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A cemetery is any place with graves, tombs and memorials. The range of types and appearances is vast, from extensive mausolea with huge architectural elaborations, to unmarked plots of ground with hardly a sign it is a resting place.

In some cases royal memorials and tombs (see monarchies) may be the central point of vast grounds that might not always be known as a cemetery as such. Such sites are extensively visited for a wide range of reasons, depending on the local or national culture, they might be pilgrimage sites as well.


Some countries have extensive pilgrimage systems. Cemeteries and the tombs of special people within a religious or national context are connected with others. Sometimes the networks are well mapped and signed, others more mysterious and less obvious.

To complicate the issue, some areas and places have very different ideas about pilgrimage, and deny the veracity of the process. People can be told 'no there is no special grave here', or even directed to not consider graves or tombs to be suitable to visit at all.

The important part of becoming involved in pilgrimage is to research first. To make sure the cemetery or tomb is an acceptable place to visit and that there are no prohibitions.

Some grave complexes have elaborate procedures for visitors to comply with, with restrictions on visiting times, and clothing. In some countries, where hierarchical social and political strictures exist, some graves can even be off limits, or distanced from public access.

Walls and structures[edit]

Some cemeteries in built up areas have massive walls and fences for protection from vandalism. The walls and the surrounding structures can say more about the history of the location than the actual tombs.

In earlier times the walls and structures surrounding may have been built in relation to beliefs about things leaving the cemetery, as much as entering.

The leave-no-trace principle is the same as for archaeological sites. The legal consequences for trespassing in restricted areas, damaging graves, or souveniring artifacts from graves might be harsh. Respect the laws and regulations of local authorities.


Some cultures have very distinct beliefs about how or how not to visit graves, and it is well worth checking out acceptable practices. For instance some places have strict rules on not walking over or touching a grave or its coverings.

Some places also have specified clothing types for people entering, in most cases pieces of clothing are available to hire at entries, or items considered not suitable can be kept at the entrances.

Religious manners vary between faiths and countries; before you visit a cemetery of an unfamiliar religion, you should learn some basic etiquette of that religion, for instance by asking a local.

Avoid taking photographs of grieving people.

Information and genealogy[edit]

Some cemeteries have custodians or caretakers who have information about the place or know where information can be found.

Some cemeteries have museums, organised tours and guidebooks for tourists to find the graves of famous and significant people.

Many older cemeteries and grave sites that are archaeological sites as well.

Due to the pressures of genealogical enthusiasts, or for other reasons, some cemeteries can provide burial lists and details.

However, weathering of gravestones or headstones can wash away all information, and for some places, the site is so old, there are simply no people or publications available about the deceased buried there.


See also: Funeral travel

The opportunity to be 'on site' during an important person's funeral or funeral procession can be a very special insight into a country or culture's attitude to people and their death.

High status people in some countries have such elaborate funerals that to be a witness is something that is very memorable.

There are usually protocols as to how close to death the funeral process is held, some events of burial are very close to death. Others require delays in numerical or calendrical auspiciousness. In parts of the world where the winter months involve the ground freezing and becoming difficult to dig in, families may wait until the spring thaw to hold an on-site burial. In some cold countries, the ground is warmed to allow digging despite the frost.

Included in the protocols are the orders of precedence who precedes who in the sequence of mourners, some mausoleums and cemeteries have illustrations of the mourning processions of earlier deaths, where each allocated position in the mourning procession is identified.


There are limited ranges of cemetery souvenirs: usually guide books. Some cemeteries have meticulous and elaborate guides.

Famous cemeteries[edit]

Map of Cemeteries


  • 1 City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt). City of the Dead (Q2066414) on Wikidata City of the Dead (Cairo) on Wikipedia


  • Argentina:
  • Brazil:
    • St. John the Baptist Cemetery (Rio de Janeiro). Where important famous people who died in Rio de Janeiro are buried, including nine former presidents of Brazil and important musicians (such as Tom Jobim), writers (such as José de Alencar and Machado de Assis) and famous actresses (such as Carmen Miranda).
  • Mexico:
  • United States:
    Arlington National Cemetery
  • Canada:
    • 16 Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Toronto/Midtown). Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Q2904018) on Wikidata Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto on Wikipedia Burial place of several former Prime Ministers and other prominent figures in Canadian History. The cemetery spans 200 acres and it is also an arboretum.
    • 17 Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery (Q507432) on Wikidata Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery on Wikipedia and 18 Mount Royal Cemetery. Mount Royal Cemetery (Q1457377) on Wikidata Mount Royal Cemetery on Wikipedia(Montreal). Located on the slopes of Mount Royal, these two cemeteries are the final resting place of over 1 million people.


Macau Muslim Cemetery, China
Scattered graves at Nicholson Cemetery
Cross of Sacrifice at Bhowanipore Cemetery, Kolkata. India
  • China:
  • India:
  • Indonesia:
    • Giri Tunggal Heroes' Cemetery, Semarang
    • Ereveld Leuwigajah in Cimahi, Dutch war cemetery.
  • Israel:
    • Mount of Olives, ancient famous cemetery in Jerusalem with ancient funerary monuments.
    • Mount Herzl National Cemetery, Jerusalem
    • Sanhedria Cemetery, ancient cemetery of the Sanhedrin, in Jerusalem
    • Yarkon Cemetery in Petah Tikva, the new Pantheon of famous people.
    • Trumpeldor Cemetery famous cemetery in Tel Aviv of famous people from the 19th century.
    • Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv.
  • Japan:
    • Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo
    • Zoshigaya Cemetery in Tokyo
  • Philippines:
  • South Korea:
    • Seoul National Cemetery in Seoul.
  • Thailand:
  • Turkey:
    • Turkish State Cemetery in Ankara, with its monuments recalling the ancient Turkish structures of Central Asia, is where many major civilian and military figures of the republican era were interred, although notably Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the founder of the republic, Kemal Atatürk, is a separate site.
    • Karacaahmet Cemetery between Üsküdar and Kadıköy on the Asian Side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, an expanse of 300 hectares (740 acres) of cypress woodland, is the largest Turkish cemetery and its foundation in the 14th century predates the Fall of Constantinople.
    • 19 Eyüp Cemetery (Eyüp Sultan Cemetery) (Istanbul). Eyüpsultan Cemetery (Q6002600) on Wikidata Eyüp Cemetery on Wikipedia A footpath from the banks of the Golden Horn cuts through the Ottoman-era burial ground where the tradition dictates that the marble headstones of men are topped by a turban while those of women have floral designs. A gondola lift line passes over part of the cemetery as well.
    • The massive and highly elaborate tombstones at the Ahlat Cemetery (on the Lake Van near Tatvan), carved out of local volcanic rocks, date back to the local Ahlatshah Kingdom of the 11th–12th centuries and are typical of the medieval Turkish art.
    • Gallipoli hosts several military cemeteries of soldiers from Turkey and the Commonwealth nations (Australia and New Zealand in particular) fallen during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I.


Noratus Cemetery
Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki
  • Armenia:
    • 20 Noratus Cemetery (Noratus, Gavar, Lake Sevan Region). Noraduz cemetery (Q2705445) on Wikidata Noratus cemetery on Wikipedia, near Sevan on the lake of the same name, has the world's largest collection of khachkars – Armenia's massive, highly elaborately carved traditional headstones with a cross in the centre.
  • Austria: Vienna (see Culture section about Death, and Zentralfriedhof)
  • Balkans:
  • Bulgaria:
    • 21 Central Sofia Cemetery / Orlandovtsi Cemetery (Централни софийски гробища or Орландовци) (Sofia). Central Sofia Cemetery (Q3400970) on Wikidata Central Sofia Cemetery on Wikipedia
  • Croatia:
  • Czech Republic:
    • 22 Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý židovský hřbitov) (Prague). Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague (Q438026) on Wikidata Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague on Wikipedia
    • 23 Vyšehrad Cemetery (Prague). Vyšehrad cemetery (Q118967) on Wikidata Vyšehrad Cemetery on Wikipedia
  • Finland:
  • France:
  • Greece:
    • 28 First Cemetery of Athens (Πρώτο Νεκροταφείο Αθηνών) (Athens). First Cemetery of Athens (Q1362125) on Wikidata First Cemetery of Athens on Wikipedia
  • Hungary:
    • 29 Kerepesi Cemetery / Fiume Road National Graveyard (Fiumei úti nemzeti sírkert) (Budapest). Fiumei Street Cemetery (Q288130) on Wikidata Fiume Road Graveyard on Wikipedia
  • Italy:
    • 30 Protestant Cemetery or Non-Catholic Cemetery (Cimitero degli Inglesi or Cimitero Acattolico) (Rome). Protestant Cemetery, Rome (Q1187723) on Wikidata Protestant Cemetery, Rome on Wikipedia
    • 31 Cemetery of San Michele (Il cimitero di San Michele) (Isola di San Michele). Cemetery of San Michele (Q3676942) on Wikidata San Michele Cemetery, Venice on Wikipedia cemetery island of Venice
    • Brion Cemetery near Treviso by Carlo Scarpa, famous 20th century Italian architect
    • Etruscan Necropolis outside of Tarquinia
  • Poland:
    • 32 Powązki Cemetery (Cmentarz Powązkowski) (Wola, Warsaw). Powązki Cemetery (Q168886) on Wikidata Powązki Cemetery on Wikipedia is the oldest and most famous cemetery in Warsaw. Established in 1790, many prominent figures in Polish history are buried in the cemetery, which is estimated to have over 1 million interments. Not to be confused with the Powązki Military Cemetery, located northwest of Powązki Cemetery in the Żoliborz district.
    • 33 Rakowicki Cemetery (Cmentarz Rakowicki) (Old Town). Rakowicki Cemetery (Q1457419) on Wikidata Rakowicki Cemetery on Wikipedia is a historic necropolis in Kraków. Notable burials include the parents of Pope John Paul II.
    • Pęksowy Brzyzek National Cemetery in Zakopane.
  • Portugal:
    • 34 Cemetery of Pleasures (Cemitério dos Prazeres) (Lisbon). Prazeres Cemetery (Q976850) on Wikidata Prazeres Cemetery on Wikipedia
      Merry Cemetery, Romania
  • Romania:
    • 35 Merry Cemetery / Vesel Cemetery (Cimitirul Vesel) (Săpânța). Merry Cemetery (Q965491) on Wikidata Merry Cemetery on Wikipedia
    • 36 Ghencea Cemetery (Bucharest). Ghencea Cemetery (Q4355583) on Wikidata Ghencea Cemetery on Wikipedia
  • Russia:
    • 37 Novodevichy Cemetery (Новодевичье кладбище) (Moscow). Novodevichy Cemetery (Q208175) on Wikidata Novodevichy Cemetery on Wikipedia
    • Shirokorechenskoye Kladbishche Cemetery (Mafia cemetery, Yekaterinburg)
  • Sweden:
  • Ukraine:
    • 40 Lychakiv Cemetery (Личаківський цвинтар) (Lviv). Lychakiv Cemetery (Q1316721) on Wikidata Lychakiv Cemetery on Wikipedia; Grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman, a major site of Chasidic pilgrimage.
  • United Kingdom:


See also[edit]

Tombstone tourist
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