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Saturday, 22 February 2014


The difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that graveyards are attached to churches while cemeteries stand alone.

When the atheistic Cult of Reason was sponsored by the French revolutionary government to replace Catholicism, cemetery gates in France had to bear the inscription "Death is an eternal sleep."

The most visited cemetery in the world is Cimetière du Père Lachaise (see below), which was established in Paris in 1805.

                                          Photo by Peter Poradisch

The London Necropolis Company opened a vast cemetery at Brookwood, near Woking, Surrey in 1852. It had a private railway station, adjoining Waterloo, its own trains, and two stations in the cemetery itself, with the name Necropolis.

The most-visited presidential grave is John F. Kennedy's in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The only other president buried in Arlington is William Howard Taft.

Bessie Smith (1894-1937) is regarded as the greatest female blues singer. After Smith's death, her grave was unmarked for 33 years because her husband, bootlegger Jack Gee, stole the headstone money.

Approximately 200 pets are buried a day in a pet cemetery.

The largest cemetery in the world is Wadi as-Salam in Najaf, Iraq. It covers an area of 1,486 acres and has been a burial site since the 7th century and is thought to hold the remains of more than ten million people.

The largest cemetery in the Western word is Calverton National Cemetery at Long Island, New York, It covers 1, 045 acres but was opened only in 1978 so hosts the remains of less than 300,000 people.

The second largest cemetery in terms of size is Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg, Germany. It covers an area of  990 acres, and has been in continuous use since 1877.

New York city's Washington Square Park used to be a graveyard. There are over 20,000 people buried there.

In New Orleans the tombs are located above the ground in cemeteries, given the high water table in the area.

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