Ten Historical Cemeteries Worth Visiting
A historical cemetery might seem like a strange vacation destination, but there’s something hauntingly beautiful about taking a stroll through time in this way—so much so that many of these historical cemeteries advertise to tourists. Not only can you visit the graves of famous people at these locations, but you can witness the touching humanity that occurs throughout the centuries. In fact, cemeteries offer history, art, culture, and nature in one scenic location.
Although it is always important to be respectful of the dead and of the families mourning them, these ten historical cemeteries are well worth a visit.
- Waverly Cemetery, New South Wales: This Australian cemetery dates to 1877 and is regularly listed as one of the most beautiful in the world. It contains hundreds of Victorian and Edwardian monuments, most of which are in an excellent state of repair.
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood: If you want to visit famous graves, this Hollywood Hills cemetery is the ideal place to do it. Notable burials include Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, and Clara Bow, to name a few.
- Highgate Cemetery, London: This gorgeous English cemetery is also a nature reserve, which means it offers one of the most beautiful expanses of greenery in London. Over 170,000 people are buried here, so do not expect to cover the entire area in one day.
- Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris: This famous French cemetery sees over 3.5 million annual visitors and is considered one of the largest “death tourism” sites in the world. The above-ground tombs and mausoleums make it very recognizable.
- St. Louis No. 1, New Orleans: This cemetery (one of three bearing the name St. Louis in New Orleans) is one of the oldest and most famous in the United States. It opened in 1789 and contains a long series of above-ground tombs, most of which are closed to the public because of an increase in vandalism in recent years.
- Mount Auburn, Cambridge: Considered the first “rural” cemetery in the United States, Mount Auburn Cemetery is designed to look calm, peaceful, and like a place of eternal rest. The rolling hills and arboretum make it a gorgeous outdoor space even without the graves.
- Okunoin Cemetery, Mount Koya: This cemetery is located in an ancient Japanese village along a pilgrimage route for Buddhists. Over 200,000 monks are buried in the cemetery, but getting there is not always easy.
The Merry Cemetery, Sapanta: This “open-air museum” in Romania offers a colorful and almost cheerful look at death. Its colorful tombstones tell stories about those buried there and depict images from their lives.
- Xoxocotlan, Oaxaca: This Mexican cemetery is considered one of the best examples of the celebrations and commemorations associated with the Day of the Dead. Because it is very much a part of the local culture and many families actively mourn their relatives, visits here should always be more about respect than tourism.
- La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires: This famous Argentinian cemetery is regularly considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It is the final resting place of Eva Perón as well as many other notable citizens.