These magnificent graveyards, while associated with grief and sadness, impart a feeling of great hope.
Cemeteries are often associated with grieving and sadness. But a visual tour of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries shows that they can actually be awe-inspiring. From the tree-lined alleys of Paris Père Lachaise to the moss-covered graveyards of South Park Street Cemetery in Kolkata, burial grounds are often a testament of how Christian architecture merged with local traditions gave rise to unique structures. And for those who favor some historic exploration, looking for the tombs of the great men and women of the past can prove a rewarding activity in some of these world-class mausoleums.
1. Cmentarz Powązki, Warsaw, Poland
Built in 1790, Cmentarz Powązki is the oldest cemetery of Warsaw, Poland, holding an estimated one million people in its beautiful white and grey graves. Originally the site covered about six acres but was extended over the course of the next three centuries, reaching its current size of 108 acres. Indeed, it takes around three hours to walk around Cmentarz Powązki and visitors should not miss walking down the “Avenue of Notables (Aleja Zasłużonych),” where the cemetery’s most notable decedents are buried, from novelist and Nobel Prize winner Władysław Reymont to the women of the family of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. The best time to visit is All Saints Day, when visitors flock to the cemetery lighting candles on every grave.