A bronze relief on the door of a mausoleum. The relief depicts a standing female figure dressed in classical apparel. Her head is bent in grief and her hand reaches for the handle to open the door behind which her beloved lies. The flowers in the relief indicate life everlasting and resurrection.
Repetitive leaf design. The slight color yellow you can see on the upper right is from the stain glass window at the back of the structure.
A mausoleum (plural: mausolea) is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the mausoleum. A Christian mausoleum sometimes includes a chapel.
The word derives from the Mausoleum of Maussollos (near modern-day Bodrum in Turkey), the grave of King Mausollos, the Persian satrap of Caria, whose large tomb was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Historically, mausolea were, and still may be, large and impressive constructions for a deceased leader or other person of importance. However, smaller mausolea soon became popular with the gentry and nobility in many countries. In the Roman Empire, these were often ranged in necropoleis or along roadsides: the via Appia Antica retains the ruins of many private mausolea for miles outside Rome. However, the practice fell out of use when Christianity became dominant.
Later, mausolea became particularly popular in Europe and her colonies during the early modern and modern periods. These are usually small buildings with walls, a roof and sometimes a door for additional interments or visitor access. A single mausoleum may be permanently sealed. A mausoleum encloses a burial chamber either wholly above ground or within a burial vault below the superstructure. This contains the body or bodies, probably within sarcophagi or interment niches. Modern mausolea may also act as columbaria (a type of mausoleum for cremated remains) with additional cinerary urn niches. Mausolea may be located in a cemetery, a churchyard or on private land.