Interesting Cemeteries Around the World
If you enjoy visiting cemeteries, you might be surprised that there are so many around the world to explore. More than final resting places, they are often the only green spaces for miles around. They’re also touchpoints for the community, serving as public parks, sacred spaces and even tourist destinations.
Planning a trip sometime soon? Consider this list of notable cemeteries when making your travel plans.
- Père-Lachaise- Paris, France: Established by the emperor Napoleon in 1804, this cemetery is interesting primarily because of all the people who are buried there. The list of who’s who includes writers (Balzac, Proust, Richard Wright, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and Alice Toklas); singers (Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison); artists (Delacroix, Ingres, Modigliani, Corot and Seurat) and composers Chopin and Bizet.
- Merry Cemetery- Sapanta, Romania: The hundreds of graves at Merry Cemetery are painted blue, adorned with a carved oak cross, and decorated with a scene depicting the life of the person who has died as well as an accompanying poem. The carpenter who carves the markers also composes the poems — and some of these even contain jokes.
- St. Louis No. 1- New Orleans, Louisiana: The water table in New Orleans makes above-ground tombs a must, and this beautiful property feels like a city of white-washed crypts. Some have statues, some feature wrought-iron gates, and one hosts the cemetery’s most famous resident: 19th-century voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
- La Recoleta Cemetery- Buenos Aires, Argentina: This major tourist attraction in Argentina’s capital city is surrounded by a wall and filled with elaborately carved tombs and Italian statuary, making it resemble a city within the city. It was founded in 1822, and many famous people are buried there, including Eva Perón.
- Old Jewish Cemetery- Prague, Czech Republic: Used continuously from the beginning of the 15 th century until 1787, this cemetery is unusual in that it expanded upward rather than spreading out. It’s estimated that 100,000 people are buried there, but with 12,000 tombstones on top of all the others.
- Highgate Cemetery- London, England: Highgate feels as much a nature reserve as a final resting place. Trees, shrubs and flowers grow wild, sheltering native wildlife including foxes. Monuments date back to 1839 and mark graves of such notables as George Eliot, Karl Marx and Malcolm McLaren.
- Bonaventure Cemetery– Savannah, Georgia: Notable for being featured on the cover of John Berendt’s best-seller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this lush cemetery was once a plantation. There are 100 acres to explore, with southern Gothic-style tombstones amidst ferns, flowers, dwarf palmetto, and long moss trees. It’s beautiful and haunting, and well worth taking a walking tour or just exploring on your own.
- Waverly Cemetery- Sydney, Australia: Many famous Australians are buried here, but the best part of the Waverley Cemetery is its cliff-top view. The cemetery, which opened in 1877, sits on 40 acres overlooking the South Pacific.
Like those listed above, Evergreen is in a category of its own. The cemetery’s rich history began in 1907 when burials inside the city were prohibited and many from the main cemetery were relocated. Today, Evergreen hosts many of the pioneers who settled this area.