What Is a Mausoleum?

Mausoleums Defined

For years, mausoleums have been chosen as a way to commemorate and honor the deceased. Mausoleums are building constructions with the sole purpose of housing someone’s remains.

A mausoleum is an above-ground, free-standing building that has crypts or any other type of burial compartments to hold remains. They are found in many cemeteries, yet they vary in size, design, and purpose.

Some mausoleums can hold the remains of one person, while others are capable of carrying the remains of several family members. Mausoleums are used to protect the remains from natural elements. Mausoleums are popular in areas such as New Orleans or South Florida, where water levels and ground conditions don’t meet in-ground burial requirements.

History of Mausoleums

Mausoleums are ancient burial methods that date back to 350 BC. The term ‘mausoleum’ comes from King Mausolus, who was buried by his wife in a temple-like building. His remains rested on a stone platform, the building was surrounded by columns, and to many, this structure is the earliest kind of mausoleum ever recorded. King Mausolus’ entombment was even considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Ever since, families, communities, and world leaders have turned to mausoleums to bury their loved ones in above-ground buildings. Leaders and emperors often built elaborate mausoleums to showcase their power and money. Today, many families choose mausoleums as a way to preserve and honor the memory of their loved ones.

Types of Mausoleums

Besides being categorized by their style, mausoleums are also found in different types. In cemeteries, you’re most likely to stumble upon these kinds of mausoleum buildings:

Indoor: A community or shared space where crypts are entombed indoors. This allows family members to visit their deceased loved ones regardless of weather conditions.

Gardens: Outdoor or garden mausoleums that resemble indoor mausoleums. These offer a community or shared space to house remains.

Private: Private mausoleums are often free-standing buildings that house several crypts for the entire family. These private mausoleums can be indoor or outdoor.

Mausoleum Crypt Styles

Within mausoleums, there is another sub-category that refers to the type of crypts being used. Dependent on the kind of mausoleum chosen, families can opt for several types of crypts:

Single: The most common crypt style. Single crypts are able to house the remains of one person, either in a casket or an urn.

Side-by-Side: Designed for two people, these crypts are often chosen by couples. In side-by-side crypts, the caskets are positioned next to each other horizontally. Families can choose to engrave each marker or a large marker that expands for both crypts.

Companion: Also designed for two people, companion crypts only use the space of a single crypt. With this option, caskets are lined up “end-to-end.”

Family: Also known as “Westminster family crypts” this crypt style can house as many people as a family wants. The casket’s arrangements vary from end-to-end, side-by-side, or stacked on top of each other. In this case, each person can have its own marker, or families can choose to share a large marker.

Famous World Mausoleums

The world is filled with famous mausoleums that are now considered Wonders of the Ancient World. These mausoleums house famous leaders, emperors, royals, and other influential people that have made a mark in history. Some of these mausoleums are known well-known tourist sightings.

  • Tomb of Cyrus – Iran
  • Lenin Mausoleum – Russia
  • Humayun’s Tomb – India
  • Castel Sant’Angelo – Italy
  • Tomb of Jahangir – Pakistan
  • Imam Husayn Shrine – Iraq
  • Mausoleum of the Shirvanshahs – Azerbaijan
  • Shah-i-Zinda – Uzbekistan
  • Terracotta Army – China
  • Taj Mahal – India

Planning a burial can be overwhelming, so having experienced burial arrangement counselors to go over your options can be of great help. Have one of our counselors go through our burial options with you. Call them anytime at (561) 989-9190, or visit our gardens at 4103 N. Military Trail in Boca Raton.