Did you know there’s a difference between cemeteries and graveyards? While defined similarly, in common practice, graveyards are attached to a church while cemeteries are burial grounds independent of a particular building.
Some people are creeped out by burial grounds regardless of their title, and, having been on more than a few ghost tours in my life, I can say that I get it. They’re often old and sometimes overgrown, and even when well-kept and beautiful, there’s always the knowledge that human beings are buried beneath the manicured grass. The air of solemnity and grief that steeps in the air and moves with people coming to visit a departed loved one carries its own eeriness, as well.
They’re not for everyone, but as someone who loves history, I’m going to have to put every one of these seven amazing cemeteries on my to-visit list.
7. La Recoleta (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Stroll by the remains of former first lady Eva Peron while marveling at the above-ground tombs set against the sprawling backdrop of Buenos Aires.
6. Il Cimitero Acattolico di Roma (Rome, Italy)
This crowded, ancient burial ground is full of the non-Catholic dead of Rome. Before 1738, the Vatican would not allow them to be buried within the city. Its most famous residents are the poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley
5. Merry Cemetery (Sapanta, Romania)
The bright blue markers contain both pictures of and poems about the deceased. The combination of the uniform markers and the individual tributes makes this a sight to behold.
4. Highgate Cemetery (London, United Kingdom)
This gorgeous and very British cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful garden, and it holds the remains of a number of notables, including Karl Marx.
3. Waverley Cemetery (New South Wales, Australia)
Not only does the cemetery cradle the remains of many important Australians, but its beautiful setting will take your breath away.
2. Sengakuji Buddhist Temple Complex (Tokyo, Japan)
1. Poblenou Cemetery (Barcelona, Spain)
The statue pictured above, The Kiss of Death, designed by Joan Fonternat and carved by Jaume Barba in 1930, is reason enough to stroll through this place. It marks the grave of textile manufacturer Josep Llaudet Soler.
My own personal favorite cemetery is Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA, made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The sprawling grounds, the tumbling river, the Spanish moss … definitely visit if you get the chance.
If you want a (much) longer list, grab 199 Cemeteries To See Before You Die, by Loren Rhoads.
[Via Atlas Obscura]