Visiting a cemetery. It’s not exactly like going to the beach, enjoying a fine meal or going shopping on vacation - and it’s probably not on the top of many travelers’ to-do lists for a holiday. Yet, there are some gorgeous cemeteries around the world that, for good reason, regularly make it onto tourist itineraries.
Although visiting a cemetery may seem like a morbid way to spend part of a trip, many are actually beautiful locations that can reveal important details about the history and the culture of an area. They can offer a relaxing respite to tourists who are weary of other busy tourist landmarks. On the other hand, some of these final resting places are architecturally quite impressive and are home to such noteworthy residents that they have become landmarks in their own right. Cemeteries in places such as Paris, London, Buenos Aires and New York have become must-see sites in the city. Many of these cemeteries are so beautiful and have such fascinating history that you might – almost - forget their actual purpose.
10 St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans, Louisiana
Established in the late 1700s, this is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and is listed on the National Register of Historic places in the U.S. The tombs at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are located above ground because New Orleans is situated below sea level. In earlier cemeteries, flooding had caused a problem for its inhabitants.
9 Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
When the wealthy residents of the city moved to the Recoleta neighborhood in the mid-1800s, they chose this centrally located cemetery as the final resting place of choice for their wealthy and illustrious family members. Presidents, military leaders, scientists and writers have all been laid to rest in this surprisingly serene and beautiful cemetery with elaborate tombs and memorials, many of which are still very well maintained.
8 Highgate Cemetery, London, England
One of the greatest Victorian cemeteries in the world, this North London cemetery is home to many interesting graves, including dignitaries such as Karl Marx, George Eliot, and the parents of Charles Dickens. Its appearance today is slightly eerie, overgrown with trees, ivy, flowers and bushes.
7 Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
6 Pere-Lachaise, Paris, France
This cemetery was established by Napoleon in 1804 and is the burial site of many famous French authors, writers and musicians, including Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison.
5 Cementerio General, Santiago, Chile
With over 2 million occupants, this Chilean cemetery is the largest cemetery in South America. Like many other cemeteries in Chile, its gravesites are stacked one on top of another above ground and are marked with inscriptions and drawings, as well as colorful flowers left by family members.
4 Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania
This cemetery is a unique place because of its very brightly colored gravestones. These wooden headstones commemorate the deceased with a funny saying or by depicting a scene from the occupants’ lives.
3 Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, Australia
2 Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, Moscow, Russia
This cemetery is on the site of a 16th century convent that is a popular place for history buffs to visit, and for good reason. Important Russian poets, musicians, politicians and writers are all buried here. A visit to the cemetery should also include a visit to the picturesque church.
1 Xoxocotlan Cemetery, Oaxaca, Mexico
This cemetery, which dates to the 1500s, is an especially fascinating place to visit during Day of the Dead celebrations that start on the night of October 31. On that holiday, a cheerful and very festive atmosphere prevails in this densely packed cemetery.
Visitors cover the gravesites of their loved ones with large bouquets of colorful flowers and thousands of candles before sitting around and enjoying a party in honor of their dead family members. Families bring picnics, listen to music played by live musicians who roam the grounds, and of course eat and drink in their loved ones’ honor.
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