Cemeteries are often associated with grief, death, and sorrow. However, they can be fascinating places to see, drawing the living with their odd serenity, striking architecture or manicured park-like grounds.
These cemeteries are extraordinary and truly unique in Europe. They include bizarre, ancient necropolises, architecturally unique contemplative spaces, and veritable outdoor museums.
Skogskyrkogarden Woodland Cemetery in Sweden
Skogskyrkogarden, Stockholm’s Woodland Cemetery, was designed by Gunnar Asplund (Swedish architect) and Sigurd Lewerentz (Swedish architect). It is a great example of Nordic Classicism and how architecture and nature can co-exist in harmony.
This is more than a burial ground. It is a UNESCO-protected park-like setting that is peaceful and serene. It is a place to stroll, contemplate, and birdwatch. Guided tours are offered throughout the summer months.
The Merry Cemetery ( Cimitirul Vessel), hidden in a small Romanian town, is truly one-of-a-kind. Bright blue wooden crosses in the graveyard are personalized with cheerful pictures and darkly funny epitaphs about deceased persons.
It is located in Sapanta, Maramures, approximately 600 km from Bucharest. This site is considered a monument to the folk art of inestimable importance.
Old Jewish Cemetery, Czech Republic
The Old Jewish Cemetery, Josefov, was established in the 15th Century. It is one of Prague’s most fascinating and captivating sights. This compact land area is home to around 12,000 gravestones, many from different periods. However, they claim that there are over 100,000 Jews buried here. This creates a strange, haunting atmosphere in the graveyard. It is Europe’s oldest Jewish cemetery.
The Jewish Museum manages the place, and admission includes a tour of it and entry into various synagogues.
City of the Dead, Russia
Hidden in the Caucasus Mountains of North Ossetia is Dargavs, also known as the City of the Dead. It is rich in myths and mystery. An ancient Albanian cemetery with 99 tombs and crypts is located. This was where people buried their loved ones many years ago. The white houses-like structures, with ridged roofs and curved roofs, are located on a hillside. They resemble a small village.
It is located approximately one hour from Vladikavkaz (capital city of the Republic Of North Ossetia–Alania).
Highgate Cemetery, England
Highgate is one of London’s most elegant and handsome cemeteries, with its atmospheric, shaded paths that meander through mausoleums and vaults.
The Victorian burial ground was opened in 1839. It is a Grade I historical site and a nature reserve. It is renowned for its fine funerary architecture, notable people buried there, and the Grade I historical grade. Karl Marx, Douglas Adams and George Eliot are just a few notables buried here.
Highgate Cemetery can be divided into two sections. Visitors can freely wander through the East Cemetery for a small fee, but guided tours are required to see the West Cemetery. This is where some of the most striking architectural features lie.
Newgrange dates back to 3200 B.C. This intriguing Neolithic passage tomb is older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. It’s located in Ireland’s Ancient East and consists of a large kidney-shaped mound surrounded by Megalithic-engraved kerbstones. A 19-meter passage leads inside a chamber with three alcoves and corbelled roofing.
While human cremated remains have been found on-site during excavations, it is believed that their original purpose was more complicated and involved the burial and special rituals or ceremonies.
The site is accessible year-round, but only a few lucky people can enter the chamber at the solstice when the rising sun illuminates it, revealing the carvings within.