A Grave Issue

Athens city officials have a problem they can't bury. A dearth of open spaces in the city means that existing cemeteries are filling up, forcing bereaved relatives to delay funerals for weeks. "All three municipal cemeteries are clogged up," says Athens' Deputy Mayor Katerina Katrivanou.

According to a private study, 80% of the greater Athens region's 29 cemeteries cannot take any more burials. The problem is partly a result of a macabre Greek tradition. Burial plots are rented for three years, after which the grave is dug up to check that the body has fully decomposed. If it...

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