Thursday, 6 November 2014

14 drop-dead gorgeous cemeteries for everyone, dead or alive

As you continue to bask in the spooky spirits of Halloween, and gradually get annoyed by articles about ‘haunted places’ for your thrill, take a moment to honour the dead in these beautiful settings.
Many would think you haven’t really seen a culture until you see how they live, and also dealt with death. Generations have put in lots of time in providing their loved ones an eternal resting place in bliss and serenity. Cemeteries tell us how people died, but also how they lived.
Cimitirul Vesel, Sapanta, Romania
A different way to look at death that departs from the prevalent belief that deaths are solemn. This town believes in the immortality of the soul and death as an anticipation for a better life. Earning the name Merry Cemetery from its festive of colours, it is also known for tombstones with hand-painted describings in poetic manner; snippets of their past lives.
La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Labelled as ‘City of The Dead’, its beauty can be appreciated alongside Argentina’s history. This cemetery is the final resting place of the families of the greatest prestiges and power when Yellow fever hit in 1870s. Out of the 6400 vaults, some contains the graves of notable people like Eva Peron, Presidents of Argentina, the founders of Argentine Navy, and granddaughter of Napoleon.
Okunoin Cemetery, Mt Koya, Japan
Okunoin Cemetery, Japan’s largest, is one of the most sacred places and popular pilgrimage spot as it homes the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Established by him in year 819, he was believed to lie in eternal meditation since. Okunoin Cemetery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.
God’s Acre in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Tucked amongst Poplar, Locust, Maple, and Dog-wood trees is oldest colonial cemeteries in America; containing graves of people from the Rhinebeck past. This cemetery reflects the Moravian belief that everyone is equal, hence location of the next burial is determined by the next open space.
American Cemetery, Luxembourg
Established in 1944 when American soldiers liberated the spot from German occupation on September 10, 1944, Luxembourg government made it a permanent resting place for the fallen, many of whom from the Battle of Bulge and advancement to the Rhine River, without any charge or tax. The chapel at the entrance depicts military virtues; speaks very much of the history of the cemetery.
National Arlington Cemetery, Virginia, USA
Both cemeteries and memorials to Americans of national importance - Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, countless military heroes - containing more than 400,000 people of America and 11 countries. It was first established in 1860s during the Civil War and recently expanded for the large numbers from World War 2, Vietnam War, and Korean War.
Saint Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, USA
Stroll through the past and present of this city and be greeted by the rusty decorative ironwork; crosses and statues blatantly jutting out from the tombs. This cemetery is a combination of three Roman Catholic cemeteries constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The above ground tombs are due to the city’s struggle with high water table.
Green Wood Cemetery, New York, USA
Landscaped with an array of tree species, shrubs, and marine vegetation this highest point in Brooklyn is not only a heaven for more than half a million people since 1840, but also a haven for botanists, historians, art lovers, and birders. Its imposing yet luring enchanting entrance was built between 1861 and 1865.
Zentralfriedhof Cemetery, Vienna, Austria
First opened in 1874 to accommodate the increasing population but now, you can stand within a few yards of Beethoven, Gluck, Hugo Wolf, Mozart amongst many others. However, since this is a cemetery, their graves are not pointed out to prevent disturbance to others resting around them.
Punta Arenas Cemetery, Punta Arenas, Chile
One of the most visited places apart from the museums, by those who wished to learn about the history of the city. Punta Arenas cemetery lies at the entrance of the city and is home to the main families that gave origin to the entire population. You might have noticed their European heritage as you stroll beside the trimmed cypress trees, but you can sense the new lives and love created for this city.
Westminster Abbey, London, England
In the heart of London lies a 700 year old building that is living pageant of the British history. Britain’s most significant honours were buried here, including generals, admirals, politicians, doctors and scientists such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Of course, it is home to the resting Royal family of England.
St Andrew Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
St Andrews Cathedral reigns the history of medieval churches of Scotland since its construction in the 12th century, being one of the largest and most magnificent. The cathedral is encircled by the monastic enclosure walls of the graveyard.
What’s more when this is the place where Prince William met Kate Middleton during University?
Santa Maria Magdalena De Pazzis, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Wedged between the city walls and the Atlantic ocean is a colonial era cemetery that provides a peaceful respite from the hustling of the city. Be smitten by the immense span of blue hues as you come to the final resting place of many of Puerto Rico’s most prominent natives and residents.
Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, Australia
Perched at the top of the cliffs between Bronte and Coogee, contains graves of many significant Australians such as Australia’s first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, and poet Henry Lawson. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean since 1877, this cemetery is home to 200 war graves from various past conflicts.
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