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Necropolis in Hierapolis
Alani necropolis in Dargaws ( North Ossetia )
Minoan necropolis of Armeni
Tumulus in the Etruscan necropolis Banditaccia near Cerveteri

A necropolis , also necropolis , or city ​​of the dead ( ancient Greek νεκρός nekrós , German 'dead' , πόλις polis , German 'city' ) is a structurally designed larger burial - and consecration place of antiquity and prehistory . If the structural component is missing, it is a burial ground . Necropolises were often located away from the housing estates . In Greek, Roman, Phoenician and Jewish places this location was prescribed for religious reasons.

Archaeological finds


In Germany z. B. only concentrations of Neolithic megalithic sites , such as the Oldendorfer Totenstatt , or multi-period sites with "built" grave sites, as in Soderstorf called necropolises.

Greece and Turkey

Cities of the dead can be found especially in antiquity, for example in Myra , where Bishop Nicholas of Myra was buried (until his bones were translated to Bari in 1087 ), and in Hierapolis in the Middle East . There is a Bronze Age necropolis in Fourní on Crete . A necropolis from the Late Minoan era was uncovered in Armeni . Salamis in Cyprus is a Bronze Age necropolis.


The Etruscans had extensive necropolises, with various systems found in Cerveteri , Tarquinia , Populonia , Norchia and other places in Etruria . The Elyseian Fields ( Alyscamps ) in Arles , France and the necropolis in Carmona , southern Spain are known as Roman necropolis . A necropolis was excavated in Civaux , France from the Merovingian period .

Under the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, excavations commissioned by Pius XII. around 1950 a whole street of graves from the Roman Empire was exposed. Bones attributed to the Apostle Peter were also found in this Vatican necropolis . 25 km southwest of Rome you can visit the burial streets of the necropolis of the Ostia Antica archaeological site . Here the city of the dead lies in front of the eastern city gate on both sides of the road to Rome.




Among the ancient Egyptian cultural sites, the necropolis (necropolis) of include Saqqara , Amarna , Thebes (see Valley of the Kings ), Giza , Qubbet el-Hawa and Umm el-Qa'ab . The capital of the Nabatean kings in today's Jordan , Petra , was not only a residential and residential city, but also a rock necropolis.

In the medieval City of the Dead in Cairo were Fatimid and Mamluk buried. Between magnificent minarets and clay booths, 300,000 people still live in the necropolis, crowded together in "residential graves".


In Chinese Lop Nor desert were cemeteries and necropolis from the Bronze and Iron Ages exposed. The finds from the Bronze Age include Ördek's necropolis on Xiaohe (175 km west of Loulan ), the burial ground of Qäwrighul on Kuruk Darya (70 km north-west of Loulan) with the mummified "Beauty of Loulan" and other Tarim mummies , the Gumugou burial ground with the "sun graves" (70 km northwest of Loulan) in the Kuruk Darya delta.

Iron Age cemeteries and later cemeteries with underground tombs were discovered in Yingpan on Kum Darya (200 km west of Loulan ), with the Yingpan man found there.

With the Tangut necropolis , one of the world's largest necropolis was discovered in the autonomous region of Ningxia near Yinchuan .

Modern necropolis

The city of Colma is an active necropolis. The San Francisco cemeteries were relocated to Colma.

Other tombs called "necropolis"

More recent tombs also refer to the historically established term necropolis: for example the Glasgow Necropolis from the 19th century, the necropolis on the Kremlin wall in Moscow in the first half of the 20th century and the artist necropolis , a current art project near Kassel.

See also

Web links

Commons : Necropolis  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Necropolis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Neither in Greek nor in Latin was the word nekrópolis generally used for burial sites in antiquity . But there was a suburb of Alexandria that was named Necropolis because of the burial sites and facilities for the embalming of the dead there; compare Strabo , Geographika 17,795.