Cemeteries are some of the silentest spots in a country. Yet without saying a word, they can still speak volumes, as history, art, anthropology and nature all intermingle. They’re truly underrated in terms of travel destinations, and in honour of Halloween I’ve rounded up my top five from around the globe.
1. Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague
Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery is a Gothic fantasy, with tombstone upon tombstone jostling for any inch of available space. So many in fact, that the ground rises up as if the dead are trying to break free. There are a gob-stopping 100,000 Jews buried here – approximately 10 people per square metre of land. Graves are stacked up to 12 deep, as this was the only spot in Prague in which Jews could be buried between 1439-1787. Jewish custom forbade the removal of older remains, so new residents had to be buried on top of older ones.
Soil was brought in periodically to allow continued burials, so the cemetery is uneven and higher than the surrounding streets, with bordering walls allowing it to remain intact. Each headstone hints at the stories of the multitudes buried below, with symbols indicating their professions, names and personalities. Books on a shelf represent a rabbi, hands a pianist, grapes fertility, and so forth.
Address: Široká, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Sleep close by here