"And if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death."
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Highgate Cemetery is located in Swains Lane, Hightage, North London. It was built in 1839 as one of seven planned cemeteries to accommodate burials in the quickly expanding city, which had previously taken place in local churchyards. It's quite a famous tourist destination, and as I find old cemeteries really interesting, I decided to go check it out. Highgate is divided into two segments: the East Cemetery which is the final resting place of famous people such as Karl Marx, Ralph Richardson and George Eliot, and the West Cemetery which is more famous for its stunning Victorian architecture.
Victorian attitudes about religion and death account for the lavish mausoleums and various memorials designed using styles that were in vogue at the time--classical symbols, angels, death masks (plaster placed over the deceased person's face so a statue could be fashioned as an exact likeness), statues of people's pets, etc. The cemetery also boasts two amazing architectural designs in the Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon, which our guide said were once painted in vibrant colors to reflect their exotic origins. Over time these memorials have been reduced to worn grey stone and nature has definitely taken over. The large trees and creeping vines add an extra touch of eeriness to the already haunting atmosphere.