There are thousands upon thousands of cemeteries throughout the world. These range from simple tombs and catacombs to complex garden-cemeteries that take up whole city blocks.
They are places of history and tradition, often offering lessons as well as a peek into the past. They are places where family legacies are kept well-guarded for all eternity.
The following are a few particularly famous urban cemeteries that should be kept in mind for the adventurous traveler.
Père-Lachaise, Paris, France
The Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery within the city limits of Paris. It takes its name from King Louis XIV's confessor, Pere Francois Lachaise.
The cemetery is one of the first garden-cemeteries, meaning it was made to be a piece of art and silent reflection as well as the final resting place of the dead.
It contains such famous names as author Oscar Wilde, composer Frederic Chopin, singer Edith Piaf, and musical artist Jim Morrison.
Merry Cemetery, Sapân?a, Maramures county, Romania
This cemetery is relatively unknown due to its small, unknown location as well as its remoteness. It is, in fact, the most famous cemetery in Romania.
The tombstones of the cemetery are decorated in colorful tile work, with blue being the reigning color motif and often have humorous or poetic epitaphs that are all in Romanian, so bring a translator might make the trip that much more interesting.
Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This cemetery is the most exclusive and largest cemetery in all of Argentina.
It is in the center of the famous French-style Recoleta neighborhood of the country's capital. The cemetery contains fabulous and intricate tombstones and sculptures that are admired for their artistry.
All of Argentina's most honored socialites, artists, and politicians are buried here. The most notable of its inhabitants is that of Eva Peron, made world famous for being Madonna's character in the musical Evita.
Forest Lawn Chain of Southern California
This is a chain of cemeteries that run through the San Fernando valley of Southern California, most notably in the Los Angeles area.
These cemeteries were built based on the company's philosophy that cemeteries should not be places of sadness, but places of reflection and celebration of a person's memories.
In addition to artistic tombstones, the cemeteries also contain memorials to events and traditions in American and world culture. Most giants of the American movie industry are buried in these cemeteries, including actors and actresses, directors, producers, and animators.
Other notable professions are politicians and prominent businessmen. Taking a walk through these cemeteries is akin to taking a walk through a hall of fame.
These are just a few of the most famous cemeteries of the world. They are all popular tourist attractions that get up to thousands of visitors each year.
Many cemeteries are places to give thanks and appreciation to loved ones who have passed away, but some such as the above examples are also places to reflect on the past and the future among the memories of great minds.