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  • Writer's pictureBrooklyn Nieves

The 7 Greatest Columbaria in the World

Updated: Jun 10

Columbaria are sacred places where cremated remains are stored, often in beautifully designed niches within serene environments. These structures not only serve as final resting places but also as architectural marvels and cultural treasures.

Here are eight of the greatest columbaria in the world, celebrated for their historical significance, design, and tranquil settings.

1. Chapel of the Chimes, USA

Chapel of the Chimes, located in Oakland, California, is an iconic and architecturally significant columbarium designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan. Established in 1909, it features stunning Gothic architecture, beautiful gardens, and serene courtyards. The intricate design elements, including ornate stonework and elegant stained glass windows, make it a tranquil and reverent place for memorialization. Chapel of the Chimes is not only a place of rest but also a cherished part of Oakland's cultural heritage.

2. Okunoin Cemetery, Japan

Located on Mount Koya in Japan, Okunoin Cemetery is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. The columbarium here is part of a larger cemetery that holds the remains of monks and laypeople. The serene, forested environment and ancient stone markers create a tranquil atmosphere for reflection and remembrance. The site is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognized for its cultural and spiritual significance.

3. The Columbarium at Golders Green Crematorium, UK

Golders Green Crematorium in London is home to one of the UK's most famous columbaria. Established in 1902, it was the first crematorium in London and has since become the final resting place for many notable figures, including Sigmund Freud and Bram Stoker. The columbarium features elegant cloisters, gardens, and a peaceful chapel, making it a revered site for memorialization.

4. The National Memorial Arboretum Columbarium, UK

Located in Staffordshire, England, the National Memorial Arboretum is a sprawling site dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces and civilian organizations. The columbarium within the Arboretum is designed to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, offering a tranquil and reflective space for visitors. It is a significant site of national remembrance and respect.

5. The Columbarium at Père Lachaise Cemetery, France

Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, known for its artistic and historical significance. The columbarium at Père Lachaise is a hidden gem within this iconic cemetery, providing a dignified resting place for cremated remains. The cemetery itself is a cultural landmark, attracting visitors from around the world to its beautiful tombs and monuments.

6. The Columbarium at Manila Memorial Park, Philippines

Manila Memorial Park in the Philippines features one of the largest and most beautifully maintained columbaria in Southeast Asia. The park provides a serene environment with lush gardens, reflecting pools, and meticulously designed niches. It serves as a peaceful haven for families to honor and remember their loved ones in a dignified setting.

7. San Francisco Columbarium, USA

The San Francisco Columbarium, managed by the Neptune Society, is a historic and architecturally stunning structure located in San Francisco, California. Built in 1898, it features a grand rotunda with stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and beautiful mosaics. This columbarium is not only a peaceful resting place but also a piece of San Francisco's rich history.


These seven columbaria represent some of the most remarkable and revered resting places around the world. From historic structures to serene natural settings, each columbarium offers a unique environment for honoring loved ones and preserving their memories. Whether celebrated for their architectural beauty, cultural significance, or tranquil ambiance, these columbaria stand as testaments to the enduring importance of remembrance and reflection.

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