Visiting Scotland's Finest Victorian Cemetery, Glasgow Necropolis

Castle St, Glasgow G4 0UZ, UK
Victorian cemetery

The Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian garden cemetery, has become a famous landmark in Scotland's largest city. Modeled on Paris's Père-Lachaise, it is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world due to its architectural elegance and timeless aesthetics.

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Although the 15 ha (37 ac) Necropolis in Glasgow is the final resting place of 50,000 people, it contains only a small number of those whose names appear on monuments, and not every grave has a stone. Here are monuments of various architectural styles designed by famous architects and designers of the time, such as Alexander "Greek" Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The cemetery is multi-denominational, with a small section for Jews, and it contains numerous notable monuments, including the John Knox Monument from 1825.

One of my favorite places to visit in European cities is old cemeteries. They don't offer new dramas or the pain of loss; they only tell old stories. Visiting the Necropolis in Glasgow was a fascinating experience; it has an exceptional atmosphere, and you feel transported back in time. When I stood in front of 18th-century tombstones, I imagined what the dead looked like when they were alive, their lifestyles, and their households. I'm sure they, like us, had hopes and dreams; they wanted to be loved and, perhaps, were in love with someone.

Glasgow Necropolis in Photos

Victorian garden cemetery
Merchant's House burial vaults

Victorian garden cemetery
The cemetery's northwest corner

Victorian garden cemetery
There is a lot of history in the cemetery

Victorian garden cemetery
The monuments, like watchful spirits, look down on the city

History of Glasgow Necropolis

The most beautiful cemetery in France is Paris's Père Lachaise, which Napoleon established in 1804. Following this, a Parisian-style wave began in Scotland's new cemeteries. The Merchants' House agreed in 1831 that Fir Park would be more profitable as Glasgow's version of Père Lachaise.

The Glasgow Necropolis officially opened in 1833; the oldest grave is that of a Jew, Joseph Levi, a jeweler, who died in the opening year. Elizabeth Miles, the stepmother of Superintendent George Mylne, was the first Christian buried at the cemetery the same year. 50,000 burials in 3,500 tombs have taken place here, according to the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis. The cemetery's use declined after 1900.

How to Get to the Glasgow Necropolis

The cemetery sits on a hill near Glasgow Cathedral, mainland Scotland's oldest cathedral and the oldest building in Glasgow, about a 15-minute walk northeast of the Merchant City. Ornate gates, located south of the cathedral, define the main entrance. Admission is free; it opens daily from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Collins Street bus stop (lines 19, 38, 57).

Official website: Friend of Glasgow Necropolis

Where to Stay in Glasgow

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