Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top 5 Unusual Cemeteries

5. The World’s First Underwater Cemetery
Neptune Memorial Reef

The Neptune Memorial Reef (also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef or the Atlantis Reef) is the world’s first underwater mausoleum for cremated remains and the world’s largest man-made reef. Opened in 2007, off the coast of Miami Beach, the Neptune Memorial Reef is the perfect final resting place for those who loved the sea.
4. The Merry Cemetery

Cemeteries are often sad places, but they can also be amusing and entertaining. Sapânta, in Northern Romania, is worldwide famous for its Merry Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. What is so unusual about this cemetery? Well, to begin with, the atypical design of the tombstones, which are painted by hand in vivid colors, such as red, blue, green, and yellow. The tombstones are big crosses sculpted from oak wood, engraved with funny epitaphs briefly describing the life or the circumstances in which these persons passed away:
Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in law.
If she had lived three more days,
I would be lying here and she would be reading.
Burn in hell, you damn taxi
That came from Sibiu!
As large as Romania is,
You couldn’t find another place to stop,
But in front of my house to kill me?
S?pân?a is a unique cemetery and a major touristic attraction.  The man behind this concept is Romanian craftsman Ioan Stan Patras, who started sculpting the crosses in 1935. The ancient culture of the Dacians, the Romanian’s ancestors, viewed death as liberation and the soul as immortal. S?pân?a preserves this positive attitude towards death and welcomes it with a smile.
3. How Do I Bury Thee, Let Me Count the Ways…
The Bridge to Paradise – Xcaret’s one-of-a-kind cemetery

The Bridge to Paradise, in the Xcaret Nature and Cultural Park, is quite an intriguing Mexican cemetery. Its structure is based on the Gregorian calendar: the cemetery simulates a hill with seven levels representing the days of the week and 365 colorful tombs on the outside depicting the days of the year. The main entrance is a stairway with 52 steps that represent the weeks of the year.
Each grave is different from the others in design and building materials. One might look like a replica of a famous cathedral, while the next one looks like a sofa or a bed with headboard and pillows.
2. Mysterious Hanging Coffins of China
Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province

Hanging coffins is an ancient funeral custom found only in Asia: there are hanging coffins in China, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Some coffins are cantilevered out on wooden stakes, while some lay on rock projections. Other coffins are simply placed in caves.
The hanging coffins of the Bo people in Gongxian, Sichuan Province, the Guyue people of Dragon Tiger Mountain and the Guyue people of Wuyi Mountain are the most famous. The Wuyi Mountain coffins are the oldest; some are more than 3,750 years old.
As bizarre as it may seem, it makes sense. Why bury a coffin three meters under the ground, if you want to go to heaven?
1. Ancient Egyptian Burial Grounds
The Cemeteries of Giza and the Valley of the Kings

The Giza Plateau, the site of the mysterious Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and thousands of tombs, has attracted more tourists, archeologists, historians, scientists and mathematicians than any other. The Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Khufu or Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and biggest. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it houses the body of Pharaoh Khufu and was built with more than 2 million stones over a period of 20 years. The complex and elaborate funeral customs of ancient Egyptians were believed to ensure immortality in the afterlife.
The Valley of the Kings, a World Heritage Site, is known to contain more than 60 tombs and 120 chambers. It was the main burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom. The fascinating tombs of Egyptian pharaohs are still being discovered to this day.

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