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Columbarium and Mausoleums

There are lots of options for what you can do with cremated or embalmed remains after a death. From scattering to displaying, burying to even casting at sea, the options are for cremains are numerous. There is another option for bodies called interring. You can inter, or place, the body or remains in the ground, or in an above ground permanent resting place in a cemetery in Huntersville, NC.

The two most common options for interring above ground are columbarium and mausoleums. Both are defined as permanent, above ground resting places for human remains. However, how are they different, if at all? How do you choose which one you want to use for your loved one’s remains?

If you’ve ever been walking in, through or past a cemetery, you’ve most likely noticed the ornate but small buildings scattered around the grounds amidst the tombstones. These buildings are mausoleums, columbarium, or even a combination of the two.

A mausoleum is defined, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, as “a building designed for above-ground placement of a casket. The casket is placed into a crypt that may be designed for one or two persons.” Mausoleums can have one crypt, or a chamber designed to hold one body, or a larger space made to hold a few people like a family or a couple. Some mausoleums have more than one room for different parts of a family. These buildings are often decorated with exterior markers to denote who is resting inside. Some even have glass windows that allow those on the outside to view the coffins.

There are lots of different kinds of mausoleums all around the world. In fact, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World was a mausoleum. Built in 353 BC near what is now known as Turkey, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was the final resting place of a famous Persian king named Mausolus. This king was so rich that he commissioned one of the finest mausoleums ever built and is actually how the term mausoleum was coined.


But what about columbarium? Unlike mausoleums that generally hold bodies, columbarium are designed to house cremated remains. The term columbarium comes from the Latin word “columba” which means dove. In the past, doves and pigeons were housed in buildings with niches on the walls for their nests. This design is very similar to how columbarium are made, as they have compartments built into the walls to house and display cremation urns. There are lots of different columbarium designs. Some are indoor and some are outside, while others are simple and more still are decorated and elaborate. You can choose whatever kind of columbarium you like for your lost loved one.

Want to learn more about columbarium and mausoleums options? Gethsemane Cemetery and Memorial Garden can help. We are a Huntersville, NC cemetery with years of industry experience we would love to use to help you in your time of loss. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call today.