Destination Cemeteries

Would you consider traveling thousands of miles to visit a cemetery? Lots of people do, especially if the cemetery is full of famous people, or haunted, or even humorous. C'mon, you're going to end up there anyway, so you might as well see them while you can still enjoy them!

Père-Lachaise, Paris

Burial at the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris is the ultimate status symbol, with a price tag to match. You can visit the graves of American dancer Isadora Duncan, singer Jim Morrison, and playwright Molière. Wikipedia has a long list of famous people buried there. The most visited grave there today is that of writer Oscar Wilde, whose monument stone is constantly decorated with long-stemmed roses and lipstick kisses. The cemetery receives over two million visitors every year!

St Louis Cemeteries, New Orleans

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A friend of mine arranged her honeymoon around a tour of "haunted" cemeteries in New Orleans, Louisiana! In most cemeteries, concrete tombs are decorative and the remains of the deceased are buried underneath. Since much of New Orleans lies below sea level, above-ground tombs actually contain the remains, often of many people. St. Louis Cemetery #1 is promoted as the burial site of "voodoo queen" Marie Laveau, who is said to walk about when the spirit moves her. So to speak. St. Louis #2, in the French Quarter, is the final resting place of jazz musicians, pirates, and war heroes.

The Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania


The oxymoronicly-named Merry Cemetery of Sampata is world-renowned for the ornately-carved wooden crosses that bear painted art and poetry chronicling the life, and sometimes the death, of the deceased. The grave of a three-year-old girl has a painting of the car that hit her, and a poem that translates as:image3974
Burn in Hell you damned Taxi
That came from Sibiu
As large as Romania is
You couldn't find any other place to stop
Only in front of my house
To kill me?

In a village this small, there are no secrets, even after death. One cross tells what everyone already knew about this fellow:
One more thing I loved very much,
To sit at a table in a bar
Next to someone else's wife.

Self-taught woodworker and poet Ioan Patras Stan carved brightly-colored memorials for over 50 years. You can see closeups of the Merry Cemetery crosses in this photo gallery.

China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
YouTube // Deep Look
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!


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