, but there are actually many tadophiles in the world, some that enjoy and are fascinated by cemeteries and the whole idea of death. It’s like they’re more connected with the past and are trying to value life even more.
Thanks to the Association for Gravestone Studies, and the cemetery centric groups and pages that can be found on the internet, we’ve made this list of one of the most beautifully considered cemeteries in the world. Some of which are visited by many tourists in an annual basis. These hauntingly captivating cemeteries offer more than just mortality.
Islamc Cemetery – Austria
Starting our list with the newest build cemetery, the Islamic one, in Austria’s westernmost state of Woralbelg. This cemetery has an authentic and minimalistic look. It’s designed by the Bernardo Bader Architects in 2011 and was also a winner of the Aga Khan Award. It has a totally different look from the cemeteries we got used to, and the ones mentioned below as well. The unique and young look makes it so popular and also another interesting thing is how it’s constructed so that there are little spaces left so that the sunlight beams are able to pierce through the wooden accents.
Highgate Cemetery – England
Continuing our search with some older cemeteries, some from the Victorian Era, and on our list got – the well known Highgate cemetery in England. This cemetery drags attention to the amazing Gothic structure and the many architectural features like the Circle of Lebanon, the Egyptian Avenue, and the Terrace Catacomb. There are guided tours every day here, and the weekdays are the busiest ones, with tours on every half an hour. You need to pre-book if you want to spend some of your weekend time here. Many pay to visit these amazing statues, and Gothic tombs and witness the amazing natural landscaping that is surrounding the whole place too. No kids under the age of seven are allowed to join the tour. And I’ve almost forgotten to mention the unrivalled view of London that is set from here. Also, among the 170,000 people that are buried here, Karl Marx, the great philosopher and the founder of the Marxist theory rests his bones in this very cemetery as well.
South Park Street Cemetery – India
Moving to the place that was an English colonial for many years, India, and the South Park Street Cemetery. It is founded in 1767 and nowadays provides a glimpse of those former colonial times. The mixture of the monumental Gothic and Indo-Saracen style is simply amazing and along with the tropical fauna that has overgrown the place over the years, looks enchanting. There are many colonial rulers that wanting to assert themselves even in death are buried under some magnificent monuments, or tombs like the one of the Major General Charles Stuart (one of the British rulers that embraces Hindu culture), which resembles a typical Hindu temple surrounded by deity stone carving.
Waverley Cemetery – Australia
And moving through the ocean to the country-state of Australia and the Waverley Cemetery. On the spectacular coastal walk from Bondi to Coognee there is no way to miss and not spot this amazing collection of Edwardian and Victorian monuments found in the cemetery that is perched up on the cliff. And the horizon towards the ocean from the cliff, under the unceasingly sunny sky, is just gorgeous. Many influential people are buried here, including the famous Australian poet Henry Lawson, and the writer Dorothea Mackellar. There are 11 civil War soldiers who emigrated after their service and almost 200 veterans buried here too.
Merry Cemetery – Romania
The Merry cemetery in Romania is the most unique one in the world. This oxymoron in the name is also picked up in the graveyard. The locals hold a peculiar tradition of writing epigraphs using poetry and imagery to relay the deceased’s manner or to discover a dirty secret, also this reveals some of the realities of the life in the town of Sapanta where the burial sites are identified. And not only that, but another interesting fact is the brightly coloured crosses where the epigraph and the images are placed that bring about that merry look even more. The mixture of the epigraphs and the mixture of colours don’t give an appeal like you’re in cemetery at all. The tradition of crafting these cryptic and comedic crosses dates back from 1935 from the artist Stan Loan Patras, and it grew up as a tradition for the residents of this tiny village in Maramures thanks to Sumitu Pop – Patras’s apprentice that continued his teacher’s craft since 1977.
Panteo Antiguou – Mexico
Panteo Antiguou, Mexico. The cemetery is 15 minutes outside the city of Oaxaca and is named – Xoxo, built by the Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. There is a tradition the locals still make for the Day of the Dead, or more known as Halloween. All the graves are decorated with bright orange flowers, especially Mexican marigolds, known as cempasuchitl, many candles, figurines and food. The whole cemetery is lightened by the many candles that surround every grave. And the whole family members gather up that night and while listening to the mariachis and tasting the food they brought they are waiting for the dead to rise from the graves and join them for dinner. What a creepy tradition, isn’t it?
Nepture Memorial Reef – Florida
Did you ever consider that there might be an underwater cemetery too? Well, there is this one of a kind. The Underwater cemetery found under the Nepture Memorial Reef, some 5 km off Kay Biscayne in Florida. This one is one amazing man-made reef from where the concrete sculptures like ornate columns and the regal lions containing the ashes of the loved ones are cast and placed in the underwater lost city, which is 12 metres below the sea. This place in free to visit and is a great attraction for all scuba divers, but in order to access it you’ll need a boat only. Or try some of the scuba- diving excursions offered by The Tarpoon Dive Centre.
Greenwood Cemetery – New York
The Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York is probably the most urban Garden for New Yorkers. This burial ground is built back in 1832 and was after the Niagara Falls the second most frequented attraction. It is one pastoral haven, with 8000 trees in it, 478 acres of ponds and rolling hills. Also, it represents America’s largest collection of mausoleums and statues from the 19th and 20th century and has an amazing sight too. Now the Central park is one step before on the scale of the attractions.
Milan Monumental Cemetery – Italy
The best cemetery in an architectural way would be definitely the Milan Monumental Cemetery in Italy. It actually resembles an open air museum, and the Fameido, the great marble and stone construction which is at the entrance is the best highlight, containing some of the most illustrious citizens, like Alessandro Manzoni. The wealthiest family members from Milan rest here and their closest ones have made an effort to enlist some of Italy’s finest architects in order to build amazing elaborate memorials. There are guided tours that take you and explain you the artistic side of this place.
Bonaventure Cemetery – Savannah
Going across the ocean to Georgia and the Bonaventure Cemetery yard in Savannah. This grave yard represents one of Savannah’s most hauntingly beautiful sights. It was once a plantation and also you’ll recognise it from the cover of the bestselling novels – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. There are walking tours around the place every weekend, and for the ones that want to experience a much spookier walk, they can join the midnight tour, or the so called “Bonaventure after Hours Tour”. What is captivating about this graveyard are the tombstones in a southern Gothic style, which are all framed by flowers, dwarfs palmettos, long moss trees or ferns.
Old Jewish Cemetery – Czech Republic
Back in Europe in the Czech Republic, the Old Jewish Cemetery draws our attention. These old Jewish cemetery graves are dating back from the 15th century. Standing by the Jewish ban on moving heavy stones or destroying graves, new graves were elevated on the existing ones. Today, there are around 12,000 visible headstones, but approximately 100,000 bodies buried beneath these grave stones. It is considered that there are around 12 layers of graves beneath the ground. Terrible fact, isn’t it?
Recoleta Cemetery – Argentina
The place where the famous for the Argentineans, Eva Peron will spend her eternity, the famous Recoleta Cemetery in Argentina. Her monument is amazing black marble crypt and is always showered with flowers. This graveyard is considered as a prized burial site for the well-off Porteños. It was founded in 1822, and nowadays is full with vaulted tombs, today there are around 6400 in fact, and 70 of them are deemed historical monuments. The whole architecture reflects the Golden era, the time when Buenos Aires was one of the world’s most affluent cities. It was a long time ago, sometime between the 1880-1930s.
Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise – France
And the last on our list is probably the most famous graveyard in the world, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise, in France. This one attracts around 1.5 annual tourists. This only proves how amazing everything in Paris is. Even the cemetery gets bigger attention than many other worldwide cities get. The views of the place and the haunting statues and mausoleums, along with the Haussmannian chambers are only part of the awesomeness of the whole place. There are some respectful stars that are buried here, like the grand composer Chopin, the musician Jim Morrison of the famous Doors, another singer Edit Piaf, actress Sarah Bernhart, and the writers Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust. From artists, to singers and other musicians, this all represents as a one huge celebrity pot, where sooner or later everyone will end up.
Here we end our list of spooky, but at the same time scenic and with a magical view and look cemeteries. Who would’ve thought that the graveyards might become top tourist attractions in certain places? All of the above 13 mentioned are already in the list of attractions or next to visit places for most adventurers. It’s a matter of time only when someone will pay them a visit.