You Won't Believe How Much These Famous Mausoleums Cost
The most expensive mausoleums are anything but standard — in fact, most are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and for good reason.
Most Expensive Mausoleums
You can't take your money with you when you die, but you can certainly spend it all on an extravagant final resting place. Yes, you can build yourself a mausoleum — essentially a monument to house your remains. The world's most expensive mausoleums were built long ago, which means, today, they would cost millions or even billions of dollars to build.
Today's wealthy are more likely to give that kind of money to charity or create a legacy by different means, but even a standard walk-in mausoleum will set you back between $300,000 and $1 million.
However, the world's most expensive mausoleums listed here are anything but standard — in fact, most are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and for good reason. These famous burial sites are beautifully crafted, having taken years upon years to build.
9. Lenin’s Mausoleum
Location: Moscow, Russia
Cost: Original cost unknown; maintenance since 1924 estimated at $15 million
The famous Russian politician Vladimir Lenin was the first and founding head of Soviet Russia's government from 1917 to 1924 and the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. So, of course, his burial site was going to be impressive.
In fact, the Russian government spends more than $200,000 every year to maintain Lenin's embalmed body, which has been on display since his death in 1924. Yes, you can go see it, but it's quite a controversial site since it's so expensive to maintain.
8. Humayun’s Tomb
Location: Delhi, India
Cost: 1.5 million rupees in 1569 (not enough data to adjust for inflation properly)
Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, was the brains behind the construction of this tomb. Construction started in 1565, was completed in 1572 and cost 1.5 million rupees, paid by the Empress.
It is said that Bega Begum had been so upset over her husband's death that she had dedicated her life to the construction of the tomb as a memorial to him. Humayun’s Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. The Lincoln Tomb
Location: Springfield, Illinois
Cost: $180,000 in 1869
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $4 million
Located in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, as well as his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons: Edward, William and Thomas.
Constructed out of granite from 1869 to 1874, the cost of the build then was $180,000.
6. Westminster Abbey
Location: London, England
Cost: £46,000 in 1246
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $18.5 million
Westminster Abbey serves as the final resting place of 30 kings and queens, but it's also the resting place for a total of 3,000 notable people — several of which are housed in tombs or have elaborate grave sites. During the 20th century, however, the Abbey started accepting only cremated remains due to space constraints.
It costs more than $16 million to maintain Westminster Abbey each year, and during the pandemic, the church issued a statement on their website asking for donations specifically to maintain the property.
5. The Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore
Location: Berkshire, England
Cost: £200,000 in 1862
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $39.6 million (or £31.1 million)
The Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore was built in 1862 to house the tombs of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was entirely funded by Queen Victoria and her son Edward, the Prince of Wales, from their private funds.
The surrounding burial ground was created in 1928 to house other Royal Family members because the Royal Vault underneath St. George's Chapel was becoming full. The grounds are beautiful, with 33 acres of gardens and extravagant tombs.
4. Emperor Nintoku’s Tomb
Location: Sakai Osaka, Japan
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $300 million
Japanese people call this landmark Tomb Kofun. It is a megalithic tomb, which is a man-made island shaped like a keyhole if viewed from above.
This burial site is so old it's believed Nintoku, the 16th emperor of Japan from 313 to 399, was the mastermind behind the project. It's hard to find official cost numbers, but it's estimated that it would be equivalent to $300 million today.
3. Tomb of Mumtaz Mahal
Location: Agra, India
Cost: 32 million rupees
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $422 million (or35 billion rupees)
More commonly known as the Taj Mahal, the Tomb of Mumtaz Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, in 1632 for his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
It's made mostly of ivory marble, and the tombs that house both Jahan and his wife are located in the center of the 42-acre plot.
2. The Valley of the Kings
Location: Luxor, Egypt
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $750 million
In 1922, the tomb of King Tutankhamun (or King Tut) was discovered in the valley of Theban Hills, Egypt, aka the Valley of Kings. There have been 63 tombs found here.
The Valley of the Kings is the burial place of the New Kingdom Pharaohs as well as some of their relatives, officials and priests. The tombs are concealed by the cliffs of Western Thebes. Established by Amenhotep I, the Valley of the Kings was not used as the burial place for a king until Thutmose I was buried here.
The objects buried with King Tutankahamun alone are estimated to be worth around $700 million. In total, adding the construction and material, the tomb might have cost around $750 million to build.
1. Great Pyramid of Giza
Location: Giza, Egypt
Cost adjusted for 2023 inflation: $5 billion
The Great Pyramid of Giza earns top rank as the most expensive tomb in the world, with an estimated cost of $5 billion.
Built in early 26th century BC over a period of about 27 years, the pyramid where King Khufu is buried happens to be the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.