Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Dappled sunlight decorates tree-lined paths amid grandiose
mausoleums and tombs. Join the 3.5million visitors who visit this
graveyard each year and soak up some history at one of the three
World War One memorials. Take a detour down a cobblestoned lane and
visit the graves of celebrities such as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison,
Edith Piaf and Chopin.
Known for one very loyal canine, multiple books and films have
been made about the life of Greyfriars’ Bobby, a Skye terrier who
spent every day for 14 years guarding his owner’s grave at Kirkyard
cemetery. More recently, J. K. Rowling has admitted to roaming
round the graves for inspiration for Harry Potter names. If you
look carefully, you can spot the grave of a Thomas Riddell Esq. and
a William McGonagall. A statue commemorates him just outside the
graveyard, which is thought to bring good luck to those who touch
it – put your scepticism aside and give his nose a good rub.
Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
Situated in the ancient village of Koyasan in the mountainous
Wakayama Prefecture, Okunoin
cemetery has been deemed one of the most spiritual places in
Japan. The graves of over 200,000 Buddhist monks line the
two-kilometre pathway leading up to the tomb of Kukai, the founder
of Shingon Buddhism. Believed to be resting in eternal meditation,
visitors wander down the lantern-lit path in order to ask for
salvation from the Buddhist master. Dating back to 816AD, a thick,
mossy forest surrounds the graveyard, adding to the cemetery’s
Pitched in a small commune in a northern corner of Romania,
Merry Cemetery proves that graveyards are not always filled
with doom and gloom. Here, each grave is decorated with joyous
tributes to the deceased in a tradition started by local artist
Stan Ioan Patras in 1935. Producing personalised, colourful
paintings, devotional rhymes and ornately carved crosses to
memorialise the departed, the grounds are a marked break from
austere cemetery custom. Look out for those epitaphs that border on
facetious with some referring to drinking and cheating, and others
cracking mother-in-law jokes.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Once a simple church orchard,
La Recoleta is now one of the most famous cemeteries in Latin
America, if not the world. Filled with graves, tombs and mausoleums
of myriad architectural styles, the faded stone surroundings
provide a stark contrast to the lively atmosphere of Buenos Aires.
Dating back to 1822, the cemetery’s 6400 graves include that of the
famous First Lady Eva Perón, past Argentinian presidents and Nobel
Prize winners. However, its most visited grave is home to
19-year-old Rufine Cambaceres, who died in 1902. According to
legend, her grave was opened after screams were heard coming from
inside, only to find scratch marks covering the inside as evidence
of her failed attempt to escape.
With overgrown trees, flitting birds, slinking foxes, towering
obelisks and ancient cedar trees, Highgate
Cemetery belongs more in a Disney film than suburban North
London. A haven for twitchers, history lovers and young couples
taking romantic strolls (it’s surprisingly romantic), explore over
53,000 gothic tombs, keeping your eyes peeled for notable residents
such as Lucien Freud, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl
Mount of Olives
Rows upon rows of sand-coloured tombs rest in tonal unison with
the Jerusalem desert that lies east of the Mount
of Olives. The oldest graveyard in Jerusalem, the cemetery has
been in use for more than 3,000 years and is almost at its capacity
with over 70,000 tombs. The crowning jewel of Mount of Olives is
the Silwan Necropolis, where some of the highest-ranking rabbis,
prophets and politicians of the city rest in tombs cut between the
ninth and seventh centuries BCE.
Situated on the Wilmington River amid gnarled Southern oak trees
and sweeping Spanish moss,
Bonaventure graveyard is a tranquil spot of decorative tombs
and statues. Visitors hoping to find the Bird Girl sculpture – seen
on the front cover of the 1994 John Berendt novel, Midnight – will
leave disappointed as the statue has been moved to a local museum.
Instead, keep an eye out for the tomb of Little Gracie, a
six-year-old girl who died of pneumonia in 1889. Her grave is
marked by a carving of her by sculptor John Waltz and is said to be
an exact liking. Often covered with flowers and children’s toys, it
is the most visited site in the cemetery.
Neptune Memorial Reef
Forty-feet under the sea off the coast of Miami, Neptune
Memorial Reef is one of the world’s more unusual cemeteries.
Accessible only by boat, the graveyard is the largest man-made reef
in the world. The concrete tombs and sculptures are reminiscent of
Plato’s Atlantis, creating an eerily beautiful underwater realm.
Although primarily a cemetery, the Memorial Reef also hopes to
transform 16 acres of barren ocean floor into a thriving ecosystem.
By banning fishing in the area and building structures to help
support corals and algae, the reef ensures that the project is
Los Angeles, California
Since its creation in 1899, Hollywood
Forever has been a popular location for community events, often
hosting music concerts and film screenings in association with
Paramount Studios which is located at the back of the plot. Famous
for its notable residents, visitors can search for the tombs of
Mickey Rooney, Mel Blanc and Bugsy Siegel and since 2017, Judy
Garland. Although the Hollywood legend died in 1969, she was moved
from her original burial spot in New
York to be placed in the beautiful ivy-covered Judy Garland
Pavilion years later.