In the modern world, we tend to think of death and beauty as incompatible. But a look at some of the most exquisite cemeteries around the globe should quickly convince any traveler otherwise. These 12 sites are no plain plots, but scenic sanctuaries—some guarded by grand trees or looking out over expanses of ocean.
Sprawling Père Lachaise in Paris, for instance, contains tens of thousands of graves, including those of some very famous literary figures. It's a burial site, yes, but it's also an historical landmark and an urban oasis. In northern Romania, the charming Merry Cemetery contains just several hundred tombs, but all are painted in vivid colors—it's a visual spectacle that helps preserve the memory of locals who lived their lives in relative obscurity.
All these cemeteries honor the deceased by giving them beautiful places to lie in repose. But by serving as public parks, sacred sites, and even tourist destinations, they also help keep the dead among us, something close to alive.
St. Andrews Cathedral Graveyard
St. Andrews, Scotland
Erected in the 11th and 12th centuries, St. Andrews Cathedral was Scotland's largest for several centuries. But war, fire, and storms helped reduce it to a stone ruin on a blustery cliff overlooking the North Sea, surrounded by an austere graveyard. Here, golf aficionados can peer at the grave of the 19th century pro Young Tom Morris, culture vultures can admire the medieval sculptures in the museum, and ghost-hunters can keep an eye out for one of the many spirits said to haunt the site.
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© Bloomberg by Sara Clemence