SÃO PAULO – Planet Earth is currently storing the remains of around 100 billion dead people, and it’s no surprise that we’re running out of space for final resting places.
According to an estimate, 55.3 million people die each year, 151,600 each day, 6,316 each hour. Therefore, architects are now looking to the sky as an alternative to sprawling ground cemeteries.
High-rise cemeteries are becoming increasingly popular all over the world, and the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica, in Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, is the highest of them all.
Inaugurated by Pepe Altstut in 1983, the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica cemetery now measures 108 meters tall, features 25,000 storing units, several wake rooms, crypts, mausoleums, a peacock garden with its own small waterfall and even a chapel and snack bar on the roof.
The tomb with a splendid view is considered one of the most visited landmarks in Santos, and acknowledged as such by the local tourism board.
Altstut himself admits that his cemetery is incredibly popular with tourists, and attributes it to the structure’s notoriety as the tallest cemetery on Earth. People from all over the world reportedly come to Santos to see the necropolis where people pay big money for tombs with a view.
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The Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica is made up of several wings, and depending on the view they offer, the tombs are priced differently. Why a nice view is important for someone resting in this place is so important is a tough question to answer, but that’s not stopping people from paying big bucks to make sure they get to enjoy it forever.
Each of the 32 floors has rows of numbered blocks with up to 150 tombs, all of which are equipped with a ventilation system and can accommodate up to six bodies. Decomposition takes around three years, at the end of which the family of the deceased can have the body exhumed and the remains moved to a different part of the necropolis.
A three-year rental of a burial plot costs 10,000 to 35,000 Brazilian reals (between $5,900 and $21,000), depending on what part of the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica it is located in, and prolonging the rental period can become quite expensive after a few years.
But, for those who can afford it, the vertical cemetery offers even more expensive options, like separate family burial places complete with memorial rooms, for 174,000 reals ($54,000).
The Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica is also recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest vertical cemetery in the world.