Cemeteries might seem like unlikely tourist stops, but, on the contrary, some of them have considerable historic, cultural and even aesthetic significance, so should be considered in certain places. Remember, from ETE #58, that gravestones are in effect memorials and help us to remember our ancestors and heroes. So, here are some cemeteries that hold some special significance for the tourist and ought to be included in your itineraries.
One of the most famous cemeteries in America is the USS Arizona Memorial, in Pearl Harbor. Remember that the men who lost their lives here on December 7, 1941, are still entombed in the sunken ship.
Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is another hallowed place where American servicemen and women are buried.
and the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb is one of the most sacred places in the cemetery.
There are Tombs of Unknown Soldiers elsewhere in the world, as well. One stands on Syntagma Square, in Athens.
Another US military cemetery which is much revered is the one in Normandy, which has the remains of American servicemen who lost their lives in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
Salem’s cemetery contains a memorial to the citizens who lost their lives when labelled as witches. The play, “The Crucible” chronicles their particular time in history.
Gettysburg National Historic Battlefield is essentially a graveyard of soldiers from the Union and the Confederacy, with many memorials commemorating their sacrifice.
Valle de los Caidos, in Spain, is a cemetery, a chapel and a memorial, all in one.
In St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, below the altar, there are tombs of Catholic Popes.
Many churches contain tombs. Westminster Abbey, for instance, houses the tombs of monarchs and also famous Brits (pictures are not allowed inside).
Some tombs are very elaborate. Look, for instance, at Maximillian I’s tomb, in the Hofkirche of Innsbruck.
The Tomb of William the Silent, in Delft, is also interesting and ornate.
The Ming Tombs in China are reached via the Spirit Way, a walkway bedecked with animal and people sculptures.
Yongle’s Tomb has an elaborate entry way.
Of course, the Qin Dynasty emperor’s tomb contains the Terra Cotta Warriors (see ETE #66).
Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, on Tiananmen Square, is visited by thousands each day.
This simple cemetery in Taos Pueblo reflects their unpretentious lifestyle.
John Paul Jones’ tomb is revered at the US Naval Academy..