When tourists set out to visit the Pyramids of Egypt, they know that they will find a series of tombs, sarcophagi, mummies and the whole fascinating and mysterious universe of ancient Egyptian funerary and afterlife concepts.
There are also those who opt for a different kind of tour, or even, let's say, a little more obscure. In France, for example, the famous Parisian cemetery Père-Lachaise receives around 3.5 million tourists every year, who walk among candles and vases of flowers, wreaths for wakes and famous tombs such as those of Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Allan Kardec, Oscar Wilde and other famous people who rest there.
Still in the creepy category, the Paris Catacombs are also an invitation for the bravest, who enter the city's dark underground amidst tunnels lined with human bones.
But not so sinister, some postcards around the world are also tombs. Yes, and this fact may still be unknown to the public who visit these architectural landmarks. Did you know that these places are also memorials to ordinary people and important figures?
Westminster Abbey | London, England
One of Europe's oldest cathedrals, Westminster Abbey began construction in 900 and was completed in 1090, undergoing reconstruction in 1517.
London's most important church has been the scene of historic events such as coronations and weddings of England's Royal Family. It also houses the remains of members of the aristocracy and great English scientists. There are Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and, recently, the ashes of physicist Stephen Hawking.
San Michele Island | Venice, Italy
Charming Venice, the capital of Veneto, attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world to sail along the canals of its beautiful 100 islands. But one of them is actually a cemetery island.
This architectural gem was conceived for this purpose, since in 1807 there was no more room for burials on the small islands of the archipelago. As well as beautiful works of funerary architecture, the island of San Michele is home to a beautiful cathedral.
Taj Mahal | Agra, India
For many, the monumental and magnificent Taj Mahal is the ultimate expression of love and romance. This jewel built in white marble was erected between 1632 and 1653 by around 20,000 men at the request of Emperor Shan Jahan. The goal was to honor the memory of his favorite wife, the beautiful Arjumand Banu Begum, who died giving birth to the royal couple's 14th child.
What perhaps not everyone knows is that her tomb remains under the sumptuous monument, encrusted with semi-precious stones applied by the greatest craftsmen of the time.
Kofun Mozu Furuichi | Osaka, Japan
The Japanese word kofun means "ancient tomb". And there are many of them scattered across the country's urban and rural landscape. The largest and most sumptuous is the Kofun Mozu Furuichi in Osaka. It was recently listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is the resting place of Emperor Nintoku and other direct ancestors of Akihito, Japan's current emperor.
There are more than 160,000 kofun graves scattered around the country, in smaller sizes and some of them already blended in with nature. The interior of these tombs remains a mystery to the Japanese people and to the world, as it is not allowed to go inside.
Ipiranga Museum | São Paulo, SP
At weekends, the gardens of Parque da Independência are filled with children and adults. They walk, play and take advantage of the slopes to skate, scooter or just pedal in peace. But there, where the Independence Monument stands, with its torch always lit, the Imperial Crypt has also been installed since 1953.
It houses the remains of Emperor Dom Pedro I, his first wife, the Archduchess of Austria and Empress Consort of Brazil Maria Leopoldina, and his second wife, Amelia Augusta of Leuchtemberg.