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  • Brian D. Hinson

Visit the Dead


Crypt in a German cathedral.
Crypt in a German cathedral.

Cemeteries, crypts, mausoleums, and memorials to the dead. These are ways for the living to honor the deceased, and a means for the dead to live on, their names and sometimes faces carved into stone.


Ricoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ricoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

They’re everywhere. Is there a city on the planet that doesn’t have a place to mourn their ancestors?


Tomb of a Muslim saint in Timbuctu, Mali.
Tomb of a Muslim saint in Timbuctu, Mali.

When traveling, don’t forget the dead. While the museums and popular sites may be crowded, the cemeteries are not, except perhaps on certain holidays or observances. Peaceful and filled with sculpture, a quiet walk here can be a tranquil, fulfilling experience.


Church of St. Ursula, Cologne, Germany, an ossuary, walls decorated with human bones.
Church of St. Ursula, Cologne, Germany, an ossuary, walls decorated with human bones.

Many cathedrals have grand crypts, and you can see the face of a cardinal that passed away 500 or more years ago. Some churches are ossuaries, their walls densely decorated with bones. Some have adjacent graveyards, where time has scoured the names away, but the markers tell you that here, underneath, someone lived their life in this town and now spends eternity by their church.


Cemetery in Granada, Nicaragua.
Cemetery in Granada, Nicaragua.

So, while you yet live, pause for a moment in your hectic schedule. Whether in your hometown or abroad, give the dead a visit.



Man with skull
Picking up a skull and riffing a one-man show of Hamlet is frowned upon in most cultures.

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