Now anyone who has read any of our blog posts in the past will know that I have a little bit of a fascination (or maybe I should say obsession) with graveyards. They fascinate me as they are full of history and beautiful designs. I love how a lot of old graveyards are being allowed to return to nature and are now seen as nature and wildlife sanctuary’s.
One of the most famous graveyards in London is Highgate Cemetery – it is one of the big 7 cemeteries that were built in the 1800’s when London was running out of burial space. It is separated into two parts, the East side which you can walk around freely and the West side which you can only access on a tour. Both sides are worth looking around as they are both full of amazing architecture and beautiful designs, all surrounded by nature as it slowly tries to take back over it’s space. Highgate is also full of famous people with probably the most famous being Karl Marx.
|The grave to the left is Douglas Adams of Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame – note the pot of pens in front of the headstone in case he feels like writing in the afterlife.|
I love the design of the grave below – a beautifully flowing sculpture in amongst all the straight lines.
Whenever we’ve visited Highgate if we want a picture of Karl Marx’s grave we usually have to wait until people have stopped posing with him – he’s very popular with some people.
Another great cemetery to visit is the Necropolis in Glasgow, Scotland – it is 37 acres on a hill overlooking the city. A place of rest that is now surrounded by the business of modern life.
A graceful angel that someone had given a lovely pink carnation to hold.
Nunhead cemetery in London is another of the big 7 and was opened in the 1800’s. What’s fabulous about this graveyard is that they have an open day each year and we were lucky enough to go a couple of years ago. In amongst the graves they have stalls, a cafe, craftsmen demonstrating their skills, bug hunts for the children, and guided tours. This years open day is on May 21st so if you’re in the area I would definitely recommend it as something to attend.
Whilst we were in Krakow last year we visited the old Jewish Cemetery which dates from the mid 1500’s. During the second world war the Nazi’s used it as a dump and smashed up a lot of the tombstones – it has since been renovated and the headstones that could be restored have been, and the ones that were smashed have been formed into a wall.
When you visit a Jewish cemetery you’ll notice that instead of flowers on the graves, there are rocks left on the headstone or grave and this is a sign to others that someone has visited the grave.
We’ve just spent 5 days in Spain and yes we visited a graveyard – what else do you do on holiday in a foreign country. The Spanish Graveyards are raised vaults like a mini city of the dead, and very, very clean.
This is the vault of a lady that I think I could identify with as not only does she have a cat engraved on her tombstone, but also cat ornaments on the ledge.
Years ago I visited New Orleans and went to a graveyard there, and they also have the graves above the ground, but there it is because of the water level and they can’t bury them under the ground according to the man who showed us around.
Probably my favourite graveyard that we’ve visited is Pere Lachaise in Paris. It is a beautiful cemetery with amazing monuments – my favourites were Oscar Wilde (covered in lipstick marks), Chopin (has fresh flowers delivered every week from the Polish embassy), and Jim Morrison (just because it’s Jim Morrison). Unfortunately our visit was several years before digital cameras so I don’t have any photos to include.
The last graveyard I’m going to include is the pet cemetery by the sea in Cullen, Scotland. I love that there is this special place for people to remember their precious furbies.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at graveyards and that they’re not a morbid place but somewhere quite special to be enjoyed.
Until next time, be good, stay safe, and be nice to yourself this week.
Pamela & Ken