An alternative to traditional underground burial, a mausoleum is a final resting place above the earth. A space for above-ground entombment, a mausoleum contains one or many crypts, or burial spaces, for both whole body burial and cremated ashes. A variety of factors will influence its cost.
In this article you will learn:
What is a mausoleum?
Throughout history, around the world and across cultures, mausoleums have provided a peaceful final resting place for loved ones who have passed as well as a place for their friends and family to go to remember and honor those loved ones. They are sanctuaries that can be found in mankind’s earliest records and in places all over the globe. Regardless of when or where, though, mausoleums share a purpose: to memorialize the special lives of those who have passed.
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Turkey (left), Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome (the Mausoleum of Hadrian) (right), Taj Mahal in India (bottom)
Some of the most famous mausoleums are the Taj Mahal in India, Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome (the Mausoleum of Hadrian) and Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
But most mausoleums are usually built on a more modest scale. Almost every cemetery in North America has mausoleums of some type—whether private or community, indoors or outside. And contrary to some thinking, mausoleums are not dark or dank. They do not smell bad or seem scary. In fact, they are often beautiful, light-filled structures of marble and glass dedicated to honoring the memories of loved ones from all walks of life.
Why do people choose mausoleum burial?
There are various benefits to mausoleum burial over traditional ground burial for many people, including:
- Aboveground alternative. Some people simply don't like the idea of being buried underground. For people who dislike the idea of being under soil, mausoleums offer a fresh-air alternative above ground.
- Tradition. As one of the oldest burial methods, mausoleums offer a connection to treasured traditions. For example, in and surrounding areas, aboveground entombment has been the tradition since the time of early settlers.
- Land. Mausoleums are also a good choice for those who live where land is very expensive (think: and ). Because they can be built several stories high, they take advantage of areas without much land to offer.
- Aesthetics. Others may choose a mausoleum for aesthetic reasons. Decor can range from high ceilings with marble to stained-glass windows and intricate wood carvings. Building styles can range from clean and contemporary mausoleums (see ) to the ivy-covered walls and artisan carvings of the .
- Privacy. Private family mausoleums offer a prominent and statuesque final resting place that can be customized to meet any family's needs. They are a good choice for families that desire exclusive access to their final resting place, or want to have the opportunity to visit loved ones in private.
- Environment. Unlike a lawn, a mausoleum doesn't require watering for perpetuity. This makes it an environmental choice for some, particularly in areas where water is scarce.
For many, the appeal of a mausoleum is as simple as having a permanent place of remembrance that offers privacy and comfort.
Create a lasting legacy
Many people don't realize the significance of choosing a final resting place. It is an important step in creating a family legacy, establishing a place of remembrance for future generations and paying tribute to a special life. Your Dignity Memorial professionals are here to help.
Get your free Buyer's Guide to Cemetery Property today.
All fields are required.
Types of mausoleums
Mausoleums are generally categorized by their location—indoor or outdoor—and degree of privacy—community or private.
Community mausoleum costs
Community mausoleums, or public mausoleums, are open to anyone who wants to purchase an entombment space.
Community mausoleums have metal plaques that list the names of the individuals entombed there, or the names can be carved into the granite on the front of a crypt, or burial space. Flowers and mementos can be placed in small holders attached to the front of each space.
An indoor community mausoleum with a stained-glass window and polished marble details at Ocean View Burial Park
Indoor community mausoleums include a room or series of rooms, sometimes rising several floors high, under a tall ceiling lined with burial spaces. They often have chairs or benches for people to sit, reflect and remember. They are often climate controlled and sometimes have a small chapel for committal services.