Friday, October 31, 2008

Tales from the Crypt

I know, it was a really horrible show in the 80s(?), but I thought that on Halloween the title was quite appropriate for this post dedicated to the beauty of the Cementario General in Santiago de Chile.

I'm a frequent cemetery visitor on vacation looking for the final resting places of local legends and perhaps even more so, just looking for a quiet place in the city to appreciate the unique beauty of grave markers and mausoleums. Cementario General can in some ways be likened to the more famous Recoletta Cemetery in Buenos Aires made even more famous as the final resting place of Eva Peron. Certainly at its best the statuary, mausoleums, and foliage are comparable; however, Recoletta is the domain of the very rich and important while Cementario General is the final resting place of over a million folks both rich and not so rich.

Here are a few pictures from a recent trip to Cementario General:

Anywhere but Chile this would be creepy as it looks an awful lot like a vulture, but it is a condor the national bird.

Two beautiful mausoleums on a high-end "street" in the cemetery. The wealthy like to be close to their own in life and in death.

A "new money" tree lined street. Cementario General is said to have more than 4,000 varieties of trees, including a number of orange trees (no one seemed to be interested in the free fruit).

Another Beautiful street, I'm always a fan of graves that include seating for the living. The very clean lines of the center mausoleum appealed to my minimalist side.

These mausoleums had a very 60s/70s style to them. Another common feature in the cemetery are these underground mausoleums with steps below grade. I'm not fond of the thought of walking down a flight of steps to a below-grade crypt to visit.

Angel statuary wasn't as common in Cementario General as it is in Recoletta though they had some beautiful seraphi.

Another that includes a clever planter.

This part of the cemetery was the "China Town" and included this amusing see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil statue. A good reminder to the living.

This grave was very touching. It now housed both the husband and wife. He outlived her for some time, I can imagine him standing in life looking at the memorial imagining their reunion.

This was perhaps the most touching memorial. Under a beautiful tree we both shed a tear when we rounded the corner and saw this lovely piece of sculpture.


Easy and Elegant Life said...

Make sure to stop in at Hollywood Cemetery next time you're in Richmond, Virginia. It's lovely and you can see why it would have been a favourite spot to picnic in the early parts of the last century.

Athenaeus said...

Easy and Elegant Life - I've driven by but haven't had time to stop. It looks like a really wonderful cemetery. I'll make it a point to visit on my next trip.

Renee Finberg said...

thank you,
i loved this post.

i guess by nature i am morbid,
but the tomb with the man leaning on it just knocked me over.


Athenaeus said...

Renee, glad you liked the pictures, Cementario General had some really lovely and unique memorials. I love walking through old cemetaries. I'm going to have to dig out some Recolleta pictures from Buenos Aires to share next.