Monday, February 16, 2009

15 remarkable cemeteries and tombs to visit BEFORE you die

Above ground or six feet under, these 15 final resting places are prime spots for the dead ... and the living.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal
(image credit: ironmanixs)

taj mahal2
(via: Wikipedia)

The Taj Mahal in Agra is surely the world's most beautiful mausoleum. The 17th century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the structure in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, using white marble from Rajasthan, crystal from China, turquoise from Tibet and sapphire from Sri Lanka.

The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of the emperor and his wife, while their actual graves are located at a lower level.

2. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

(image credit: khalid almasoud)

(image credit: pyjama)

These pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo may date back to around 3,200 B.C. but they're as space age as tombs get. They pierce the sky, unperturbed by crowds of hustlers, camels and camcorder-toting tourists. An estimated 20,000-30,000 workers built the pyramids, the largest of which is constructed from over two million blocks.

The largest pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian King Khufu.

3. Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania

Merry Cemetery
(image credit: Xavier68)

Stan Ioan Patras grave
(via: Wikipedia)

The Merry Cemetery is famous for its colourful wooden tombstones covered with native paintings and poetry representing the lives of those buried there. In 1935, artist Stan Ioan Patras sculpted the first epitaph and eventually the whole cemetery became populated with decorated crosses. It is now an open-air museum and tourist attraction.

Patras passed away in 1977. His grave is marked by a cross he fashioned himself prior to his death.

4. Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow, Russia

Kremlin Wall
(image credit: rycordell)

Lenin's Tomb
(via: University of Illinois)

In 1924, Lenin's Tomb became the center of the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. What many visitors don't realize, though, is that behind the mausoleum and at the foot of the Senatskaya Tower of the Kremlin are the graves of many other renowned people.

Notable people interred there
Joseph Stalin
Leonid Brezhnev
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Gagarin
and more!

5. Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Jim Morrison grave
(image credit: Nebel)

Oscar Wilde grave
(image credit: cicilief)

Père Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. The cemetery was founded in 1804, but languished until the management had the bright idea to move the remains of famous people there to attract business!

Notable people interred there
Honore de Balzac
Sarah Bernhardt
Georges Bizet
Jean de Brunhoff
Frédéric Chopin
Isadora Duncan
Marcel Marceau
Jim Morrison
Victor Noir
Edith Piaf
Marcel Proust
Georges-Pierre Seurat
Gertrude Stein
Alice B. Toklas
Oscar Wilde
and more!

6. Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fairview Lawn Cemetery
(image credit: kaytethinks)

Fairview Lawn Cemetery
(image credit: kaytethinks)

One hundred twenty-one Titanic victims are interred at Fairview Cemetery. Most of them are memorialized with a small gray granite marker simply stating their name and date of death. The occupants of a third of the graves, however, have never been identified and their markers contain just their date of death and marker number.

The victims' graves were laid out by the surveyor in three long lines in gentle curves following the contours of the sloping site. By coincidence, the curved shape suggests the outline of the bow of a ship.

A complete listing of the victims buried in Fairview can be found here.

7. The City of the Dead, Cairo, Egypt

City of the Dead
(image credit: cactusbones)

City of the Dead
(image credit: CyberAndy)

The City of the Dead is the most curious cemetery in the world — not only a city of the dead, but also of the living.

Traditionally, Egyptians buried their dead surrounded by rooms so that relatives could live in them during the long mourning period. Unfortunately, housing shortages in Cairo have driven some families to live permanently in the large cemeteries on the city's outskirts.

8. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, United States

Mel Blanc grave
(image credit: potatoknish)

Jayne Mansfield grave
(image credit: kris247)

The immaculate lawns and stately memorials of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery are the final picture for much of Hollywood royalty. The glamorous graves at the back of Paramount studios are a veritable Milky Way of departed glitterati!

Notable people interred there
Don Adams
Mel Blanc
Cecil B. DeMille
Douglas Fairbanks
Nelson Eddy
Estelle Getty
John Huston
Jayne Mansfield
Darren McGavin
Adolphe Menjou
Tyrone Power
Johnny Ramone
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
Rudolph Valentino
Fay Wray
and more!

9. Protestant Cemetery, Rome, Italy

Protestant Cemetery
(image credit: mermaid99)

Keats grave
(image credit: designwallah)

This overgrown garden is a surprise in a busy corner of Rome. The garden is dominated by a sharp-tipped pyramid: the fanciful tomb of a Roman general with a penchant for Egyptology.

Notable people interred there
Percy Bysshe Shelley
John Keats

10. Mount of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel

Mount of Olives
(image credit: betta design)

Mount of Olives
(image credit: Randall Niles)

Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives since biblical times. There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, including tombs traditionally associated with Zechariah, as well as David’s rebellious son, Absalom.

Notable people interred there
Shlomo Goren
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Prime Minister Menachem Begin and his wife Aliza
Princess Alice of Battenberg
and more!

11. Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, United States

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery
(image credit: NatalieMaynor)

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery
(image credit: NatalieMaynor)

In 1896, Dr. Samuel Johnson, a vet, offered his apple orchard to a bereaved friend as the burial place for his dog. Today the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery has 70,000 graves, including those of famous war dogs, as well as a memorial to the Red Cross dogs that served during World War II.

Famous owners who have interred their beloved pets there include Mariah Carey and Diana Ross.

12. Tomb of Pacal, Palenque, Mexico

Temple of Inscriptions
(image credit: gripso_banana_prune)

Tomb of Pacal
(image credit: Carlos Adampol)

In the foothills of the Chiapas mountains lie the remains of the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. The city's most famous monument is the Tomb of Pacal the Great, located in the Temple of Inscriptions, a steep, stepped pyramid.

Archaeologists explored Palenque extensively, but couldn't figure out how to open the tomb until 1948. It then took four years just to clear the rubble from the stairway leading down to Pacal's burial chamber. There they found the king's remains, surrounded by sculptures and stucco reliefs depicting his transition to divinity.

13. The Catacombs of Rome, Italy

The Catacombs of Rome
(image credit: haycarrieanne)

The Catacombs of Rome
(image credit: Sebastian Bergmann)

Ancient Roman law forbade burial within Rome city limits, so most Romans were cremated. But early Christians were buried in a series of endless, echoing underground tunnels. This underground death complex is Rome's most haunting sight — now empty of bodies, but retaining early Christian frescoes, altars and icons.

The names of the different catacombs — such as St Calixtus and St Sebastian — refer to martyrs who were believed to have been buried there.

14. The Island of the Dead, Tasmania, Australia

Island of the Dead
(image credit: ian.greenleaf)

Island of the Dead
(image credit: Eoin Murphy)

The Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania closed in 1877, but during its years in operation, those who died in the prison were buried on a small island nearby. Although at least 1700 graves exist on the island, only plots belonging to 180 prison staff and military personnel are marked.

Today the mass graves on The Island of the Dead attract scores of tourists, many of whom describe the air about the small bush-covered island as possessing "melancholic" and "tranquil" qualities.

15. Dogon Tombs, Mali

Tellem Dwellings
(image credit: Mark Abel)

Dogon Tombs
(image credit: qiv)

A craggy mass called Bandiagara rears up from the sun-bleached plain, one of West Africa's most stunning sights. Most extraordinary are the tiny buildings set into the cliffs, which were built by the Tellem tribe long ago.

Today, the Dogon tribe uses those abandoned cliff dwellings as tombs, hoisting the bodies of loved ones to their final resting place using baobab rope.

(sources: Reuters, Wikipedia and Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009)

Previously on Lists Galore!
Dead end
To die for
10 unusual monuments to rub, kiss or pat for good luck


Saulo Lopes said...

Bem legal seu blog!


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Anonymous said...

mixed feeling