Tourism at Berlin's historic cemeteries

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Felix Mendolssohn...E.T.A. Hoffmann, Marlene Dietrich, Willy Brandt, Rosa Luxemburg [Bertolt Brecht, Helmut Newton,] and Karl Liebknecht all have something in common: their graves are to be found amidst Berlin's myriad assortment of cemeteries.

Some 260 cemeteries of varying size are to be found in the German capital, of which 190 are still in use today. Extraordinary in their size and character, they sprawl across more than 1,200 hectares (3,707 acres) of land in and around Berlin...

Today, 90 of the cemeteries belong to the city-state of Berlin, 118 to the German Protestant Church authorities, and nine to the Roman Catholic Church.

There are five Jewish cemeteries in Berlin, including Europe's largest site of Jewish burial, in the city's Weissensee district. There is also a Muslim, a Russian Orthodox Church and a British Commonwealth War Cemetery on the city's Heerstrasse, near the Olympic Stadium.

Some Berlin cemeteries were devastated during World War II, and a few in the border area during the city's postwar division were sealed by the communists and spiked with watch towers and border installations after the Wall went up in 1961.

Those devastations aside, Berlin's cemeteries are in remarkably good shape, having been handsomely restored, often by volunteer working groups.

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