THE great Sir Billy Connolly once quipped: “Glasgow’s a bit like Nashville, Tennessee: it doesn’t care much for the living, but it really looks after the dead.”

He may well have been referring to the grandeur of the Necropolis. Occupying a lofty perch on a prominent hillside next to Glasgow Cathedral, this vast Victorian cemetery proffers – quite literally – a tomb with a view.

Some 50,000 people have been laid to rest here. They include explorer and author William Rae Wilson; chemist and industrialist Charles Tennant; and Queen of the Gypsies, Corlinda Lee, who is said to have read the fortune of Queen Victoria.

Opened in 1833, Glasgow Necropolis has a more informal, park-like feel than the typical grid-style layout of many cemeteries, with its meandering, tree-lined paths.

There are mausoleums, sculptures, marble busts and Art Nouveau portrait panels. Some of the work is by architects such as Alexander “Greek” Thomson, John Bryce, David Hamilton and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

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The main entrance is reached via the so-called “Bridge of Sighs”, which gained its name as the route followed by funeral processions.

Today, this bridge spans Wishart Street but would have once crossed the now-culverted Molendinar Burn which flows from Frankfield Loch at Cardowan all the way to the Clyde. In the Sixth Century, Glasgow’s founder and patron saint, St Mungo, is said to have fished for salmon in this burn.

Dominating the skyline is a 70ft monument with a towering Doric column topped by a statue of John Knox, leader of the Scottish Reformation, which pre-dates the Necropolis, erected in 1825.

Other much-beloved spots include a memorial to the Wee Willie Winkie poet, William Miller, and the Archibald Douglas Monteath Mausoleum – a beautiful circular temple building with elaborate stone carvings.

Glasgow Necropolis has 20 Commonwealth War Graves. Most contain men who lost their lives during the First World War, although a handful are casualties from the Second World War.

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A Jewish burial ground lies on the north-west side. Here, seashells and rocks can often be seen placed on the headstones in remembrance and respect of the departed.

What to read: Lanark by Alasdair Gray (1981) refers to the “tomb-rotten pile of the Necropolis”.

What to watch: Glasgow Necropolis has appeared in several episodes of Taggart, as well as films such as The Death Watch (1980), The Angels’ Share (2012) and Not Another Happy Ending (2013). Earlier this year, it doubled as Gotham City in superhero blockbuster The Batman.