Taj Mahal, in Agra, India
The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. Taj Mahal means Crown Palace; one of the wife's names was Mumtaz Mahal, Ornament of the Palace. The Taj is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world, one of the masterpieces of Indian Muslim architecture, and one of the great sites of the world's heritage.
Lenin's Mausoleum - Moscow, Russia
Also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924 (with rare exceptions in wartime). Aleksey Shchusev's diminutive but monumental granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.
The Egyptian Pyramids in Egypt
A group of ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt.
There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. Most were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.
The most famous Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor - Xian, China
According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Qin Shi Huang was 13 when construction began. He specifically stated that no two soldiers were to be made alike, which is most likely why he had construction started at that young age. Sima Qian, in his most famous work, Shiji, completed a century after the mausoleum completion, wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and "wonderful objects," with 100 rivers fashioned in mercury and above this heavenly bodies below which he wrote were "the features of the earth." Some translations of this passage refer to "models" or "imitations," but he does not use those words.
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa in Alexandria, Egypt
Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. The necropolis consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects of the Pharaonic funeral cult with Hellenistic and early Imperial Roman influences. Due to the time period, many of the features of the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa merge Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural points; some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hair style whilst other features share a similar style. A circular staircase, which was often used to transport deceased bodies down the middle of it, leads down into the tombs that were tunneled into the bedrock during the age of the Antonine emperors (2nd century AD). The facility was then used as a burial chamber from the 2nd century to the 4th century, before being rediscovered in 1900 when a donkey accidentally fell into the access shaft.
The Catacombs of Paris - Paris, France
Are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate, the "Barrière d'Enfer", at today's Place Denfert-Rochereau ), the ossuary fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris' stone mines. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1867.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro - Naples, Italy
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are underground paleo-Christian burial sites in Naples, Italy and are the most important such sites in Italy south of Rome. They are situated in the northern part of the city, on the slope leading up to Capodimonte. The site is now easily identified by the large church of Madre del Buon Consiglio.
Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, Italy
Today they provide a somewhat macabre tourist attraction as well as an extraordinary historical record.
Palermo's Capuchin monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century and monks began to excavate crypts below it. In 1599 they mummified one of their number, recently-dead brother Silvestro of Gubbio, and placed him into the catacombs.
The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Some of the bodies were embalmed and others enclosed in sealed glass cabinets. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they had worn as a penance.
Catacombs of Edinburgh, Scotland
The Edinburgh Vaults or South Bridge Vaults are situated in tunnels built in the 18th century underneath one of the arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments.
Maltese Catacomb Complexes, Rabat, Malta
Rabat is home to the famous Catacombs of St. Paul and of St. Agatha. These catacombs were used in Roman times to bury the dead as, according to Roman culture, it was unclean to bury the dead in the city (Mdina and parts of Rabat were built on top of an ancient Roman city). The Catacombs were also where early Christians secretly met and performed Mass until Constantine I made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and therefore stopped persecuting Christians.
The Catacombs are now looked after by Heritage Malta, the organisation which looks after most of the museums and temples in Malta. Part of St. Paul's Catacombs, the part accessible from the Parish church which is dedicated to the same Saint, was where, according to tradition and as recorded in the Bible, St. Paul stayed for three months when he was shipwrecked on the island in 60 A.D.