Although visiting a cemetery may not have been on your top travel bucket list, you’d be surprised by some of the beautiful and intriguing cemeteries that exist around the world! Some stand almost like city parks, featuring wandering paths and lush greenery. Others are interesting because of the graves themselves, or the people that are buried there.
Some countries have entire festivals within cemeteries. For holidays such as Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, natives of the country come together to celebrate the life of their passed loved ones with altars, food, music, and dancing. These are cultural experiences you won’t want to miss out on.
Today, we’d like to take you on a tour around the world to different cemeteries we feel are worth a visit! Check out our top four cemeteries to see around the world!
#1 Mount Auburn, Cambridge, Massachusetts
There are quite a few well-known American names that are interred in this graveyard, including the co-founder of Harvard Medical School Benjamin Waterhouse, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and more. However, more than the people who are buried here, it is the setting where they lay that is of interest. Overlooking the city of Boston, this beautiful cemetery features wandering paths, towering oaks and maples, and a stunning view of the foliage during fall time. Follow the walkways up its many rolling hills, and see how this cemetery has truly become a place for the living to enjoy.
#2 Merry Cemetery, Romania
Located in Săpânța, Maramureş county, this surprisingly cheerful place features colourfully decorated gravestones with anecdotes from the person’s life (and death!) or ironic quotes and poems. The paintings and words carved by Stan Ioan Pătraş, and for the last three decades by his apprentice Dumitru Pop, are the true-life stories of the people who are buried here. The small town where this cemetery is found has interred nearly all of its inhabitants in this one site, and it is not surprising that their stories are displayed for all the world to see. Because in a small town like this, who doesn’t already know the details of their lives?
To get to the Merry Cemetery, head to the main street of Săpânța, then follow the signs that direct you when to turn. If you are heading in direction Siget, you will be taking a right turn.
#3 Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic
Have you ever visited Prague? If not, now you have anther reason to do so. Over 12,000 gravestones stand nearly on top of each other in this overly crowded graveyard, and it is rumoured that there are over 100,000 graves beneath them. A lack of space for burials may have caused this overcrowded cemetery to become what it is today. This ancient place dates back to the 1400’s, and was in operation until the late 1700’s, thus making it the oldest Jewish graveyard still in existence today. The headstones are rough, with time etched into their facades and the elements having taken their toll. It is an incredible experience to witness in person.
Entrance to the cemetery is included in the price of the Jewish Museum ticket, which is CZK 300. If you wish to take pictures, it will cost an additional CZK 70.
#4 Pere-Lachaise, Paris, France
There is a good reason why this cemetery is so well-known, drawing more than 200,000 visitors each year. With so many famous people buried within its walls, no wonder people want to visit! If you’re interested in history, then find the graves of people like Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Max Ernst, Chopin, Proust, Isadora Duncan, and so many more. See how delicate and beautifully made the graves are as you stroll through the area. Oscar Wilde’s grave, in particular, is very interesting, featuring an Egyptian-style sculpture of a man who is flying. Besides the historical value, this cemetery is actually quite beautiful, featuring long, wandering paths and beautiful greenery. Especially in autumn, with the trees turning lovely hues of red and orange, you will find this is a beautiful resting place for the many inhabitants of the cemetery.
The metro lines 2 and 3 both stop at the Pere Lachaise station, allowing you easy access to the cemetery. Enter through the Boulevard de Menilmontant and get a cemetery map in the office. Visiting this lovely place is free, making it great for those seeing Paris on a budget.
So where is your next travel destination?
If you’re heading anywhere near the sites we’ve mentioned above, it’s a great idea to get the full cultural experience and visit one of these fascinating cemeteries!