With Halloween just around the corner, we’re highlighting seven famous cemeteries around the world. They rose to fame or, in some cases, infamy for a variety of reasons. Some of these cemeteries double as gorgeous gardens, while others contain the graves of famous composers, past presidents and notorious outlaws.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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At 110 acres, Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest of its kind in Paris. It first opened in 1804 and serves as the eternal resting place of an estimated 2 to 3 million. Among them, some pretty big names like Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde.
Photo by Dorli Photography, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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There's very little that seems somber about Cimitirul Vesel (Merry Cemetery) in Sapâna, Romania. Visiting feels more like a trip to an art exhibit than a burial ground. The cemetery dates back to the 1930s and currently serves as an open-air museum where visitors can see the many colorful folk art gravestones and more than 800 ornate crosses that feature stories, poems and limericks about the deceased they mark.
Photo by MARIAN Gabriel Constantin, CC BY-SA 2.0
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George Eliot, Karl Marx and Michael Faraday are just a few of the famous interred among Highgate Cemetery's 170,000 graves. This notable London cemetery first opened in 1839 and is both a burial ground and a garden--it's listed on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. The grounds are home to several impressive tombs, mausoleums and vaults that are surrounded by an assortment of trees and wildflowers, which make strolling through the cemetery a worthwhile experience. Most notable sections of Highgate Cemetery are open to the public, but must be visited via a guided tour.
Photo by Nick Garrod, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Boothill Graveyard is located in the appropriately-named Tombstone, Arizona and houses the graves of some 250 (mostly) outlaws. Many of those buried there reportedly died in their boots, hence the name of the graveyard.
Photo by TJfrom AZ, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague dates back to the 15th century and contains nearly 12,000 tombstones spanning 350 years. Today it remains one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world, as well as the largest in Europe. Due to space constraints, graves were buried up to 10 deep and the tombstones protrude in every direction to mark and honor the deceased.
Photo by Garrett Ziegler, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) first opened, appropriately, on All Saint's Day in 1874. Some 330,000 are buried among its 620 acres, making it the city's biggest cemetery and one of the largest in Europe. It's open to public traffic and worth visiting, especially for fans of classical music. Among its famous interred include Ludwig van Beethoven, Arnold Schönberg, Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A variety of past Austrian presidents are also buried at Zentralfriedhof.
Photo by Bernd Thaller, CC BY-NC 2.0
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Considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, La Recoleta in Buenos Aires dates back to the early 18th century. It packs more than 4,500 above-ground vaults into its 14 acres, nearly 100 of which are designated as National Historical Monuments. Many of the elaborate mausoleums feature Baroque, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Neo-Gothic architecture. Among the famous interred at La Recoleta Cemetery include former Argentina president Eva Perón, Napoleon's granddaughter, as well as several Nobel Prize winners.
Photo by Phillip Capper, CC BY 2.0