The Glasgow Necropolis

The Glasgow Necropolis

Glasgow is a beautiful city with so much to see. And my favorite of these is the Glasgow Necropolis. I love wondering through the various paths; seeing how it changes from season to season; and taking dozens of photos to document it. Seriously, you don’t want to know how many pictures I have of the Necropolis alone; it’s probably too many.

One of the first pieces I wrote about Glasgow was inspired by my many walks through the Glasgow Necropolis. Find Me By the Stones is a creative nonfiction piece and it actually became the first written and included in To Scotland.

But what is the Necropolis, you ask? Well, it’s in the name: the City of the Dead. Yes, the Necropolis is a beautiful MASSIVE cemetery, just beyond Glasgow Cathedral, and overlooking the city. So here’s a little bit of info and lots of reminiscing about the Glasgow Necropolis.

The Walk-Through

The Necropolis is such a unique and enjoyable walk, especially if you have a nice day. A lot of people hesitate when they consider strolling through a cemetery, but they forget that many are designed to be beautiful. Most cemeteries in the States are rather dull, but often this is because they are newer. Older cemeteries still hold this ancient beauty—and the Necropolis is no different.

You can’t deny the beauty that exists here. I can’t resist taking as many photos as I can in the Necropolis; it’s always something different, depending upon the weather.

What I admire most is the artistry on display. Cemeteries combine the craftwork of man and the beauty of nature. Being that the Necropolis was built in the Victorian age, many of these stones were likely carved by hand. To me, there is something magical about seeing this combination of structure and nature alive in one place. In the final place.

Now, I can’t really advise you on how and where to walk through this cemetery—because there’s just too many options! Having been built in the Victorian period, it has the feel of a park. There are meandering pathways, which can take you through the acres of grounds in a variety of ways. And this design makes it an easy-to-stroll spot. This is why it’s a great choice for a quiet walk on a nice day.

I can recommend that if you find your way to the Necropolis, you should enter via the Bridge of Sighs, the bridge just next to the cathedral. This is simply because there’s something breathtaking about that being your first view—your first entry—to this City of the Dead. It’s as though the whole cemetery invites you in. Some days, it really has felt like I’m entering a different world entirely.

Or perhaps I’m just a little weird. I do love wandering through cemeteries.

Making a Day in Glasgow?

If you are spending a day in Glasgow, a nice at-your-pace tour to do would include seeing the Necropolis, the Cathedral, St. Mungo’s, and the Provand’s Lordship. You can definitely fit all of these in if you get an early start on the day. They’re all right next to one another.

It’s a good way to see the sights while also getting your steps for the day. I always walk from city centre to the Necropolis. It’s a little out of the way, but not far, and Glasgow is pretty easy to navigate.

If you want a more visual description, please read Find Me By the Stones, found in my book To Scotland—which you can either buy on Amazon or read for free on the website.

Hot Facts

  • It officially opened in April 1833, shortly after the Cemeteries Act was passed in Britain.
  • The Necropolis is a whopping 37 acres with 50,000 buried on the grounds with approximately 3500 monuments. That means less than 5% have a memorial in their honor.
  • Each of those 50,000 buried have their names, genders, cause of death, and date of birth and death officially on record in the Mitchell Library.
  • It is multi-faith, in that those buried are of many different faiths; the Necropolis does not discriminate based on religion.
  • The statue of John Knox sits at the top of the hill, and predates the cemetery itself—being erected in 1825—but John Knox himself is not even buried in the Necropolis.

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