Glasgow Necropolis shadows over the city Cathedral, built on the banks of where the Molendinar Burn once flowed. It was here that St Mungo founded the city of Glasgow and where some of its most famous residents now reside in graves blown out with dynamite.
Enigmatic Welshman Nigel Buckland spent the day there, investigating some of those hidden nooks and crannies that are so different from the rigid symmetry of a modern day cemetery.
"The cemetery itself was built on a huge plug of petrified magma, known in Scotland as a drumlin," he explained. "The cemetery’s paths meander forever uphill toward the summit and that’s what I like about the necropolis: Everything’s higgledy piggledy; nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. It’s a wee bit of wilderness within city limits."
At the very top of the Necropolis, the second highest hill in Glasgow, is an imposing mausolea of protestant reformist John Knox. Sculpted by Robert Forrest, it sits atop a 58 ft sandstone Doric column and base designed by Edinburgh architect Thomas Hamilton, and depicts Knox wearing his Geneva gown and holding a Bible in his extended right hand.
Further down the hill, the necropolis is peppered with often wildly different architectural styles. "It’s got that strange Victorian mix of Greek and gothic," said Nigel. "Which isn’t surprising when you walk around here and see art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.
"All architectural styles and stripes created for the young enthusiastic entrepreneurs of what was the second city of the empire.
Having contemplated the prospect of death Nigel decided to hit the University bars. Before he left, however, he had one more famous quote to sum up the Necropolis:
"Billy Connolly once said: ‘Glasgow is a bit like Nashville, Tennessee. It doesn’t care much for the living, but it really looks after its dead.’"
For more information or to download a handy guide to the Necropolis, visit www.glasgownecropolis.org.