While a cemetery visit may look a little out of place in your holiday itinerary, iconic burial grounds around the world have fast become ‘must-see’ destinations on the tourist trail, offering a fascinating insight into the history of the local area and the lives of the rich and famous. (Featured image is by extranoise)
All Souls’ Day, Friday 2 November, is probably the one day in the year that you can pay your respects to the world’s most legendary departed souls, or indulge your curiosity for all things after-life, without feeling a tad uncomfortable.
Here’s a roundup of the most famous resting places around the globe.
Pere Lachaise, Paris
From renowned authors to rock stars, Paris’s Pere Lachaise has it all. Among the most noted inhabitants of this famous cemetery are Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, and, of course, Doors legend Jim Morrison.
For those who want to get a taste of what they can expect from this unique venue, a virtual tour of the cemetery is available on the Pere Lachaise website.
The world’s most visited cemetery contains 69,000 ornate, even grandiose, tombs and is ranked 67th of the 1,525 essential things to do in Paris by Lonely Planet travellers.
Of course, it is worth pointing out that beyond Pere Lachaise the charms of Parisian cafe culture, the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and much more await.
La Recoleta, Buenos Aires
La Recoleta, is most famous as being the resting place of María Eva Duarte de Perón, the second wife of President Juan Perón and First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952.
The life of Eva Perón, as she is more commonly known, was depicted in the 1996 movie Evita, with pop legend Madonna in the title role.
The cemetery has drawn comparisons to Pere Lachaise, and the journey to Perón’s tomb is said to be the most stunning part of La Recoleta.
Eva Perón’s tomb is also a visual marvel. Created in the art deco style, the crypt has a bronze door skilfully marked with leaves and flowers, with an exquisite ornamental front.
The neighbourhood of Recoleta is also home to several museums and galleries, including the National Fine Arts Museum and the Feria American Bizar, a flea market located just outside of the cemetery.
St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans
Located just outside of New Orleans’ French Quarter, St. Louis #1 was made famous after appearing in the 1969 Dennis Hopper classic Easy Rider.
St. Louis Cemetery #1 is famously said to house the remains of Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, who praticised her art in New Orleans in the 1800s.
The tomb is marked by beads, small adornments and tokens, and triple Xs said to stand for “spirit, unity and power” in the Voodoo tradition.
Hollywood veteran Nicholas Cage has said that he will someday be buried in an Egyptian-style tomb at St. Louis #1.
The cemetery is located in the Tremé district, America’s oldest African-American neighbourhood. New Orleans is famed for its jazz scene, Creole cuisine and historic French Quarter.
Highgate Cemetery, London
Most famous as the final resting place of philosopher Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery is a Grade 1 listed park, teaming with a wealth of flora and fauna, and wildlife.
At least 850 people are known to be buried at the cemetery, including six former Lord Mayors of London and 48 Fellows of the Royal Society, in addition to well-known figures such as the author George Eliot and scientist Michael Faraday.
Key cemetery sites include Egyptian Avenue, the Circle of Lebanon and the Terrace Catacombs. Located close to Highgate Village, a visit to the cemetery can be rounded off by a visit to the historic Flask pub.