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Geneva, Switzerland

Gravestone of Jorge Luis Borges

This famous writer's tombstone is a literary pilgrimage site that was publicly defiled by a rival. 

Jorge Luis Borges, the famous Argentine author known for his philosophical, magic-realist writings is remembered by a headstone that evokes the legendary and has provoked at least one act of public urination.

After Borges’ death in 1986, the writer was laid to rest in Geneva, the city in which he had grown up and rediscovered later in life. His tombstone was decorated with recreations of historical artifacts such as a Viking ship and ancient Norse warriors going to battle. Surrounding these central images are lines in both Old English and Old Norse heralding bravery. The historical images reflect both the author’s devotion to myth-making and his love of language.

The grave is a popular literary pilgrimage site, but not everyone is quite so enamored with Borges as was seen when Chilean author Eduardo LaBarca used an image of himself urinating on Borges’ grave as the cover to one of his books. He later admitted that it had just been water from a bottle, but the LaBarca’s stunt created an uproar in Borges’ native Argentina showing the writer’s importance in his homeland.