Great people have left an almost indelible mark of the fabric of humanities narrative. But much like every other human that has walked or will walk the Earth, their bodies were undeniably fleeting. This doesn’t mean though that they are not posthumously venerated, their last places of rest becoming shrines and destinations of pilgrimage, celebrating their body of work and their contribution to humanity. Here are 10 famous graves that you should visit before you die.
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Chateau d’ Amboise/ Chapel of Saint Hubert – Leonardo Da Vinci
The Renaissance polymath and one of the world’s greatest artist’s last resting place strangely enough isn’t his native Vinci in the Tuscan region of Italy, but in the Chateau d’ Amboise/ Chapel of Saint Hubert in the North of France due to a commission by Francis I (to build a robot lion that walked, stopped, stood on its hind legs and displayed a cluster of lilies in its chest) that took him there in his old age.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery – Resting place to humanity’s best and brightest
The author known as much for his prose as he was for his flamboyant lifestyle, Oscar Wilde’s grave has become a symbol against homophobia, but receives unique tributes by its visitors. A statue created by sculptor Jacob Epstein depicts a nude man with pursed lips and wings, which is ritually kissed with lip-sticked lips leaving evidence of the great authors’ many fans.
The Polish composer that hails from Warsaw, lived the twilight of his life in Paris. The great composer’s body is buried under a statue of Euterpe (muse of music) with a broken lyre. Although the musical virtuoso’s body lays to rest under Parisian soil, his heart was removed and buried in his homeland of Poland.
Although Morrison lived a short tumultuous life, his music and persona resonates decades after his release from the mortal coil. The site is often littered with bottles of alcohol as fans attempt to have a drink with the man that was as famous for his abuse of it, as he was for his music. It is also one of the most famous tourist attractions in Paris.
Westwood Village Memorial Park– Hollywood’s place of rest
Much like the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the Westwood Village Memorial Park is also the last page in most of the silver screen’s most famous personas.
The quintessential bombshell that was as tragic as she was beautiful, is buried in an above ground Mausoleum with a humble marker.
Heather O’ Rourke and Dominique Dunn
These two all too young actresses that played sisters in the movie Poltergeist, are both buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park. These deaths also gave fuel to the legend surrounding the movie, called the Poltergeist Curse. Heather was just 13 when she passed away during an operation and Dominique was just 29 when she was strangled to death by an estranged boyfriend.
The perpetually tuxedoed member of the Rat Pack was buried in one also. Known for being mind-blowing-ly smooth and immensely talented, he started in comedy starring across from Jerry Lewis and later singing with the Rat Pack.
The famous novelist was cremated and has a marker in the park. His novels and short stories have been made into numerous movies including the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Much like Oscar Wilde he was bravely open about his homosexuality, during an era when this could have even subjected him to personal violence and professional disaster.
Tikhvin Cemetery - Fyodor Dostoevsky
The 19th century author is now famous for his depiction of the human condition in the transitional and grim Russia of the 1800s. Most famous for his heavy (both physically and emotionally) tome: Crime and Punishment. His work has influenced some of the most famous authors, philosophers and academics of the 20th century, including Nietzsche, Hemingway and Chekhov.
Auvers- Sur-Oise – Van Gogh
Easily the most tragic figure of art’s history, Van Gogh’s work was decades ahead of its time, but it never received the accolades it deserved. Plagued by mental illness all his life, he still managed to be a prolific painter and leave a body of work that is revered to this day. He is buried with his brother, Theo (and only person that actually bought one of Van Gogh’s paintings while he was still alive) behind the Notre Dame D’ Auvers Cathedral in a small humble cemetery, covered in a blanket of ivy with a small headstone that simply says (trans.) ‘Here lies Vincent van Gogh’.
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Although visiting someone’s gravesite might seem morbid and dark, in actuality you are celebrating their life and immortality through their work. And I believe no one that has ever explored, discovered or created would ever want to be remembered any other way.