Halloween: 10 most beautiful cemeteries
Halloween is a holiday when Americans expertly turn everything to do with death into a farce. In October, cemetery-like installations with thread webs and toy bats appear on the lawns in front of American (and now many European) homes, and witches and vampires of all ages roam the streets. The funny isn’t scary. While malls are energetically capitalizing on this masquerade-boosting boom, we decided to round up a dozen real cemeteries worthy of attention. Don’t miss the opportunity to include them in your travel agenda; they’re authentic, sophisticated and steeped in history. And an added bonus, many are free.
Arlington, Virginia, USA Arlington, VA 22211
Arlington National Cemetery is located just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, next to the Pentagon. It is accessible by subway to the Arlington Cemetery station.
It appeared during the American Civil War as a military cemetery. According to recent data, there are 400,000 burials here, including U.S. presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.
After World War I, the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, a large white sarcophagus, which is guarded by an honor guard of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment around the clock. The Changing of the Guard ritual takes place every hour from October through March and every half hour from April through September.
You’ll definitely recognize the even rows of identical white slabs in the middle of the green grass from American movies. All are equal before eternity.
Paris, France avenue Rachel 20, closest metro station – Blanche
Paris’s most famous dead go to the ornate Père Lachaise, and bohemians gather at the Cimetière de Montmartre. The square in front of the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur has long been a tourist attraction, where people from art schools all over Europe paint at speed. So the real creative Montmartre remains only here.
The grave of dancer and choreographer Vaclav Nijinsky is recognizable by the statue, he is depicted as Petrushka. Also buried here are Edgar Degas, Alexandre Dumas the son, Stendhal and Heinrich Heine. The grave of Emile Zola is empty, the ashes have been transferred to the Pantheon. It is also where the singer Dalida found refuge.
As the apartment of a Parisian is decorated with lovely trinkets, and after his death, loved ones bring nice things to the tombstone: statuettes, vases of fresh flowers, lampades.
Milan, Italy Piazza le Cimitero Monumentale, nearest metro stations – M2 Garibaldi, M5 Monumentale
It was as if they wanted to make a park, but overdid the sculptures. The cemetery in Milan was created shortly after the unification of Italy to provide a suitable resting place for “famous and dignified people”.
Walking around, one realizes that good taste implies sophistication and individuality in every detail, both during and after life. The sculptor has successfully worked hard to make the visitor linger, looking at the group “The Last Supper” above the crypt of the Campari family (the famous drink bears the surname of its creator). There is irony in some of the sculptures: some tombstones and family crypts are designed to look like a tower of Babel or an Egyptian pyramid. It’s hard to know what the clients were thinking when they chose this option. And among the angels raising their eyes and lowering their wings is a rectangular glass object, like the cabin of a panoramic elevator.
Zakopane, Poland Krupówki 1a
You will find this old cemetery in the center of Zakopane, in the street behind the old wooden church of the Częstochowa Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day when you want to take a break from skiing or trekking in the Polish Tatras.
The Merit Cemetery is more like an open-air arts and crafts museum. Dozens of tombstones are unique works of art in wood, metal or stone, with chapels, mountain crosses, carvings and murals on glass. Many of them were created in the art studio of Vladislav Khazior.
In this cemetery with huge live trees and moss-covered boulders, decorated with names and dates, you gradually feel that you find yourself in a magical fairy tale. It seems that the cemetery itself also grows out of the ground.
Lvov, Ukraine Mechnikova str. 33
Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, German, Greek, Armenian, Dutch, Romanian, Latin – it seems that these are not all languages, in which inscriptions are written in Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. If you see a bricklayer with a huge jackhammer, you should know that Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko lies here. Young Orpheus with a harp in his hands sits on the tomb of world-famous opera singer Solomy Krushelnytska.
During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the law stipulated a 25-year period for the preservation of graves, for which no one took care or paid for the place. Then the monument was sent to the stone crusher, and the space was cleared for a new burial. Such a pragmatic eternity.
London, UK Swain’s Ln, Highgate
You’ll find the Victorian-era monument in the cozy Highgate neighborhood in the northern part of the city. It’s an intriguing chapter of London’s history. A private cemetery for the wealthy dead, a fashionable place in the late nineteenth century. In the western part of the cemetery there is an Egyptian street with obelisks, a Lebanese ring with a huge Lebanese cedar in the middle, Gothic grottos, and themed mausoleums. Vampire legends also belong to this part. The eastern part draws travelers to several famous guests, including Karl Marx, author of the multi-volume “Capital” and the call to unite proletarians of all nations, and award-winning musician George Michael.
The official website reports that “the cemetery is still open for burial, although the number of plots is limited. They may only be purchased for immediate use. Exceptions are possible if the applicant is over 80 years old or terminally ill.” Typical English humor.
Highgate consists of a west side and an east side. On the older and more luxurious western part, only guided tours are allowed (€ 13.5), weekdays by appointment, Saturday and Sunday no appointment necessary. Eastern you can look freely. Take buses number 143, 210 and 271 stop at Waterlow Park on Highgate Hill.
Sepinza Village, Romania
The Jolly Cemetery is a vivid and memorable sight in Romania’s Marmarosa. In 1935, a local woodcarver, inspired by a long-forgotten tradition, began filling this cemetery with a forest of colorful monuments. Each one bears a whimsical poem and a picture of the departed person behind the activity he (or she) loved during his or her lifetime.
Even if you don’t understand the poem, the images speak for them: weaver, loved bicycles, TV journalist, soldier, hit by car, killed by lightning, angry mother-in-law. It’s a vivid celebration of life, a chronicle of village history and a merry gobbledygook in the face of death. And it’s all painted in blue, to match the heavens where souls go.
It is located one kilometer from the Ukrainian-Romanian border, which runs across the Tisza River. You can get there by car from Solotvyno in Zakarpattya region.
This cemetery is an island in the Venetian lagoon, and you can get there by vaporetti № 41, 42 from the pier Fondamenta Nuove to the stop Cimetrio. This island had time to be a monastery and prison, and became a cemetery in 1807 by order of Napoleon. Bodies are brought to the island on special funeral gondolas.
Since 1995, the cemetery has accepted new burials for 10 or 20 years, depending on the site, or for 99 years for burials in family tombs. After that, the remains are either moved to other cemeteries or cremated, depending on the family’s wishes.
Composer Igor Stravinsky, organizer of the Russian Seasons in Paris Sergei Diaghilev and poet Joseph Brodsky are buried here.
Budapest, Hungary Fiumei út 16-18
Kerepesi Cemetery is located near the center of Budapest, near Keleti train station. An imperial sweep and unbridled imagination reign supreme here. Here on 56 hectares of greenery you can see enormous memorials and mausoleums, exquisite statues and secluded benches in the shade of tall trees. At Kerepesi, it’s safe to make a date. Quiet, secluded, and not at all scary.
Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey
The Necropolis (City of the Dead) of the ancient city of Hierapolis (Hierapolis), is called one of the best preserved in Turkey. More than two kilometers of late Hellenic, Roman and early Christian tombs. If you’re going to Pamukkale, plan a day to explore the good ruins of the ancient city, but not in summer – you’ll melt.
Here, despite earthquakes and looters, many marble sarcophagi decorated with bas-reliefs and inscriptions have survived. One of the epitaphs tells about Flavius Zeuxis who sailed around the Cape of Malea (Peloponnese) 72 times and the god Neptune protected him from storms and pirates. So the status of the successful traveler was in authority in the 1st century AD.
When you get tired of the lines at the ticket booths and want a break from the fake smiles at instagram places and pompous waiters at fancy cafes, don’t turn down the ghosts – go to the cemetery.
The most amazing and beautiful cemeteries in the world
No one is surprised that visits to cemeteries are included in the excursion programs in many cities of the world. In this case the cemeteries themselves can sometimes surprise – tourists who appreciate architecture and unusual works of art, as well as a quiet, contemplative rest, find a lot of interesting things in local cemeteries. We publish here a list of the most surprising and beautiful, in our opinion, cemeteries around the world.
1. Père Lachaise Cemetery, France, Paris
Today this cemetery in the east of Paris is probably the most famous cemetery in the world. During the year it is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists. However, it was not always like this: in 1804, when the authorities allocated a place for it, Parisians did not want to bury their relatives there just because of its low fame. The Paris City Hall took an unprecedented step: the ashes of the writer Molière and two legendary lovers, Abelard and Heloise, were moved to Père-Lachaise. Since then, many world-famous people have found their last resting place here – Honore de Balzac, Frederic Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau and many other figures of literature and art, as well as famous politicians.
2. Arlington National Cemetery, USA
The largest military cemetery in the world is located in Arlington, a suburb of the U.S. capital Washington. In addition to participants in wars and various military conflicts, which the U.S. has conducted around the world since 1865, presidents, chief justices of the Supreme Court, and American astronauts are buried in Arlington Cemetery. The cemetery covers an area of almost three square kilometers and currently has about 300,000 burials.
3. Pok Fu Lam Terrace Cemetery (Pok Fu Lam), China, Hong Kong
A Chinese Christian cemetery on the west side of Hong Kong Island in the shape of an amphitheatre. The overcrowded, rocky Hong Kong Island area prevented the expansion of the Pok Fu Lam Cemetery, which was founded in 1882, so Hong Kong Christians were forced to build terraced burial grounds on the mountainside, connecting them with alleyways and side streets. Over time, the cemetery began to resemble a giant outdoor amphitheater. Some of the graves are made with great artistic finesse.
4. Neptune Memorial Reef (Neptune Memorial Reef), USA.
The only underwater cemetery and crematorium in the world is an artificial reef off the U.S. east coast. It is the final resting place of those who were in some way connected with the sea – divers, sailors. The underwater territory of the reef occupies an area of 65,000 m2. The most famous burial – 86-year-old Edith Hink, a resident of Naples. Her relatives decided that Edith loved the sea enough to deserve to be buried in it.
5. Dargavs, “city of the dead”, Russia, North Ossetia
An ancient necropolis near the mountainous Ossetian village of Dargavs. There are 97 stone vaults, mostly in the form of pointed towers. According to legend, during epidemic of plague in the XIV century people came here by themselves, built crypts and waited for death. The necropolis is located on Mount Rabinyrang, which offers a picturesque panorama of the Caucasus Mountains.
6. Cementerio de La Recoleta, Argentina
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the capital of Argentina, and rightfully one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Here are the graves of many Argentine presidents and other famous people, the most famous is the grave of Eva Perón, the legendary woman, especially revered in Latin America. Eva Perón was an actress, the wife of the president of Argentina Juan Domingo Perón, and was herself much involved in politics. The cemetery is part of the National Museum of History. Among the sculptures in the cemetery there are many authentic works of art declared as national cultural and historical treasures.
7. “Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania
This strange “merry” cemetery was created in the 1930s by a distinctive local artist, Stan Ioan Patra. The crosses and wooden tombstones are decorated with humorous inscriptions and drawings in the genre of primitivism, depicting episodes of life (and sometimes death) of the buried, telling about their virtues and little weaknesses. As the artist believed, the joyful attitude toward death was a legacy of the Dacians, the ancestors of modern Romanians, who believed that death was only a transition to a better life.
8. Lychakiv Cemetery, Ukraine, Lviv
The cemetery was founded in 1786, in accordance with the decree of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Joseph II, who prohibited burying people in the city limits. Further fate of the city cemetery is unusual – in the XIX century it became a favorite place for walks and romantic dates of the citizens of Lviv, and in the XX century it became a place of pilgrimage of tourists. People are attracted by the great number (about 400,000) of sculptures, crypts and tombstones with inscriptions in Polish, German, Ukrainian, Russian, Hebrew, Latin, Armenian and some other languages of residents of international Lviv. Many of the monuments are monuments of art, Lychakiv Cemetery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
9. Wadi-us-Salaam (Wadi-us-Salaam), Iraq, An-Najaf
The largest Islamic cemetery in the world and one of the largest cemeteries in the world. At an area of 6 km2 there are about five million burials. Many Muslim prophets are buried here, near the tomb of Hazrat Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, the “Fourth Imam,” a shrine revered by Muslims worldwide.
10. “The hanging coffins of Sagada, Philippines
According to scientists, the mountain cemetery of the “hanging coffins” exists on the Philippine island of Luzon more than two thousand years. People of the Sogadian people bury their dead here. Now Sogadians are Christians, converted to the Catholic faith by the Spanish colonialists, but they refuse to commit the dead to the ground. Coffins hollowed out of solid timbers are prepared while the person is still alive, most often by the person himself, and if for some reason he cannot finish the work, the coffin is hollowed out by his relatives and friends. The ritual of burial includes a complicated procedure of taking the coffin with the body of the deceased to the cemetery located high in the mountains, on steep cliffs and fastening it on the rock. This is perhaps the most unusual cemetery on our list.
11. Sucre’s General Cemetery, Bolivia
Sucre’s General Cemetery is the most prestigious cemetery in Bolivia, the family of the deceased has to pay $10,000 for burial. However, for this money the deceased for seven years in a special vault, a kind of pantheon, and only then move into the ground, in an ordinary grave. True, not forever, but for the next twenty years, after which the grave is completely removed, there are many who wish to be buried in the cemetery in Sucre. Many Bolivian presidents are buried here, including Hilarion Daza, the infamous initiator of the war with Chile, after which Bolivia lost its access to the Pacific coast.