Have you ever thought about visiting Barcelona’s cemeteries to get away from the tourist masses in the city centre? These places do not only represent the death, but are also a unique place to enjoy the silence, learn about the history of the city and discover some splendid architecture! On Sunday morning, the two biggest cemeteries offer free guided tours.
Cemetery of Poblenou
Outside the city walls, the cemetery of Poblenou (also called the “General Cemetery of Barcelona”, the “Old Cemetry” or the “Cemetery of the East”) is the oldest one. It was constructed in 1775 because the little cemeteries in the various districts could not expand any further. In 1813, this cemetery was destroyed by Napoleonic troops, but was reconstructed by the Italian architect Antonio Ginesi in neoclassic style in 1819. His idea was to create a cemetery without social class distinctions, but the rich showed off anyway with their elaborated mausoleums.
The Kiss of Death (Source: http://forum.goregrish.com/threads/gore-in-art.17883/)
Due to the epidemics of cholera and typhus at the beginning of the 19th century, the cemetery had reached its full capacity already in 1821. A second section was created, separated from the first section by a chapel, where you can find the mausoleums of the bourgeoisie with the most beautiful funeral sculptures. There is a third section, where you can find the famous sculpture “The Kiss of Death” and the little grave of el “Santet” (Catalan for “little saint”), an extremely friendly boy from the neighbourhood who died at a very young age.
Cemetery of Montjuic
The cemetery of Montjuic, officially called the “Cemetery of the South-West”, was created in 1883 because the cemetery of Poblenou had reached its full capacity and represents therefore a more recent history. Due to the industrial growth and the demographic boom of Barcelona’s population, the demand for burial places grew rapidly. On the hill of Montjuic, 56 hectares are now used as a burial place. Not only can you discover the art movements and history of Barcelona from the 20th century, you can also enjoy a wonderful view of the city and the sea.
The cemetery offers three different routes: an artistic one, an historic one and a combined one. The artistic route will show you 40 graves with a high artistic value; the historic route will guide you along 48 graves of famous people, such as the artist Joan Miró, the FC Barcelona founder Joan Gamper and the architect Ildefons Cerdà. Furthermore, the mass grave “Fossar dela Pedrera”, where more than 4,000 victims of the Civil War are buried, is impressive. In total, there are more than 15,000 graves, mausoleums and cremation ashes.
Cemetery of Montjuic (Source: http://barcelonaaaaa.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/montjuic-cedwin-winkels.jpg)