LONDON, U.K. – 31 October, 2008 – TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel community, today revealed the top 10 cemeteries in Europe, according to traveller popularity – with London’s Highgate Cemetery claiming top spot.
1. Highgate Cemetery, London, UK
Filled to the brim with gothic tombs and buildings, Highgate Cemetery is the home to many notable world figures, including the tombs of philosopher, Karl Marx and novelists George Eliot and Douglas Adams. Highgate Cemetery is also the site of the famed Highgate Vampire of the 1970’s, which sparked a vampire hunt and other occult activities.
2. Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris, France
One of the world’s most famous cemeteries, located in the east of Paris, Pere-Lachaise is the final resting place for a varied group of people, ranging from rock royalty including Jim Morrison, to French chanteuse, Edith Piaf and Irish novelist, poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde.
3. Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic
Opened in the 15th century and part of the old Jewish ghetto in Prague, this is the oldest known Jewish cemetery in Europe. As the cemetery had to stay within the confines of the ghetto and therefore couldn’t expand, it is estimated that the tombs are layered 12 deep in some parts.
4. Protestant Cemetery, Rome, Italy
A calm and peaceful oasis in Rome, the Protestant Cemetery houses the likes of romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, whose mournful epitaph reads, "This grave contains all that was mortal, of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET, Who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart, at the Malicious Power of his Enemies, Desired these Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water."
5. Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria
The second biggest cemetery in Europe witnesses thousands of passionate classical music pilgrims each year, who pay their respects to famous composers including Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms and Johan Strauss.
6. Catacombe di Roma, Rome, Italy
These ancient catacombs were first constructed in around the second century AD, following the traditional underground burials of the Etruscans. Over the centuries, these catacombs were sacked, pillaged, added to and destroyed. They still contain some very fine examples of early Christian art, including frescos and sculptures and are open to the public every day except Sunday.
7. Cimitero di Staglieno, Genoa, Italy
The Staglieno cemetery is considered an open-air museum in view of the number and the artistic quality of the monuments. Among the celebrities buried here are the Italian XIX century patriot and politician Giuseppe Mazzini, the pop singer and author Fabrizio de Andre, and Oscar Wilde's spouse. The cemetery is even featured on the cover of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart 12" single and Closer album.
8. Cementerio de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain
Occupying practically the entire south hillside of Montjuïc Mountain, the Cemetery of Montjuïc was inaugurated in 1883. Many notable people are buried here, including Joan Miró, one of the best-known Spanish artists, and perhaps the best representative of surrealism. Other notable figures include the musician Isaac Albéniz, the painter and writer Santiago Rusiñol and Salvador Puig Antich, an anarchist famous for being the last person executed on the dictatorship of General Franco.
9. Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, France
Another of Paris’ famous cemeteries, Cimetiere de Montparnasse was created out of several farms in 1824 as a response to cemeteries being banned from central Paris in the early 19th century. The tombs of famous French artists and intellectuals can be found here, including Charles Baudelaire, Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
10. Sudfriedhof, Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig’s South Cemetery is the city’s largest cemetery, located near the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig’s south-east. It is also one of the largest and most beautiful park cemeteries in Germany, featuring numerous rare trees, some 10,000 rhododendron bushes and historical monuments on its grounds. The main chapel is a remarkable building and together with two other chapels, the crematory and a 60 m high bell tower, is the dominating structure in the cemetery. The complex was built according to the model of the Benedictine monastery in Maria Laach in Bavaria.
“It seems that as well as being a fantastic city in which to live life to the full, London also provides the ultimate resting place,” said Amelie Hurst, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
“Whilst visiting local cemeteries may be something of a quirkier pastime than many of the usual holiday activities, these ten special spots boast a unique history, famous residents, striking art and architecture and stunning vistas,” added Hurst.