Cemeteries, curious tourist destinations of ParisDecember 2, 2018
The Père Lachaise is one of the most visited places in the French capital and not only for tourists, it is quite common to find Parisians strolling through its streets.
One of the main attractions of this site is the large number of famous people who rest there, among them singers, musicians, politicians or writers. In fact, it is necessary to have the help of a map to find their graves.
One of the most frequented is the singer Jim Morrison, leader of The Doors. On the gravestone there are usually flowers, records, photos and other memories of fans who come up there to honor this mythical figure of rock.
Another unrepeatable singer who rests in this Parisian cemetery is Edith Piaf. It has just turned 55 years since the death of one of the most recognized voices in French music. His songs are as famous as “La vie en rose” or “Non je ne regrette rien”. The real name of the artist was Edith Giovanna Gassion, although she was known as Edith Piaf (piaf means sparrow in French) for her helpless appearance.
Another of the most sought tombs in the Père Lachaise is that of the writer Oscar Wilde, a mausoleum that visitors have covered with kisses. Also buried in this cemetery is the great French playwright Moliere, author of great plays such as “El enfermo imaginario”, “El misántropo” or “Tartufo”.
But the list of illustrious people who rest in this cemetery is much wider. Chopin, Marcel Proust, Modigliani, Maria Callas or Camille Pisarro are just some of the great names who have found their last home among the walls of Père Lachaise.
JEWISH CEMETERY OF PRAGUE
In the city of Prague there is another necropolis whose visit awe. It is the old Jewish cemetery dating from the fifteenth century and was used as a burial site until 1787. Since it hosted the deceased for so many years and could not be extended, the solution was to make the burials one above the other, so that in some places of the necropolis there are up to ten layers.
According to the Official Tourism Portal of Prague, the most important person buried there is Rabbi Jehuda Liwa ben Becalel, a scholar and pedagogue known as Rabbi Löw, who is related to the creation of the Golem.
Legend has it that this rabbi created a great clay doll and endowed it with life by putting a piece of parchment in his mouth on which he had written the name of God.
Before each Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jews, the rabbi extracted the parchment from the Golem’s mouth and it remained immobile. However, one day he forgot to do it and the creature became enraged and caused great destruction in the city. There are different versions about the end of the Golem, but all agree that the remains of this mythical being would still rest in some corner of the Old-New synagogue in Prague.
But if there is a city famous for legends is Edinburgh and especially its cemeteries. One of the best known of the Scottish capital is the Old Calton. There is buried David Allan, a painter who lived in the eighteenth century. On his gravestone you can see a large stain that resembles a face with a very open mouth. Legend has it that this is the last work of the artist who represents his own face asking for help because, apparently, he was one of those people with catalepsy who were buried alive.
In this cemetery is also the philosopher David Hume, in a large mausoleum in the form of a keep. Near its grave a monument in honor to several Scottish soldiers who died in the war of American secession and that is crowned by a statue of the American president Abraham Lincoln rises.
This cemetery, which opened in the eighteenth century, had to be modified later due to the construction of a road, so it was divided into two parts. This circumstance has served to feed the legends about apparitions and paranormal events so abundant in Edinburgh.
The Scottish capital has another beautiful cemetery, that of Greyfriars. It is a place that receives many visitors who arrive there attracted, in part, by the history of the dog Bobby. When the owner of Bobby passed away, he was buried in this cemetery. His faithful pet did not separate from him until the end of his days, so he stayed by the grave for 14 years. The neighbors of Edinburgh became attached to him and brought him food. Today, a statue reminds Bobby near the entrance to the cemetery. It has a very bright nose because it is believed that petting this puppy brings good luck.
In addition to Paris, Prague or Edinburgh, there are other European cities whose cemeteries are an almost obligatory stop for any visitor. Under the theme “its history, our history”, the European cemeteries route, sponsored by the Council of Europe, recommends some of them, such as San Nicolás and Santa María in Berlin or the Montjuic cemetery in Barcelona, among many other suggestions.
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