Death. An experience we probably all have to share (unless that darn science doesn’t hurry up), so you might as well face your fears and take a moment to reflect on the lives of the great and not-so-great with a tour of one of these must-see cemeteries. (Our featured image is by dvs)
Highgate Cemetery, London
Not only is this set in a picturesque hilly part of London, but it’s perhaps the most celebrity-heavy resting place on Earth. Most famous is the large bust adorning the grave of infamous loafer Karl Marx.
Amongst the many other creative and surprising resting places is Malcolm McLaren’s cheeky “Malcolm was here” wooden plinth, and possibly the most darkly amusing tombstone on the planet, that of artist Patrick Caulfield.
Saint Louis Cemetery, New Orleans
Unlike the majority of places in the world, most of the departed in New Orleans over the last couple of centuries have actually been buried above ground. The three areas that make up Saint Louis are each a dense multitude of small tombs, creating a “city of the dead” effect.
New Orleans is also famous for its celebratory funeral processions, so combine the two and you’ve got yourself a macabre but truly must-see experience.
Powazki Cemetery, Warsaw
One of the most famous cemeteries in Poland is always worth a look for its stunning architecture and statues, but for something uniquely surreal, visit on All Saints Day (1 November). The day is a national holiday and every cemetery in the country is swarmed with Poles visiting the departed. Powazki in particular has crowds queuing outside as if Led Zeppelin were playing a concert with Pink Floyd.
Inside, violinists play mournful solos on each corner and TV camera crews film Polish celebrities doing the rounds, whilst hordes shuffle through as if in a theme park, leaving thousands of candles upon the graves.
Visit after sunset and the sea of glowing flames in every direction will simply stun you.