Show Us Those Amazing Tombs and Mausoleums

Across the globe exists magnificent displays of architecture and craftsmanship that were created not only to leave future generations in awe, but to honor those destined to spend eternity inside. These amazing tombs and mausoleums were also seen as status symbols, sending their eternal inhabitants off to the afterlife with the same level of pomp and circumstance they enjoyed in life.

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(Image: Diego Delso/Public Domain)

After the fall of the Saadi Dynasty, the Saadian tomb housing the remains of the dynasty’s most important figures was sealed shut. Once the tomb was rediscovered, inside were columns made of Italian Carrara marble, gold fixtures, a garden, and some 66 princes interred among other royal figures. Inside the Monastery of Alcobaça, sits an ornate sarcophagus, adorned with magnificent religious carvings. There lies Inês de Castro, the crown prince of Portugal’s lover. After his father had her executed, Prince Pedro had Inês placed in a lavish tomb inside the monastery. Upon his death, he was also interred in the monastery. Far from the pyramids of prominence in Egypt, reside a few pyramids that were of equal importance to members of the 9th-century Xia Dynasty. These hive-shaped constructions are believed to house the imperial remains of the Xia Dynasty, whose kingdom all but vanished at the hands of the Mongols. These are just a tiny, almost microscopic, sampling of the marvelous tombs and mausoleums across the globe that are macabre and magnificent. Now we’d like to see more!

In the thread below, tell us about a tomb or mausoleum you visited or researched that is simply unforgettable. Where is it located, and who was it constructed for? What were some of the most mesmerizing features, is there any unique history behind its existence? Be sure to include any pictures you might have as well, and drop in your Instagram handle. Your response and photo may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura.

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Hanging with the Hapsburgs in Vienna.

Franz Joseph was unique in that he considered his role as emporer to be a servant of the people. He still appears to be well revered. I think his attitude comes across in his notably sparse crypt.

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The Adam’s Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetary, Washington DC, is an artwork of almost unbearable sadness.

You can learn more about this St. Gaudens artwork at:

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I always like Wellington’s and Nelson#s tombs in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. They share the space with a cafe and the juxtaposition of heroes past with crying babies in prams and suited office workers on lunch break (the soup is good) tickles me. Discover the Crypt - St Paul's Cathedral
I also recommend the Necropolis in Glasgow - the tomb of John Henry Alexander is worth seeing and views over city also good. Monument in Glasgow Necropolis to John Henry Alexander, d. 1851, sculpted by Alexander Handyside Ritchie | National Galleries of Scotland

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Inês de Castro is a woman: " [Inês de Castro and his ill-fated lover‘s ornate sarcophagi inside Portugal’s Monastery of Alcobaça are adorned with magnificent carvings depicting the final judgment.]" it should say be the opposite. She is the ill-fated lover, not him.

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The Racic family mausoleum, Cavtat, Croatia

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My favourite mausoleum is the Kilmorey Mausoleum in Twickenham. It’s built in the Egyptian style and contains two occupied coffins -Black Jack Needham, Earl of Kilmorey, and his great love Priscilla. She died in 1851 and was originally Black Jack’s ward. They eloped and married in 1840. There is an exquisite marble relief, carved in Rome, facing the door which depicts Priscilla on her deathbed, the Earl at her feet and their son at her side. Black Jack joined Priscilla in 1880 to rest together for eternity. It’s not recorded what his second wife though of it all.The monument has been moved twice which must have been a massive undertaking. Firstly, in 1862, when It accompanied Jack to his home at Chertsey, and again in 1868 to Gordon House. There is a secret tunnel which runs from the latter to the tomb. It’s rumoured that Black Jack would dress himself in white, place himself in his coffin, and then make his servants push him on a trolley as practice for his final journey. Today the area above the tunnel is crammed with prim The mausoleum lies behind an anonymous, high brick wall with a small green wooden door set into it would not alert a Twickenham visitor to the prize it conceals. You can glimpse something by just peeping over the top of the wall and behind the sheltering trees, but there’s a better view from the top of a double decker bus if you know where to look. if you do, then you will see one of the most unusual and enduring monuments to a 19th century love story in which the two lovers rest for all eternity. It is usually only open to the lucky few who tend its garden.
But once a year, during Open House weekend, the little green door in the high wall is opened to admit visitors into the secret sanctuary.


Also the mysterious Courtoy Mausoleum in Brompton Cemetery which is rumoured to be a time machine. 20 feet high in the Egyptian style it houses 3 people Hannah Courtoy and her two unmarried daughters. There are reputed to be no plans or drawings but a new lock and key has been recently spotted in the great bronze door.

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The Graves family was one of Chicago’s earliest settlers, arriving from Ohio in 1831. Note the most appropriate sculpture for the family name. The bronze is by the famous Lorado Taft and is called ‘Eternal Silence.’ He married Olive Kendall in 1818. Dexter was a son of Charles Graves and his first wife Lucy Brown, and was a seventh generation descendant of Thomas Graves who settled in Hartford, CT in 1645. Dexter lived in Norwich, Chenango Co., NY, and in Ashtabula Co., OH. His son Henry Graves was one of the richest men in Chicago. Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL.

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My husband and I were in Uzbekistan in 2018 on a Silk Road tour and it was fabulous. Here is one image of the tomb of the Emir Timor in Samarkand. The other is from a tiny mausoleum nearby we discovered by accident. The walls of this mausoleum were plain white, but then you look up…


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St. John Nepomuk’s silver tomb in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.FB_IMG_1571961690620

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The Mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, or Kukai, on Mount Koya. The entire temple complex is gorgeous and so serene; you have to take a mile-long walk through giant cedar trees and an ancient cemetery to reach his temple and tomb. But it isn’t, strictly speaking, a tomb: the belief is that Kukai went in to a cave in 835 CE and began his eternal meditation. True believers say he is in there, alive and waiting for the Maitreya Buddha to appear.

You can’t take photos at the temple or cave, but this is a photo of jizo statues on the walk through the forest cemetery.

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Graceland Cemetery is on my list to go to! I travel full time and make sure I see a cemetery in every town I land in, and being from Illinois, you would think Graceland would have been one I have been to before, but I haven’t. Thank you for the pic :slight_smile:

I vote for Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires. It not only has the tomb of Eva Peron (which admittedly is not all that beautiful), but it also has many other tombs that are beautiful and some come with very interesting stories as well.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-tomb-of-rufina-cambaceres-buenos-aires-argentina

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My vote is for the beautiful Luyties memorial at Bellefontaine cemetery in St. Louis, MO. According to the cemetary’s website www.bellefontainecemetery.org, Herman Luyties made a trip to Italy in the 1900s and fell for a voluptuous sculptors model. He proposed to her but sadly she declined so he commissioned a 12-foot marble statue of her instead. After having it shipped from Italy to St. Louis he initially kept it in the foyer of his home (I can’t believe his wife was okay with that). The sculpture was then moved to the family plot at Bellefontaine. When it began to deteriorate in the weather it was encased in glass. When Mr Luyties passed away he was buried at her feet with an unassuming marker. (Visible if the forefront of the image) The website doesn’t elaborate but my memory says that his wife wasn’t buried on the same plot when she passed away (!) If you go, plan on spending some time there, especially on “Mausoleum row”. It has some of the most beautiful buildings including one on the Nat’l Historic Register of places and the family mausoleum for the Anheuser-Busch family

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Spooky and beautiful. :heart: