Top Ten Most Visited Gravesites
“I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality; to leave behind a name which will live forever in this world”. So wrote the novelist AA Milne (Winnie the Pooh) – an assertion overwhelmingly reflected in the recent publication of the 10 most visited gravesites in the world.
In 10th spot is the Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde. The author of The Importance of Being Ernest; The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Ballad of Reading Jail, who was laid to rest in the Pere La Chaise Cemetery, Paris in 1900. In 2011, his tomb was cleaned of the many lipstick marks left there by admirers and a glass barrier was erected around the gravesite to prevent any further desecration.
Martial Arts guru, Bruce Lee (at number 9) lies in Seattle’s Lakeview Cemetery. Lee died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1973, aged 32.
The Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York is the site of the 8th most visited grave – that of American novelist and humorist Samuel L Clemens, better known to readers of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as Mark Twain who died in April 1910.
Coming in as the 7th most visited grave in the world is the final resting place of Frank Sintara who was 82 when he died of a heart attack in 1998. Sinatra was buried at Desert Memorial Park with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a packet of Camel cigarettes and the inscription on his gravestone bears the lyric of one of his hit songs, ‘The Best is Yet to Come’.
Given the outpouring of grief that followed her tragic death in Paris on the 31st August 1997, you might have expected the grave of Diana Princess of Wales to have been higher on the top ten most visited graves than number 6. However, visitors are only allowed to visit the shrine near the island on which she is buried at the 13-thousand acre Althorpe Estate in Northamptonshire once a year between July and September and no visitors are allowed to go on to the island itself.
One of the most famous and frequently visited crypts in the Corridor of Memories at Westwood Memorial Park is that of the enigmatic sixties sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. Her sudden death in 1962 continues to fuel as many conspiracy theories as those surrounding the assassination of US President John F Kennedy with whom the actress is alleged to have had a long-running affair. The tomb of Marilyn Monroe is the 5th most visited resting place in the world.
Buried at the Pere La Chaise Cemetery in Paris, the final resting place of such luminaries as Frederic Chopin, Edith Piaf, Moliere, Maria Callas and previously mentioned Oscar Wilde, is Jim Morrison, former lead singer with sixties pop group The Doors. Since his burial in July 1971, fans of the rock legend have made his grave site the 4th most visited in the world.
When Elvis Presley left this world in August 1977 his burial took place at a mausoleum at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis,Tennessee. However, following an attempt by vandals to steal his casket, his remains were disinterred and reburied at his former home, Graceland. Although Elvis died close to forty years ago, the more than 600-thousand people who pay their respects at Graceland each year, make his the third most visited grave site in the world.
With the exception of The Bible, the many works of William Shakespeare have been studied and translated into more languages than any other writers in history. Although it’s been almost 400 years since his death in 1616, Shakespeare’s tomb in the Holy Trinity Churchyard at Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwicksshire, England still draws huge crowds every day of the year, making the grave of the Bard the 2nd most visited in the world.
When Michael Jackson died on the 25th June 2009, at the age of 50, the world of pop music went into an emotional meltdown. Initially, Google thought the search engine was under attack because of the sheer volume of input, whilst Twitter and Wikimedia both crashed. AOL Instant Messenger which was offline for 40 minutes called it “a seminal moment in Internet history”. The cause of Jackson’s death, his elaborate funeral and the initial secrecy over his burial location before his interment caused much public intrigue. Michael Jackson now rests in the Great Mausoleum at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in California’s Hollywood Hills which was closed to the public until one year after the pop star’s death. Since then, thousands of fans visit each day to place flowers and tributes at the site, and whilst the site has only been opened to the public for a few years, has the real potential to become the number one most visited celebrity graves.