Define mausoleum ………

define mausoleumWhat is a mausoleum? For most of us the image of mausoleums – or mausolea as they are correctly termed – are burial crypts straight out of a gothic horror novel. And while this may often be the case, if we want to correctly define mausoleum we will find that it’s not quite that straightforward.


How to Define Mausoleum.

The general definition of a mausoleum is a building which contains a body or remains. It can be thought of as an above ground crypt or burial chamber. It may be cited within a burial ground or on private property.

It will usually have a doorway so that it is possible to enter for various reasons. This may be so that further bodies may be interred – probably members of the same family. But it may also be so that family members and friends can go in to pay their respects – many mausoleums are also small chapels.

define mausoleumBut because of the way we define mausoleum we can also include what were called tombstones at one time. So a structure that may be no more that waist high that contains above ground bodily remains. It may be situated outside as a burial plot or often inside a religious building such as a church or chapel.

It is also common to refer to the burial chamber beneath a church as a mausoleum.

We can even define mausoleum as being the structure or building which is the entrance to an underground tomb or crypt – from the outside it looks no different to one which holds above ground remains.

define mausoleumCommunal cemetery mausoleums may contain the remains of many hundreds of people. They are usually a form of columbarium which holds cremated remains.




So is a Mausoleum the Same as a Monument?

Not necessarily, though a mausoleum is a type of monument. However, so is a cenotaph which is similar but differs in that mausolea contain bodily remains.


How Much Does a Mausoleum Cost?

This depends upon whether you are talking of building cost or interment cost in a communal mausoleum.

For basic interment in communal cemetery mausolea you will be looking at a minimum of $2500. This figure can and will alter dramatically depending upon your chosen location.

For obvious reasons the price of a private mausoleum is considerably more than normal headstone prices. A small ‘tombstone’ type will cost anything from $6000 or more not including the cost of the plot itself.

For actually building a new private ‘walk in’ mausoleum the cost will be from $20,000 upwards.

define mausoleum

The Origin of Mausoleums.

The name originates from the grave of King Mausolus whose Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. At this point they were reserved for royal families and great leaders as displays of the families’ wealth and power. As time moved on they were also used by other wealthy and noble families for the same purpose, but today can be used as forms of cemetery monuments like any other.


Famous Mausoleums.

The Egyptian Pyramids – built between 2700 BC and 17oo BC for the Egyptian Pharaohs.

The Taj Mahal – at Agra in India. Built between 1632 and 1653 and entombs the then Emperor’s third wife.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – in Hanoi, Vietnam, entombing the Communist leader.

Lenin’s Mausoleum – or Lennin’s Tomb. Situated in the famous Red Square in Moscow.

The Pantheon in Rome. Although ancient Roman in origin it is now a Catholic church.

Grant’s Tomb in New York – contains the remains of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, Illinois. Contains the remains of President Abraham Lincoln and his family.


Several modern day famous graves are also inside forms of mausoleums – for instance that of the Michael Jackson grave.