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From a distance, the tiny houses on the outskirts of the eastern Serbian village of Smoljinac looks like a couple of cozy summer cabins. It’s only when you step inside, you realize that they were built not for the living, but for the dead.

The elaborate mausoleums, resembling small bungalows, are fully furnished with tables, a couple of chairs, pictures of the family hanging from walls, and flower pots both inside and on the porch. Some even have electric power inside.

The strange custom of building houses instead of tombstones began in the late 1960s when a laborer, who had made a fortune working overseas, returned home and decided to build a magnificent mausoleum for himself. Others thought it was a good idea to show off one’s wealth. Now there are more houses than tombstones in the cemetery.

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A mausoleum at a cemetery in the village of Sapine, Serbia. Photo credit: Marko Djurica/Reuters

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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