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Burial Sites Around the World

When a person dies, it is common throughout many cultures and societies to have a final resting place of their earthly body. This can be by burial, cremation, scattering and more. The possibilities are constantly changing as more and more options are developed. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at some burial sites around the globe!

Ruriden Columbarium at Koukokuji Temple- Tokyo, Japan.

Located in Shinjuku in Tokyo and operated by the Koukokuji Temple priests, the Ruriden Columbarium merges death and the digital world. Its bright lights and “floating” buddha statues, along with a chip enabled IC card allow people to visit their loved one’s cremains, which are stored in the columbarium. When the card is swiped, the corresponding buddha will light up. Each buddha sits in front of a drawer which holds the cremains, which will be stored there for 33 years before they are buried under the Ruriden. The columbarium houses over 2,000 alters, over 600 of which are currently in use.

Ruriden temple, lighted buddha's in Tokyo
The Ruriden Temple's lighted Buddha statues. Photo taken by Atlas Obscure user 2BANNE.

La Recoleta Cemetery- Buenos Aires, Argentina

Recoleta Cemetery, deemed one of the quirkiest cemeteries in the world, was declared the first public burial site in Buenos Aires in 1822. Containing more than 6,400 graves in 4691 above ground vaults, Recoleta stretches over 14 acres. The entrance through neo-classical gates and tall Greek columns is just a hint at what lies beyond. Inside, visitors will find elaborate marble, glass and wood mausoleums, as well as many statues. Recoleta is the final resting place to many famous and important figures throughout Argentinian history, such as Eva Peron, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

La Recoleta Cemetery, gravesite, Liliana Crociati de Szaszak
Liliana Crociati de Szaszak tragically died in an avalanche on her honeymoon. She is depicted here with her dog, Sabú, outside her grave.

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris

Père-Lachaise Cemetery is a sprawling 110 acres park and Paris’s most visited cemetery. Opened in 1804, the cemetery grew from only 13 graves to over 33,000 in 1830. Today, Père-Lachaise is one of the most sought-after burial grounds in Paris and still operating. However, to be buried in a Paris cemetery one must either die in the city or live there, and Père-Lachaise is even more difficult, currently with a waitlist. To create more space, some plots are sold which allow multiple burials. It’s coveted burial spaces give people the chance to lie to in rest with greats like Oscar Wilde, Chopin, and Jim Morrison.

Sphinx, Oscar Wilde gravesite
For years, female fans from around the world have left their lipstick mark on Oscar Wilde's stone.

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem is often cited as the largest and holiest Jewish cemetery in the world. For over 3,000 years, Mount of Olives has served as a final resting place for Jews from all over the world, many of whom relocate to Jerusalem to be buried on the holy ground. The location of Mount of Olives is significant to many because of its proximity to the holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In accordance with Jewish traditions, many believe that those buried in Mount of Olives will be the first to arise for everlasting life. Today, this cemetery remains active and open, attracting people from all over the world.

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
The Mount of Olives as it is today.

The Cimitirul Vesel (Merry Cemetery), Săpânța, Romania

When someone is buried, their grave is often adorned with simple monuments, engraved with sentiments like “Always in our Hearts” or “Rest in Peace.” At the Merry Cemetery in Romania, that is not the case. Here, graves are marked with bright, colorful painted crosses. Each cross has a photo of the deceased and a poem for an epitaph, offering a glimpse into the life of the deceased. The tradition in the Merry Cemetery was started in 1935, by a man named Stan Ioan Pătraş and has carried on since. After Stan’s death in 1977, his apprentice, Dumitru Pop, took up the job. The cemetery still runs today, and the merry markers continue to draw locals and tourists alike.

Grave marker, Merry Cemetery, The Cimitirul Vesel
The marker's at the "Merry Cemetery" contain funny poems about the decedent's life and are adorned with colorful photos and drawings.

People choose specific burial sites for a multitude of reasons, such as a religious connection or geographical significance. Some may even choose a cemetery because their favorite author rests there. Whatever the reason, there are cemeteries all over the world that can cater to anyone’s needs or whims. Would you want to be buried in any of these cemeteries?



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