The world’s largest, most beautiful and most awkward rural cemetery

Ohlsdorf Cemetry surprised me most of all the cemetries I have seen around the world. Until recently I did not know, that the world’s largest cemetery is just a bike ride away from my place in the north of Hamburg, Germany. When my friend asked me one day ,if I would like to join her, riding there with our bikes and I felt it was a really akward idea, since I felt I’d rather go to a park or the sea on a sunny day instead of a cemetery.

Yet, what I experienced, once I was there, was overwhelming. Not only due to the size of the park (391 hectares with 12 chapels over 1.5 million burials in more than 280,000 burial sites and streets with a length of 17 km) but also since I had never seen a cemetery with public transportation (two bus lines with 25 bus stops). Ohlsdorf Cemetry is not only used as a burial ground, but also as a recreational area, so we met people riding on their bikes or even jogging through the park. The atmosphere was absolutely unique, since somehow it connected life and death in a very respectful and natural way.

It has got many impressive mausoleums, huge rhododendron bushes, ponds and birds, sculptures and although about two million people from all over the world visit the cemetery every year it was a quiet recreational place.

So if you live in Hamburg, it’s a must see and if you ever happen to travel to Hamburg, make sure, you put this experience on your list. You will be touched, inspired and very fulfilled afterwards – I promise.

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Sherry Clayton Works

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