What is a Necropolis?

What is a necropolis? A necropolis is a very big cemetery made up of ornamental, elaborate tomb monuments. The word comes from the ancient Greek, and means ‘city of the dead’. Nekros means dead, and polis means city. Although people use the name for modern cemeteries, it belongs to the Ancient World.

What is a NecropolisIt can also be said that a necropolis is an ancient gravesite of a powerful, and usually famous, historical figure. The tombs are usually huge structures. So it was the beginning of a necropolis.

Some of the more famous necropolises are –

Wadi-us-Salaam – What is a Necropolis

  • this necropolis is in Iraq and is the largest in the world.
  • it covers 1,485.5 acres, and contains over 5,000,000 bodies.
  • Daily burials here have been taking place for about 1,400 years.
  • since 2014, the burial plots have been running out. Unfortunately, this results in theft or even illegally traded.
  • This is the burial place of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, where people visit his mausoleum the most.


In Israel, there are two famous necropolises –

Mount of Olives – What is a Necropolis

  • It’s a burial place from Biblical times to the present day for Jews.
  • It is the burial site of the most important citizens of Jerusalem.

Beit She’arim – What is a Necropolis

  • It is in the southern foothills of the lower Galilee.
  • It’s from the second century AD and became the most important burial place outside Jerusalem.
  • It is with Rabbi Judah, the Patriarch, who was the spiritual and political leader of the Jewish people.

Some other Interesting Necropolises around the World

  • The Makli Hill Necropolis in Pakistan is one of the largest in the world. It has a diameter of about 8 kilometres and is the burial place of about 125,000 saints.
  • The Giza Necropolis in Egypt is probably the most well-known in the world. You’ll find the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the tomb of an ancient Pharoah. This necropolis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is also the Valley of the Kings.
  • The Vatican Necropolis is also famous, and lies below the Vatican City, at depths of between 5 and 12 meters below the burial place of St Peter. It is also said that St Peter is buried here as it’s close to the Circus of Nero. In 2003, during construction of a car-park, more of the necropolis was unearthed. Also, today the site is now open to visitors.
  • Brookwood, Woking, Surrey –  Once the world’s largest cemetery, it has some 240 000 graves.  

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All info was correct at time of publishing