Exploring the world’s first (and most famous) garden cemetery: Père Lachaise

This week Flickering Lamps is taking a break from the hidden, not so well known sites that often grace this site to explore probably the most famous cemetery in the world: Paris’ Père Lachaise.  Opened as the world’s first garden cemetery in 1804, Père Lachaise (or to give its original name, cimetière de l’Est – East Cemetery) was the inspiration for many other grand Victorian garden cemeteries, both in Europe and across the Atlantic in the Americas.  Situated on the edge of the city, Père Lachaise was opened to provide a dignified burial space for all of Paris’ citizens.  Around a million people have been laid to rest there since it opened in 1804, and today, around two million people visit the cemetery every year.

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The extraordinary ossuary at St Leonard’s Church, Hythe

The church of St Leonard sits on a hillside in the pretty coastal town of Hythe in Kent, overlooking the English Channel.  Its history goes back at least 900 years, perhaps even further – a lot of the churches in the area have pre-Norman origins.  It’s a beautiful and imposing building – but if you visit the church’s crypt you will find yourself coming face to face with some unexpected people.

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