For a bustling, thriving capital of a world-class superpower, Washington, D.C. offers a surprisingly lively scene for the nonliving as well.

In addition to the Capitol, the White House and the Mall, history-minded visitors to the city can track the nation’s political, military and cultural course through the quiet final resting grounds of the famous and near-famous who lived and died here, from former presidents and generals to authors, Indian chiefs and famous lawmen.

Five historic cemeteries offer visitors a brief escape from the present and a chance to pay homage to remarkable figures from the country’s past, often far from the tourist hordes.

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