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City of the Dead

29 Feb

The evocative word necropolis is of Greek origin and literally means ‘city of the dead’, of which arguably the most famous is Scotland’s Glasgow Necropolis – a Victorian graveyard situated on a low but very prominent hill to the east of St. Mungo’s Cathedral. Fifty thousand souls have been buried there and not only is it a Scottish national landmark, it may also be the largest Masonic site in Europe. The graveyard was established by the Merchants’ House of Glasgow, an organization of powerful businessmen looking after the town’s interests. According to the theory, most of these men were Masons, and they chocked the site full of symbols, one of which (and perhaps the one that shows up the most frequently) is the Royal Arch, the emblem of the fourth degree of Freemasonry. It was the Necropolis that once prompted one of Glasgow’s favourite sons, the comedian Billy Connolly, to say ‘Glasgow’s a bit like Nashville, Tennessee: it doesn’t care much for the living, but it really looks after the dead’.

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