People typically visit a cemetery when they are paying respects to a lost loved one. However, there are some cemeteries that are so famous that tourists visit them out of pure curiosity. From centuries-old graveyards to iconic sites that have appeared in movies, these are some of the most intriguing cemeteries around the world.
Saint Andrews Cathedral Graveyard Dates Back To 1158 A.D.
History buffs will appreciate a trip to St. Andrews Cathedral Graveyard in Scotland. The cemetery is part of a Roman Catholic Cathedral built in 1158! The property fell to ruins in 1561, yet the stunning structures are still standing tall.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) currently protects and cares for the property, which was only the largest church ever built in Scotland. The remaining tower is 108 feet tall and experts estimate that the church was 390 feet long.
The Merry Cemetery Has Unusual Tombstones
Cemeteries are usually dark places devoid of color, but that isn’t the case at The Merry Cemetery in Romania. The cemetery is famous for its vivid tombstones, which feature naïve artwork that pokes fun at the person buried.
To go along with the paintings are poems that describe the individuals resting beneath the tombstones. The cemetery also features several hundred carved and colorful crosses. The lighthearted approach to death stems from the local belief in an immortal soul.
Okunoin Cemetery Is The Largest In Japan
Okunoin Cemetery is located in the midst of a stunning forest on the side of Mount Koya in Japan. It’s not only famed for its exquisite design, but also for being the burying place of Shingon Buddhism founder Kobo Daishi.
For that reason, many followers of Daishi make a pilgrimage to the site and often wish to be buried there. It’s no surprise then that Okunoin is the largest cemetery in Japan, and that the tombs often feature Buddha statues.
Panteón Antiguo de Xoxocotlán Is A Tourist Hotspot
The Panteón Antiguo de Xoxocotlán is famed for its festivities on Día de Los Muertos. The graves are loaded with vibrant flowers, candles, and the deceased person’s favorite foods as part of the holiday.
The cemetery is located in the small city of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, which is known for preserving such ancient traditions. As such, many tourists pay a visit to the cemetery to observe the traditions behind Día de Los Muertos and be a part of vigils.
Neptune Memorial Reef Turns Ashes Into Part Of The Reef
Neptune Memorial Reef technically isn’t a cemetery, but rather an underwater columbarium. The ashes of the deceased are mixed with cement to form the man-made reef. Located 3.25 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida, the reef is home to many sea creatures.
The cremation memorial site may be underwater, but it still had to be designed to withstand the strongest hurricanes. With a style inspired by the lost city of Atlantis, the reef is a popular diving spot.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Was In Easy Rider
Louisiana’s St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 grew famous after its appearance in the 1969 classic film Easy Rider. It is the first of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans and is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
The cemetery was established in 1789 and is the burial place of New Orlean’s first mayor, Homer Plessy. Another famous figure who laid to rest here is Voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. Today, tourists must take a private tour to observe the property.
Cimetière du Père Lachaise Is The Largest Cemetery In Paris
Spanning 110 acres, Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris, France. Established in 1804, it was also the first garden cemetery in Paris. But its size and style aren’t why this cemetery is so famous.
Tourists flock to Cimetière du Père Lachaise largely because of the greats who are buried there. These include poet Oscar Wilde, composer Frederic Chopin, painter Amedeo Modigliani, and rock legend Jim Morrison. The cemetery attracts more than three million visitors a year!
Waverley Cemetery Has Ocean Views
One of the most famous cemeteries in Australia is Waverley Cemetery. Located on a cliff in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, it boasts panoramic ocean views. In addition to being visually appealing, the cemetery also has a rich history.
It’s been around since 1877 and is the resting place of more than 80,000 deceased individuals. Some of the famed names that are buried in these grounds include the legendary cricketer Victor Trumper and poet Henry Lawson.
Calvary Cemetery Was In The Godfather
Calvary Cemetery sits on 365 acres stretched across Queens in New York. The spot has beautiful cityscape views of Manhattan. Its three million burials make it the most occupied cemetery in the United States.
A large number of these burials are New York mobsters, such as Natale “Joe Diamond” Evola, Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano, and Ciro “the Artichoke King” Terranova. Fittingly, the cemetery was the filming location for a burial scene in the mobster film The Godfather.
Highgate Cemetery Is A Nature Reserve
Highgate Cemetery features a circular design with Gothic tombs that look like they could be a part of a movie set. The structure has a meta-twist: not do the tombs form a circle, but the cemetery itself is part of a large circle of seven cemeteries around London!
It dates back to the 19th century and is the resting place of more than 170,000 deceased, including the famous Karl Marx. The ivy-covered property is also deemed a nature reserve.
Cementerio General Has Millions Of Burials
While many of the cemeteries on this list have thousands of burials, Chile’s Cementerio General is one of the few in the world with millions. The more than two million individuals who have been laid to rest here make it one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America!
Established in 1821, the cemetery covers more than 200 acres of land. Many of Chile’s most noteworthy individuals are buried here, including most of the country’s former presidents.
Punta Arenas Cemetery Is At Capacity
Punta Arenas Cemetery pops with its miles of bright white tombs and mausoleums. The cemetery is the resting place of some of Chile’s most elite individuals. One such figure even had a gate built at one of the entrances just so it could remain permanently closed after she passed it.
Established just before the turn of the 20th century, Punta Arenas Cemetery has been at capacity for some time. Once its almost 10 acres filled up, builders added a northern location.
South Park Street Cemetery Has Western Influences
Located in Kolkata, India, South Park Street Cemetery is a hotspot for tourists who love soaking in the local architecture. It was built in 1767 and features tombs that mix Gothic and Indo-Saracenic styles, reflecting the Western influence of the time.
The cemetery hasn’t been in use since 1830, and is now a heritage site. Two thousand graves and tombs span the grounds. Fun fact: Charles Dicken’s son, Walter Landor Dickens, has a tombstone at South Park Street Cemetery.
Bonaventure Cemetery Was In A Clint Eastwood Film
Bonaventure Cemetery covers 100 acres of what used to be a plantation. Located in Savannah, Georgia, the cemetery is rich with Gothic monuments. The lush greenery from oak trees and Spanish moss make it a site fit for Hollywood.
Clint Eastwood helped popularize the cemetery by featuring it in his 1997 film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The movie was actually based on a novel of the same name, which also referenced the cemetery.
Cementerio de la Recoleta Is Buenos Aires’ First Public Cemetery
One of the most popular tourist spots in Buenos Aires is the city’s first public cemetery, Cemeterio de la Recoleta. The extravagant tombs look like mansion entrances with their marble surfaces and elaborate detailing.
With roughly 6,000 mausoleums over 14 acres, there’s plenty to explore on these grounds, especially for those who know a thing or two about Argentina’s history. The cemetery is the burial spot for several Argentinian presidents, writers, physicians, and other prominent figures.
Mount Of Olives Jewish Cemetery Is Thousands Of Years Old
With around 100,000 tombs on full display, the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery is quite a sight to behold. Its sloped landscape offers a fantastic view of not only the widespread tombs, but also Jerusalem’s Old City.
People have been buried at this site for more than 3,000 years, making it the resting place of countless historical figures. To take in all that the view has to offer, visitors can ride a camel to the top of Mount of Olives.
Mirogoj Cemetery Is A Popular Attraction In Croatia’s Capital
Mirogoj Cemetery in Croatia has a completely different feel than many of the cemeteries on this list. The main building was established in 1876, but the jaw-dropping arcades and cupolas were added in the years that followed.
The stunning design and the famous Croatians buried there have made Mirogoj Cemetery one of the most popular attractions in Zagreb, the capital city. It also stands out for being city-owned rather than church-owned, and thereby accepting individuals of all religious affiliations.
Arlington National Cemetery Is An Active Duty Burial Site
Arlington National Cemetery is located across from Washington D.C. and consists of 639 acres of burial ground. It is here that fallen soldiers dating as far back as the Civil War are laid to rest.
Still, it wasn’t until 2014 that the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Around 400,000 graves are at this site, making it a stunning reminder of those who have given their lives to fight for the United States.
Maqbaratoshoara Is A Mausoleum Of Poets
Located in Tabriz, Iran, Maqbaratoshoara is a mausoleum specifically dedicated to poets, and the first to be buried here was Asadi Tusi. The cemetery was built in the 1970s and features an ornate design that sets it apart from any other cemetery around the world.
Though Maqbaratoshoara is the burial site for many noteworthy poets, it isn’t limited to just these individuals. Noteworthy calligraphers, activists, scientists, and other important figures have also been laid to rest here over the years.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Doubles As A Music Venue
As the name implies, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting spot of some of the most prominent figures in Hollywood history. This includes actress Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino, and so many more.
One thing that makes this cemetery unlike the rest is that it’s often used as a music venue. Concerts are held on the property’s large lawns and movie screenings aren’t uncommon, either. The 40-acre cemetery is fittingly located on the same block as Paramount Pictures studios.