Must See Cemeteries

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Not given as much promenence in most guidebooks as other destinations, cemeteries offer respite from the crowds and a real insight into the spirit and history of a city. We take a look at some of the graveyards (and the legends buried there) around the world that are well worth a couple of hours on a weekend away.

Père-Lachaise, Paris, France

Called la cite des morts – the city of the dead – by Parisians Pere-Lachaise is considered Paris’ most beautiful place of rest. Groupies gather at Jim Morrison’s grave, and admirers leave lipstick kisses on Oscar Wilde’s tomb. Other notable figures buried here include Chopin, Proust and Colette.

Find out more here.

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic

The Old Jewish Cemetery lies in the Jewish quarter of Prague (which is named Josefov) and is one of the most well known in all of Europe. Some 12,000 tombstones, ranging from Gothic to rococo, are wedged into this graveyard that dates from the 15th century.Look out for the the tomb of Judah Loew Ben Bezalel, the chief rabbi of Prague in the 16th century who, according to legend,  made a golem out of clay to protect the city’s Jewish community.

Find out more here.

St. Louis No. 1, New Orleans, Louisiana

If you’ve seen the 1969 film Easy Rider, you’ve seen this cemetery. Situated near the French Quarter over a thousand aboveground vaults are jammed into this 18th century plot. Among those buried here are architect turned pirate Barthelemy Lafon voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.

Find out more here.

Forest Lawn, Los Angeles, California

This beautiful memorial park in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking top Tinseltown studios, is the resting place for some its biggest stars including Bette Davis, Liberace, Lucille Ball, Telly Savalas and many more.

Find out more here.

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

As The New York Times succinctly put it it 1866, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.” The famous and infamous have continued to come to Green-Wood for over a century and a half now and some of the 560,000 permanent residents now include Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Horace Greeley, baseball legends, politicians, artists and Civil War generals.

Find out more here.

Merry Cemetery, Romania

Tucked behind the Church of the Assumption in the village of Sapanta, the Merry Cemetery is famous for its colourful tombstones with native style paintings that represent scenes from the life of the buried person and poetry that celebrates their life. Who says that death can’t have its lighter side?

Find out more here.

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