The pros and cons of mausoleums

What Is a Mausoleum?

According to Wikipedia, a mausoleum is a monument constructed to be an external free-standing building used to house a body of a deceased person or people.

One of the most famous mausoleums in the world is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Built by Artemisia for her husband Mausolus after his death in 353 BC, the brokenhearted widow commissioned the most talented Greek artists of the day to create the tomb. Now in ruins, the tomb found in modern day Turkey is scheduled to be restored to its former glory. The word mausoleum became the term used to entomb bodies above the ground ever since.

The Pros and Cons of Mausoleums

Mausoleum Pros

  • Most cemeteries provide options for single, family, or companion structures.
  • Some people feel uneasy about cremation or underground burial, so mausoleums provide another option that could be considered cleaner and dryer.
  • They are more ecologically friendly than burial since they take up less land space.
  • Visitors can remain comfortable throughout the year since modern mausoleums are climate controlled.
  • Many are designed to provide peace to family members with piped in music and comfortable seating options.
  • In areas like New Orleans where the water table is too high and land is prone to flooding, mausoleums provide a necessary alternative.
  • When pre-planned, mausoleums may be half the cost of a traditional burial.
  • In rural areas with cold climates, burial may be postponed until the ground thaws. This isn’t necessary if choosing a mausoleum.

Mausoleum Cons

  • Some mausoleums have sub-par construction with poor ventilation. There have been incidences of caskets exploding from a body’s natural gas buildup and lawsuits accusing cemetery employees of secretly propping open caskets to avoid the former. If there is an explosion, it is likely that other crypts could be damaged.
  • Choosing a private mausoleum for one or two bodies can be expensive.
  • Bodily fluids can leak out of a crypt due to decomposition. This can cause an unpleasant odor if the mausoleum is poorly maintained.
  • The passage of time and exposure to natural elements can damage a mausoleum and compromise the crypts.

Each mausoleum has different rules and regulations for visiting hours, floral arrangements, and maintenance. Be sure to ask questions and read the fine print.


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