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The Difference Between a Mausoleum and a Crypt

There is a whole new world of terminology around the end stages of life: crypts and mausoleums, entombment or cremation . . . but what do these terms mean to you and your loved ones when you are planning ahead? While all of these words refer to a way to protect and honor the remains of your loved ones after their passing, there are a few key differences of which you should be aware. In general, crypts refer to the vault that is often located below a church or on the grounds of a memorial facility within a mausoleum to house a casket and the departed, while a mausoleum is a stately and serene building that may house one or more crypts. These alternatives to ground burial are used by families throughout the world and continue to gain popularity in the United States.


Mausoleums can be either private or open to the community, with community options being more affordable. Mausoleums may be indoor, outdoors or in a serene garden setting. There are various configurations of mausoleum crypts available, with the most common including side-by-side, single, companion or family crypts. These protective buildings may also have a section for niches, which are holding spaces for urns and cremains. Mausoleums date back to 353 B.C., with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Turkey being considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. These elaborate structures were originally built to house kings, nobility and leaders. Even today, many mausoleums incorporate some of the same graceful and elegant styles of ancient mausoleums.


The term “crypts” refer to the actual storage area for a casket, that contains the remains of one individual. While side-by-side crypts offer a way for individuals to be positioned very closely together for eternity, most still have a separate marker for each crypt. Family crypts and companion crypts are simply an expanded version of the side-by-side, with crypts that can be stacked above one another as well as laid end-to-end to better use the space available.

Want to learn more about the various options for entombment available at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery grounds? Our private mausoleums, companion crypts and chapel mausoleums offer a variety of options to meet your family’s needs. Contact our knowledgeable staff today.

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