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These Graves Are Worth a Visit
By Caelon Reed
Warning! Warning! Political opinion here: Appearances matter, so it’s only proper that cemeteries are frequently maintained, and appropriately constructed. So when a person comes to pay respect to a loss one, they can at least find peace in the area their deceased is at rest. Other reasons people visit cemeteries include visiting burials of famous people, or even just to check out the scenery.
Cemeteries have different layouts. Some are neater, more adorned, and even more interesting than others. If you're willing to look past the initial spook that cemeteries bring, you should visit one of these five worthy of your attention:
1. Arlington National Cemetery- Arlington, VA
This cemetery is located on land that originally belonged to General Robert E. Lee, which was seized by the government in 1864. In 1888, the property could have been returned to his family after the Supreme Court ruled it was unlawfully confiscated. Instead his son sold the property for $150,000. Had this not happened, 17,000 gravesites would have been exhumed. The resting place of currently over 400,000 people is well known for its neatly aligned white headstones. Spread across 624 acres, this cemetery holds casualties from every U.S. world war, as well as U.S. presidents, astronauts and other historical figures. The Tomb of the Unknown is also a popular attraction, memorializing unknown soldiers killed in any war.
2. Neptune Memorial Reef- 3.25 km off Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida
There are those who think underground burials are too cliché, so they break the norm and choose this underwater memorial alternative. Holding title as the largest manmade reef ever conceived, this memorial can be found 40 feet below the sea. This cemetery has duality usage, serving as an ecofriendly-resting place for those who have past; and also improving the undersea ecosystem by being the habitat of many underwater locals (aquatic animals), coral reef, and other marine organisms. This memorial reef is a great free adventure for those who love to snorkel and scuba dive.
3. La Recoleta- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Taking a stroll through this cemetery, one could feel as if they’re in an art gallery. La Recoleta is full of brilliant architecture. The entrance alone consists of neoclassical gates and Doric columns. Instead of the standard tombstones and underground burials, La Recoleta has beautifully constructed marble mausoleums garnished with statues positioned to resemble city blocks. This is the resting place of many notable people, including Argentina’s First Lady Eva Perón. This cemetery is not only the place many were laid to rest, but also the site of tragedies. After Rufina Cambacerescaught her mother in bed with her boyfriend, she fell into a catatonic state and was pronounced dead and then buried at La Recoleta. She later woke in her casket and died of a heart attack while trying to escape. (I wonder how her mother felt?)
4. The Mafia Cemetery- Yekaterinburg, Russia
When being to married to the Russian mob goes fatally wrong for your loved one, send him (or her!) to Yekaterinburg, formally known as the “crime capital of Russia." Dead gangsters are honored there with 8-foot tall marble portraits. Full body images are laced in “gangster” gear (leather jackets, suits, jewelry, etc./the whole nine yards). One of the mobsters laid to rest here was so exclusive that he has surveillance cameras to monitor his area.
5. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1- New Orleans, LA
St. Louis Cemetery No.1 is the oldest existing cemetery in New Orleans. Because the city is below sea level, the coffins here are above ground. Since many people in New Orleans practice voodoo, it’s only fitting that this is the supposed burial site of voodoo queen Marie Laveau. This cemetery is made up of vaults, and family and society tombs. When it was first built, it was divided into sections for Catholics, non-Catholics, and “Negroes." This cemetery is a great place to tour to get a feel of New Orleans customs.