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11 Must Visit Cemeteries Around The World

It’s no surprise that fans of alternative music and fashion are known to indulge in the darker side of life. A fascination with death is often at the centre of some of the best alternative works, making cemeteries a must-visit destination for many of us who enjoy the alternative lifestyle. 

Visiting cemeteries may seem like a morbid pastime to mainstreamers, but they can offer some of the most beautiful views and peaceful atmospheres in the world. Plus if you’re not there for the tranquillity and photograph opportunities, many of the cemeteries in our must-visit list offer you the opportunity to visit the final resting places of some of the most famous celebrities and notable historical figures that are no longer with us. 

From cemeteries that give you excellent sightseeing opportunities to completely unique cemetery experiences from different cultures, we’ve put together a list of our top 11 must-visit cemeteries from around the world to help make planning your cemetery bucket list simple!

1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles

 

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One of the most famous cemeteries in the world and one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is iconic for its high profile residents and sweeping landscapes. A cemetery that you can spend a full day in, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is home to celebrities such as Johnny Ramone, Maila Nurmi (Vampira), Judy Garland, Jayne Mansfield, Chris Cornell and many more besides. If you’re not there for the sightseeing, you can watch regularly scheduled movies on the Fairbanks Lawn for a truly special cinema experience.

2. Père Lachaise – Paris

 

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Often described as the finest collections of deceased human talent in the world, Père Lachaise necropolis is an unmissable morning or afternoon out while in Paris. Many tourists flock to the gravesite of Jim Morrison to pay their respects, but you can also find Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Chopin in amongst the beautiful gardens. Fans of funerary architecture and art will be spoilt with the variety of gothic graves, burial chambers and ancient mausoleums that spreads across the 44 hectares of Parisian burial ground.  

3. Highgate Cemetery – London

 

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The most popular of London’s magnificent seven cemeteries, Highgate Cemetery based in north London features notable gravestones including George Eliot, Karl Marx, Douglas Adams and George Michael but to name a few. If Highgate Cemetery looks familiar, you may have seen it appear in British horror films from the 70s such as Tales from the Crypt and Taste the Blood of Dracula. Another 70s throwback you may spot after dark is the elusive Highgate Vampire that struck fear into the hearts of Londoners and was the cause of multiple cases of vandalism in the now picturesque Highgate Cemetery you see now.

4. Green-Wood Cemetery – Brooklyn

 

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Inspired by Père Lachaise, Green-Wood Cemetery is situated at one of the highest points in Brooklyn, giving you stunning views of both the Manhattan skyline and funerary architecture in the foreground. Aside from residents such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Louis Comfort Tiffany, Green-Wood Cemetery also boasts a beautiful park with picturesque ponds, long-established trees and an 1861 Gothic entrance gate to enjoy as you stroll through the tombstones, monuments and brownstone mausoleums. 

5. St. Louis No. 1 – New Orleans

 

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Near the iconic French Quarter of New Orleans stands the 18th-century cemetery of St. Louis No. 1. One of the stand-out features of the St. Louis Cemetery is the placement of its graves. New Orleans sits below sea level, meaning that all of the vaults had to be built above ground. Nicolas Cage has purchased a tomb in St. Louis that he intends to be buried in, but current residents are rumoured to include voodoo priestess Marie Laveau and the notoriously cruel slave owner Delphine LaLaurie (who you may remember were both portrayed in American Horror Story: Coven!)

6. Okunoin Cemetery –  Japan

 

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The largest graveyard in Japan, Okunoin Cemetery can be found nestled in the valleys of Mount Koya, circling the Kobo Daishi mausoleum. Mount Koya is a world heritage site known to be the headquarters of Shingon – a sect of Japanese Buddhism. Featuring over 100 temples, Okunoin is built around the mausoleum in which the monk that founded the spiritual site is interred. The 1000-year-old mausoleum is lit by thousands of brass oil lanterns which have been burning constantly since the monk’s death. Filled with unique headstones and quirky monuments, the surrounding Okunioin Cemetery is a peaceful and entirely unique experience away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s city landscapes.

7. St Mary’s – Whitby

 

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Whitby is already well known among the alternative community for its links to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. St Mary’s cemetery overlooks the iconic Whitby Abbey and gives you the view of the town and seaside that inspired Bram Stoker to have Dracula land on its shores many years ago. Aside from the incredible views of Whitby Abbey itself, there are a few oddities for you to explore among the gravestones – look out for Humpty Dumpty and Tom Thumb’s gravestones in particular!

8. Tikhvin Cemetery – St Petersburg, Russia

 

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Offering stunning scenery, particularly in the winter months, Tikhvin Cemetery can be found alongside the Alexander Nevsky Monastery which was founded by Peter the Great. The baroque churches that create part of the Tikhvin Cemetery are one of many magnificent features you can spot, alongside the famous gravesites including Dostoevsky and a plethora of heavyweight composers from Mussorgsky and Stravinsky to Borodin and Tchaikovsky. Known as the Necropolis of the Masters of Art for its many talented residents, Tikhvin Cemetery is a must on any culture-seekers list.

9. Xoxocotlan Cemetery – Oaxaca, Mexico

 

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Surrounded an ancient chapel, Xoxocotlan Cemetery is a crowd of rickety headstones that are treated as the centrepiece of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca, Mexico. The celebrations begin on October 31st with the decoration of the headstones which includes building altars, lighting thousands of candles and adorning the cemetery with marigold petals. The atmosphere of the Day of the Dead is an incredible experience that involves spectacular street processions that see families bringing offerings of food and flowers to the Xoxocotlan Cemetery to celebrate the lives of the departed. 

10. Glasgow Necropolis – Scotland 

 

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To the east of Glasgow Cathedral is the magnificent Glasgow Necropolis – a Victorian cemetery that sits on a low but prominent hill that gives you fantastic views of the city below. With over fifty thousand burials, you’ll be able to discover monuments in a broad spectrum of architectural styles with many designed by famous architects such as Charles Rennie Macintosh, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and JT Rochead. Cross the “Bridge of Sighs” at the main entrance to begin discovering this multi-faith cemetery and keep an eye out for notable graves such as William Miller, the poet who wrote the rhyme Wee Willie Winkie, and the famous chemist Charles Tennant. 

11. Merry Cemetery – Sapanta, Romania

 

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While many of the cemeteries on this list will be filled with typically grey tombstones and monuments, Merry Cemetery in Romania is a beautifully colourful contrast. Known for its skillfully crafted and painted wooden crosses, Merry Cemetery is an uplifting cemetery to visit that often contains poetry, limericks and anecdotes on the many epitaphs of its residents that each heavily feature a wicked sense of humour. This humorous style of epitaph, often seen with an accompanying humorous painted image, is a tradition started by Stan Ioan Patras in 1908 and is now carried on by his apprentice Dumitru Pop.

We hope that we’ve helped you add a few more death tourism destinations to your holiday wishlist! If you’re planning on visiting any of these incredible cemeteries this summer, make sure you dress for the occasion with our holiday shop at Attitude Clothing!

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