Tag Archives: Graveyard

Graveyard World Tour: Highgate Cemetery (West), United Kingdom

EN
(En français ici)

Next on my list of amazing cemeteries I’ve visited: Highgate Cemetery, near London (First cemetery of the tour: Okunoin, Japan). I’ve managed to visit it twice so far: 3 years ago on Halloween, and this summer in August. Most pictures in this article won’t be mine – I couldn’t manage to take enough decent photographs with my damaged phone!

Highgate Cemetery is composed of two parts: the East Cemetery, which is the most recent part, and is quite easily accessible, and the West Cemetery, the oldest part, whose tours are regulated and should be booked in advance – it’s really worth it if you happen to be near London.

For some explanations, I’m indepted to the booklet I bought in Highgate Cemetery in August.

Continue reading Graveyard World Tour: Highgate Cemetery (West), United Kingdom

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Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Cimetière de Highgate (Ouest), Royaume-Uni

fr-airship
(In English here)

Voici le cimetière suivant de ce tour du monde, après l’Okuno-in au Japon : le cimetière de Highgate, près de Londres. Jusqu’ici j’ai eu la chance de le visiter deux fois : à Halloween en 2011, et cet été en août. La plupart des photographies présentées ici ne seront pas les miennes – je n’ai pas réussi à en prendre de suffisamment correctes avec mon téléphone agonisant.

Le cimetière de Highgate est composé de deux parties : le cimetière Est, le plus récent et facilement accessible, et le cimetière Ouest, le plus vieux, dont la visite doit être réservée à l’avance. Si vous allez à Londres, je vous conseille de réserver, cette visite restera sans doute inoubliable !

Je dois certaines précisions et commentaires ici au livret acheté dans le cimetière lors de ma visite estivale.

Continue reading Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Cimetière de Highgate (Ouest), Royaume-Uni

Graveyard World Tour: Okunoin, Japan

EN
(En français ici)

The Okunoin Cemetery in Mount Koya, Japan, will be the first in a series of articles about some of the most inspiring cemeteries I’ve visited.

You might remember my previous articles about my trip to Japan in May (Fushimi Inari Taisha, Zen Gardens and Shojin Ryori). Another place where I had amazing Shojin Ryori food was Ichijoin, a buddhist temple on top of Koyasan where you can spend a night or two. The whole experience was truly unique, I strongly recommend staying there – and it’s really worth waking up at 6am to attend the temple’s morning prayer!

Koyasan (Mount Koya) was settled nearly 1200 years ago by a Monk, Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon Buddhist school. When he died, the monk was entombed in Koyasan, but he is said to be still alive and meditating. Monks have brought him food every day since then.

Continue reading Graveyard World Tour: Okunoin, Japan

Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Okuno-in, Japon

fr-airship
(In English here)

Le cimetière Okuno-in  sur le Mont Koya, au Japon, sera le premier dans une série d’articles consacrée aux cimetières les plus marquants que j’ai visités.

Vous vous souvenez peut-être de mes autres articles sur mon voyage au Japon en Mai (Fushimi Inari Taisha, Jardins Zen et Shojin Ryori – en anglais). Un autre endroit où j’ai pu goûter une somptueuse cuisine Shojin Ryori (nourriture raffinée et végétarienne servie dans les temples) est l’Ichijoin, un temple bouddhiste du mont Koya où il est possible de loger. L’expérience est vraiment unique et je la recommande fortement – c’est même un plaisir de se lever à 6h pour assister à la prière du matin !

Le village du Koyasan (Mont Koya) fut créé presque 1200 ans auparavant par le moine Kobo Daishi, le fondateur de l’école Shingon du bouddhisme japonais. Quand il mourut, il fut enterré à Koyasan, mais on dit qu’il serait toujours vivant, en méditation. C’est pourquoi des moines lui apportent à manger tous les jours depuis lors.

Continue reading Tour du Monde des Cimetières : Okuno-in, Japon

Caspar David Friedrich: Cloister Cemetery in the Snow, 1817-19

The Graveyard Scene

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In my previous article, Graveyards and the City, I said my fascination with graveyards began with graveyards scenes in books. I think it was a scene from The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux.

When I think about “The Graveyard Scene”, She’s in Parties by Bauhaus is always stuck in my head.

The Graveyard Scene… The golden years… She’s in parties…

The pre Romantic and Romantic artists were fascinated with death and specifically graveyards.

The Graveyard Poets were some gloom-oriented English poets from 18th Century, among them Thomas Gray wrote An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Gothic Literature, Victorian Gothic Literature and then Edwardian Literature featured this kind of settings. Early 20th century movies – a lot of book adaptations –  also had a Gothic feel about them (see German Expressionist Movies). The themes and settings survived in later gothic/horror/fantasy books, paintings, movies and video games.

Here are some of my favorite Graveyard Scenes (click the pictures for more details!):

Continue reading The Graveyard Scene

Praha 31, photograph by Viona Ielegems: http://www.viona-art.com/

Graveyards and the City

English

When I was a child, I was afraid of graveyards – and skeletons. They reminded me too much of death. I thought that if I liked something related to death, death would become more meaningful and I did want to negate it.

I avoided graveyards as much as I could, for instance I looked in the other direction each time I had to walk past one, and felt really uncomfortable when I had to enter a cemetary.

However as I grew up, I got more and more inclined towards darker styles, and felt a strange fascination with graveyard scenes in books, then graveyards themselves. I guess trying to embrace such symbols is a way of coping with mortality for me, better than shunning it. It doesn’t work that much, but I have discovered a lot of amazing artworks and places!

When I was a student, my English teacher asked us to make presentations related to the city. I did one on cemeteries.

I began my presentation with a riddle: “There is one in nearly each city. It’s a place full of history, art, architecture, inspiration, nature and crowded with famous people. Guess what I am talking about!”

Nobody guessed. Then I spoke about the London Magnificent Seven, the Tophet in Carthage, Jewish cemeteries, San Michele in Venice, I told them about wildlife and nature in abandoned cemeteries and I shew them some paintings with cemeteries.

More articles to come! The next one: The Graveyard Scene!

(image: Olsany Cemetery, Prague. Praha 31, photograph by Viona Ielegems: http://www.viona-art.com/)