The History Behind Mausoleums

Choosing a final resting place for a loved one can be difficult, as there are a variety of options available, whether you choose traditional burial or cremation. At Cypress Lawn, our devoted staff members help families in the San Francisco area make burial arrangements for their loved ones. Interment in a mausoleum is just one of the memorialization options available following burial. A mausoleum is a building designed to honor a few or several individuals. If you’re wondering about the history of mausoleums, you might be surprised to learn that they date to 350 BCE!

Why It’s Called a “Mausoleum”

We call these burial structures mausoleums because of Mausolus, ruler of the ancient empire of Caria located in modern-day Turkey. Upon his death, Mausolus’ wife and sister ordered the building of a colossal tomb that became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The grand columned structure was dubbed the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and is the first mausoleum ever recorded. Mausolus possibly oversaw the construction of his tomb, much like the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Our Cypress Lawn staff members actively encourage individuals to preplan their funerals, but this is next level!

The Most Famous Mausoleum in History

In the centuries following the construction of the original mausoleum, the structure continued to signify someone of great importance and position in society. The most famous example of a mausoleum is the Taj Mahal located in Agra, India. This impressive marble tomb, completed in 1648, took 14 years to construct. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered its construction to honor his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Featuring arcade galleries, ornate latticework, and an enclosed garden, the Taj Mahal is an ornate symbol of love and remembrance.

What Mausoleums Look Like Today

In more recent history, the mausoleum has become smaller and less grandiose. Nowadays, they often feature a door for visitors to pay their respects, although occasionally a smaller mausoleum may be sealed upon interment. Within a mausoleum, you’ll find any number of interment niches. Just as they were designed centuries ago, the modern mausoleum is built to last for generations. While for many years mausoleums were built on a grand scale and reserved for the wealthy, Cypress Lawn offers a variety of affordable options for families in the Bay Area.

If you’d like to learn more about the burial options available at our funeral home, please contact our experienced staff.