Photo Essay: Sightseeing Amongst The Dead


Just to check to see if my own travel fascination follows the path of Making An Exit, the book I discussed yesterday, I dug through my photos to see  what mementos I could find.  It turns out that I seem to have a lively interest in visiting the dead. Funerary sculptures, memorials, cemeteries and souvenirs from many places around the world.

Civil War Veteran Grave: Henry Butts
Grave of Civil War Veteran Henry Butts, Danville, Ohio

And on a personal note, here’s the tomb of my great-grandfather who was a Civil War soldier. A visit to my home state generally includes a visit to the graves of relatives and ancestors. One of the graves with the Civil War designation in that small town Ohio cemetery, contained the remains of a fourteen-year-old boy. My, the amazing things you can discern in a graveyard!

I can think of so many more possibilities.  There are the candles lit for souls in churches around the world, the saints preserved in glass coffins and VIPs buried under church floors. I’ve seen an ossuary at Meteora in Greece, cemeteries with the deceased photograph in Spain,   ancient carvings representing the dead in both Greece and Italy. In fact, I can’t pass a rural church’s graveyard without stopping for a look. Have you ever thought about how much of your travel is devoted to checking out the culture of death? This photo essay is part of Travel Photo Thursday, and if you want to see more of lively pictures from around the world, go to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox. Here is a great collection of visits to cemeteries from various photographers on Jim O’Donnell’s site. Beautiful photos.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

10 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Sightseeing Amongst The Dead

  1. Very great post and thank you for sending me the link! As with the cemetaries post on my website, I love these places. I dont find them sad. I find them so fascinating. I think the most interesting thing about this post is the story about your great grandfather and the Civil War. Have you ever written more about him? I’d love to know more.


  2. I remember at one point when I was living in Portugal, in the town of Aveiro, my friend and I just part of a day walking through a cemetery.

    It was a fascinating to look at how that culture dealt with death in that community. The crypts were interesting to see.

    I don’t remember why we actually went there, but we did, and it made an interesting memory.

  3. There is a beauty to graveyard and tomb shots. I also think the history that is so often connected with also makes them romantic. Your shot of the Boston burial grounds reminds me of the Old Burial ground in downtown Halifax. I wandered around there the last time I was home.

  4. I have a morbid fascination with catacombs! Two of the best I have been to are the Cappuccini Catacombs in Palermo and the Capuchin Crypt in Rome…just incase you’re in either city!

  5. I really like the shots of Paul Revere’s and Kerimeikos. Interesting – we probably all have a collection of cemetery shots and wonder what we’re ever going to do with them!

  6. I have visited the cemetary in Ingham, N.Q. Ingham is a sugar cane town, settled by Italian immigrants, so the tombs are large and showy, unlike others in Queensland. I heard about an amazing cemetary in Milan, Italy, but we ran out of time and failed to get out to see it. Next time. Apart from that I have looked at the gruesome bone arrangements in a church in Rome and the tombs in Winchester Abbey – oh and Christopher Columbus in Seville’s cathedral. O.K. seems I have seen a few without searching them out.

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