Beautiful burial sites
In her book Cities of the Dead: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries, taphophile Yolanda Zappaterra presents a guide to some 50 burial sites around the world.
From Japan and Australia to Ireland and Senegal, she delves into wide-ranging rituals, fashions and customs around death and burial to present an absorbing picture of the after world. Here is a small selection of her favourites from the book.
Issyk-Kul cemeteries, Kyrgyzstan
A complex cultural mix of nomadic Central Asian, Islamic and Soviet makes the many cemeteries around the Issyk-Kul lake region of Kyrgyzstan as unique as they are arresting – so much so that one of them, Sary-Kamysh, was voted one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world by National Geographic.
Spindly wire-frame yurt skeletons, brick-built monuments that look like mini-mosques, decorated towers and even onion-domed mausoleums styled on Russian churches offer a fascinating illustration of the region’s mix and heritage.
Fadiouth Shell Island, Joal-Fadiouth, Mbour, Senegal
Sitting like a surreal mirage on the Senegalese coastline some 100km south of Dakar lies what must surely be the noisiest cemetery in the world.
Respectful silence is impossible as your feet crunch over the ton upon ton of broken clam shells that make up the pretty island of Fadiouth, a traditional estuary fishing village linked to its cemetery via a wooden bridge.
The cemetery is notable for being used by both the predominant Christian population but also a significant Islamic population, including the first missionary who died in Senegal.
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