As Halloween and Day of the Dead near each year, it is only natural that our thoughts turn to subjects spooky and supernatural. Kids running around in ghost costumes, charismatic vampires moonlit cemeteries – they are all part of the fiendish fun.
But for many travellers,
visiting cemeteries gives them a thrill no matter what time of year it is. And
so, in no particular order, we give you some of our favourite afterlife
Cimitière du Montparnasse, Paris
Père Lachaise may be Paris' big-name cemetery, hosting
legends like Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison in its leafy grounds, but Montparnasse has its own charms. Namely, an all-star cast
of resting residents – Serge Gainsbourg, Man Ray, Charles Baudelaire and Julio
Cortázar to name a few – plus pretty landscaping that provides just the kind of
tranquillity you would hope for in the hereafter.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles
Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone
ended up somewhere far ritzier than a Pet
Sematary -- Hollywood Forever Cemetery, to be precise. Recently restored, this
gorgeous graveyard is also home to some of Hollywood's finest, including
Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and Cecil B DeMille.
Waverley Cemetery, Sydney
Broaden your horizons at Waverley Cemetery – in the form of a sweeping cliff-top
panorama between Bronte and Coogee beaches. On a sunny day, this slightly
ramshackle graveyard is beautiful. In winter, there is something almost Wuthering Heights about it. Either
way, it has ocean views to die for.
Capuchin Cemetery, Rome
Sure, they are all about
the dearly departed, but how often are cemeteries actually decorated
with them? In the crypt cemetery attached to the Chiesa
di Santa Maria della Concezione, the ancient bones of some 4,000 deceased
Capuchin monks form a surreal subterranean swirl of light fittings, arches and
ceiling details. Skeletons clad in religious robes drive the message home: death
happens to the best of us.
Pyramids of Giza, Cairo
While not really a cemetery
in the conventional sense, the ancient Pyramids of Giza are an enduring – and enduringly enigmatic –
a testament to death and the afterlife. More than 4,000 years after their
construction, these incredible structures continue to mystify and amaze. How
were they built? Why the astronomical alignment? Whatever happened to the
Panteón Civil de Dolores, Mexico City
Clocking in at an
impressive 1,000,000sqm, this mammoth necropolis is Mexico's largest. While not
as picturesque as some of the other cemeteries on this list, the Panteón Civil de Dolores is worth a visit for its Rotonda de las
Personas Ilustres (Rotunda of Distinguished Persons), where many of Mexico's
most heroic and beloved figures are buried, including Diego Rivera and Dolores
Cementerio de la Recoleta, Buenos Aires
La Recoleta's reputation precedes it. As the final
resting place of none other than Eva Perón, its place in Buenos Aires' heart is
assured. But while Evita occupies top billing here, she is ably supported by a
veritable who's who of defunct
Argentine VIPs, an imposing neo-classical entrance, serene tree-lined walkways
and some eye-poppingly ornate mausoleums.
Highgate Cemetery, London
Grand, gothic and
gloriously atmospheric, Highgate Cemetery is home to the tombs of Karl Marx, Douglas
Adams, George Eliot – even Charles Dickens' parents. It provided a suitably
spooky setting for the Hammer Horror epic Dracula AD 1972, while its infamous resident vampire caused a media frenzy back in 1970.
Graveyard ghouls, this one is for you!
Poets' Mausoleum, Tabriz
And now for something
completely different. Iran’s marvellous Poets' Mausoleum in Tabriz is a dramatic modernist building
bearing little resemblance to any other tomb you will come across in your
travels. Designed as a tribute to Persian poets, scholars and mystics, it forms
an impressive focal point in a graveyard dating back almost a millennium.
The article 'The world’s best cemeteries' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.