tombstone tourists

Taphophilia Origin: Ancient Greek τάφος (taphos, “funeral rites”, “burial”, “funeral”, “wake”; “tomb”, “grave”) + English -philia (from the Ancient Greek φιλία (philia), philia, “love”, “fondness”)

If wandering through cemeteries, imagining the lives of those who lay beneath the poems and quotes, and taking pictures of the tombstones is something that someone you know enjoys, s/he just might have a mild case of taphophilia. Also called a “tombstone tourist,” or a “cemeterian,” or even a “cemetery hunter,” the people afflicted with this don’t seem to suffer from it. Quite the contrary, they find walking through a cemetery to be the most peaceful of hobbies. What’s not to love? Trees, peace, quiet, maybe even a rest beneath a tree. Or perhaps the contemplation of life itself while leaning up against a … beautifully carved rock.

Glasnevin Cemetery by William Murphy via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I always enjoy wandering through old cemeteries and stopping to think about who is there and the age they died. It is also interesting to visit historical cemeteries and notice the number who died close together indicating some sort of communicable disease outbreak. One of the most sobering visit to a cemetery I ever made was the one in France close to where D-Day invasion occurred. There are thousands and thousands of white stone crosses of young men who gave their life that day on the banks of Normandie beaches. It is haunting. Impeccably kept, it is a US owned property and hundreds come every day to give their thanks and pay respect for the sacrifices made. War is such an ugly thing.

  2. Krista says:

    I’m am not very fond of cemeteries, but when we do visit I do enjoy reading the headstones to see who it belongs to. I like seeing how long their life was as well as how many kids they had and etc. Its even interesting to see if any share the same birthday or anniversary as someone I know. If I go with my parents to an older cemetery sometimes we will wander over to the older headstones just to see how different they are from ours nowadays.

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