An Intriguing Tour of the Glasgow Necropolis

Prominently situated on a hill above the Glasgow Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of St. Mungo), the Glasgow Necropolis is the final resting place for at least fifty thousand people who have been buried in approximately 3,500 tombs. This Victorian cemetery in Glasgow, Scotland, has been modeled along the lines of the famous Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.

The Glasgow Necropolis was established in 1831 by the Merchants’ House of Glasgow. Renowned architects, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, David Hamilton and John Bryce designed a number of the tombs and other buildings in the necropolis. The necropolis features numerous obelisks, statues and pinnacles, decorated in ornate sculptural detail of the finest quality, in memory of the wealthiest inhabitants in the area who were buried there. The grandeur of the Glasgow Necropolis is testimony to the wealth and security experienced by many in the area during the 19th century.

The main entrance to the Glasgow Necropolis is reached by crossing a bridge known as the “Bridge of Sighs”, which more than likely earned its name because it formed part of the funeral procession route. The bridge crosses the Molindinar stream, the site where, in the 6th century, St. Mungo baptized Christian converts. The pathways of the cemetery wind uphill through rows of decorative tombs to the summit, dominated by a 62 meter tall statue of John Knox – a prominent Scottish clergyman who was a leader of the Protestant Reformation.

As one of the most significant cemeteries in Europe, the Glasgow Necropolis is a major tourist attraction. Its value lies partly in its contribution to the townscape and its relationship to the Glasgow Cathedral, while serving as a monument to the past.

The peaceful park area around the necropolis is popular with local inhabitants and tourists alike. On a clear day the valley of the Clyde and hills of Cowal, Kyle and Cunninghame can be seen from the park.

Visitors to the fascinating city of Glasgow in Scotland should consider taking a guided tour along the Glasgow Necropolis Heritage Trail. Starting off at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art, the trail takes visitors across the Bridge of Sighs, through the extensive necropolis grounds, across Grey Rock, ending back at the museum. It is sure to be an experience not easily forgotten.