14 April, 2014
By Eddy Lara from DestinosActuales.com
The Scandinavians deal with death in a very different way to Latin cultures. Their perception is completely different and they fully accept what is actually an inevitable part of life. One of the best manifestations of that different approach is the way in which they conceive their cemeteries: small cities with immense green areas where people can not only go to visit the remains of a loved one but also get in touch with nature.
Skogskyrkogården Cemetery or the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm is one of the most representative pieces of modernist architecture to be found in any of the Scandinavian countries. It was designed by the architects Erik Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz in 1915 and the idea was to adapt it to the woodland surroundings in which it was built. There is a crematorium and three chapels: the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Chapel of Resurrection and the Woodland Chapel, the latter containing a replica of the Angel of Death sculpture. The cemetery was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.
Besides the architectural beauty of this cemetery, its most striking feature is the importance given to nature. It has been designed to help everyone who comes to bid farewell to their loved ones overcome the pain of their loss but also to accept that loss and, therefore, attain inner peace. This is one of the greatest achievements of the place. Spending time here generates an indescribable feeling of inner peace… you forget you are in a cemetery or rather you begin to perceive death from a completely different perspective.
The remains of the most famous Swedish actress of all time can be found at this cemetery: Greta Garbo. If you have the opportunity to visit this place when travelling to Stockholm, make sure you do. It will not leave you indifferent and perhaps you’ll start to see death through optimistic eyes, or at least less dark than many of us imagine it.
Imagen de Holger.Ellgaard
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14 April, 2014