Although cemeteries are primarily hallowed resting places for our loved ones, many of them are renowned tourist attractions for taphophiles…people fascinated by cemeteries and gravestones.
|REST IN PEACE AT RECOLETA CEMETERY|
During Halloween season, a visit to one of these cemeteries can be an eerie, creepy, yet fun way, to start your ghostly celebration. Hop onto my broomstick and I will fly you to several of the world’s most interesting and boo-tiful cemeteries.
FOREST HOME CEMETERY in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the final resting place of many of the city's famed beer barons. Names like Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz are among the many grand monuments erected for the city’s beer barons, politicians and social elite.
|PABST FAMILY PLOT|
The 2-story Blatz mausoleum, built in 1896 stands 49-feet tall. The interior of this granite structure is covered in Italian marble. Declared a Milwaukee Landmark in 1973, both the cemetery and its 1892 Gothic Style Landmark Chapel are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|TWO-STORY BLATZ MAUSOLEUM|
RECOLETA CEMETERY (Cementerio del Norte) in Buenos Aires, Argentina is the exclusive burial ground where all portenos (fun- loving locals) would like to be interred. Within the iron gates of this City of the Dead are tombs and mausoleums by famous artists and sculptors. Seventy of the approximate 6400 unique graves have been declared national monuments. Styles in this labyrinth cemetery range from Greek Temples to Baroque cathedrals.
The cemetery's most visited tomb being that of Eva Duarte Peron, Argentina’s most controversial First Lady. The Duarte family tomb, the final resting place of the wife of the late President Juan Peron, is difficult to find. Get a map, follow a tour group or look for the black marble mausoleum with a plaque of her profile and a profusion of fresh flowers. Evita (“Don't Cry for Me, Argentina”) Peron died of cancer in 1952 at age 33.
TOMB OF EVITA DUARTE PERON
FAIRVIEW LAWN CEMETERY, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is perhaps best known as the final resting place for one hundred and twenty-one victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. One of the first victims to be carried to his grave at Fairview Lawn was a small, unidentified baby boy. A haunting tombstone marks his grave. While the Cunard liner Carpathia was taking survivors to New York, 209 of the dead were brought to Halifax. Fifty-nine bodies were shipped home to relatives, but 150 were buried in three Halifax cemeteries. There were 10 graves at the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery; 19 at the Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery; and 121 at the non-denominational Fairview Lawn.
|GRAVESITE OF AN UNKNOWN CHILD THAT PERISHED ON THE TITANIC|
Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic takes its visitors on a voyage of discovery through Nova Scotia’s rich maritime heritage. The exhibits and artifacts evoke the magic of the sea and its power in the lives of Nova Scotians. Perhaps the most popular exhibit in the Maritime Museum is the one that depicts the tragic history of the ill-fated Titanic that sank some 700 miles east of Halifax on April 15, 1912.
ORIGINAL TITANIC DECK CHAIR
THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY in Prague, Czech Republic was founded in 1478. Because of its age and condition, it might well be the spookiest, most spine-tingling cemetery of all. Over 12,000 gravestones are crammed into a relatively small space where some 100,000 people are said to be buried on top of one another in stacks that are often 10-12 bodies deep.
|OVER 12,000 GRAVESTONES CRAMMED IN THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY|
The cemetery was in active use for more than three centuries, and the lack of space continually created a problem that had to be solved in whatever way possible. Since respect for the deceased does not allow Jewish people to abolish graves, they would add a new layer of soil over the old graves and bury more bodies on top of the older graves. In some places as many as twelve layers of soil now exist. The older graves remained intact and the gravestones were also saved. What exists today is a dense forest of simple gravestones, either stacked or upright, that memorialize people who could be buried many layers below in the soil.
METAIRIE CEMETERY in New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the world’s most unique and beautiful cemeteries. In a city, whose motto is Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll), it might seem strange that among the city's top attractions are the cemeteries with their above ground vaults. The Metairie Cemetery offers a drive through pamphlet that describes the colossal monuments that range from the ridiculous to the sublime.
|A STREET IN THE METARIE CEMETERY|
Some vaults toto checkcheck out in the Metairie Cemetery are: the Brunswig Tomb...an Egyptian pyramid guarded by a sphinx; the pink marble and bronze Morales Tomb...built by the notorious Storyville Madam who was denied the right to live in Metairie; and the Hyams tomb...a winged angel grieving beneath a stained-glass window.
|TOMBSTONES RANGE FROM THE RIDICULOUS TO THE SUBLIME|
What may come as a surprise to some, humor is evident in many cemeteries. Unusual epitaphs include: "I Told You I Was Sick”; "Good Citizen for 65 of his 108 Years”; "I’m just resting my eyes”; and...from the wife of a philanderer... "At Least I Know Where He's Sleeping Tonight”.
Whatever your choice, have a BOO-tiful time!
Janet Steinberg, winner of 46-travel writing awards, resides in Cincinnati but calls the world her home.