Highgate Cemetery, nestled in the heart of London, bears witness to a fascinating history with its eerie, overgrown beauty. Its appearance, like a great gothic ruin, is not by design: in the early 1800s, London’s small church graveyards were overwhelmed, leading to mass burials and the spread of diseases like typhoid and cholera.
To address this, private companies established grand cemeteries on the outskirts, welcoming people of all faiths. Highgate Cemetery, opened in 1839, became one of the most prestigious sites for interment.
Among its illustrious residents are Karl Marx and the pop star George Michael. The cemetery’s size is staggering, with an estimated 150,000 souls resting here, housed in ornate mausoleums, common graves, and catacombs.
In the 19th century, the cemetery was a popular destination, with visitors enjoying the serene views of London. However, it fell into disrepair and was abandoned in 1969, subject to vandalism and theft.
Vandals even believed in the existence of vampires and desecrated graves. Today, Highgate Cemetery remains a captivating reminder of an era long past. Its grandeur and the tales of those interred within make it a hauntingly beautiful place, preserving London’s rich and sometimes macabre history.
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Top image: Highgate Cemetery. Source: Olivier / Adobe Stock.