Cemeteries to visit this Samaín

Samaín, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day… In the end, these celebrations, whatever tradition they come from, always have in common a look at death, at the memory of the people who are no longer here. On these dates, cemeteries generally extend their opening hours, and some even open at night and organise dramatised tours. Actually, it is a perfect excuse to get to know these places full of history.

Pereiró Cemetery, Vigo. It was built at the end of the 19th century, designed by Jenaro García de la Fuente, due to the development of Vigo’s economy, which began to require more space for the living and the dead. It is laid out in a square plan with two large avenues crossing each other and eight smaller ones. On a walk around the cemetery we find names of characters that are very familiar to us, even if only from seeing them in the city’s street map: García Barbón, Sanjurjo Badía, Policarpo Sanz… Concepción Arenal also rests here. On the other hand, there are some fine sculptures, including several by Asorey. To get more out of your visit, you can download the interactive route “Pereiró Cemetery, history of the city” from the Vigo App. In addition, the dramatised routes begin on 30 October and will continue until 25 November, guided by Concepción Arenal herself, Irene Ceballos, or Cachamuíña. The registration period begins on Friday 27th, and from then on every Thursday on 010 and 986 810 260 (only for over 18s).

San Amaro Cemetery, A Coruña. It is on Avenida de Orillamar, on the way to the Tower of Hercules, where we have great views of the sea to sleep our last sleep. The architectural complex dates from 1813, and is organised into three areas: religious, civil and British (the latter is closed to the public). Since 2012, dramatised nocturnal visits have been scheduled on different dates, generally guided by Fiz de Cotobelo, the soul in pain from El Bosque animado, the novel by Wenceslao Fernández Flórez. The remains of the writer rest in this cemetery, as well as those of Luís Seoane, Pondal, Juana de Vega, Murguía…

Cemetery of Colours, Dumbría. In this cemetery on the Costa da Morte, eternal rest is seen through a very colourful prism, which has nothing to do with funeral aesthetics. Here, life and death sing to the same beat. The construction, creative and somewhat risky at the time, was designed by architect Rosana Pichel in 2012. It was so successful that years later it needed to be extended. It is organised in closed modules in which each niche is made of a sheet of resin in a luminous colour, protected by glass. When it gets dark and the indirect night lighting is switched on, it has a different charm. Moreover, it is integrated in the countryside, in a great place to extend the walk.

Cemetery of the English, Camariñas. On the Costa da Morte, at one end of the inlet of O Trece, between Punta Cagada and Punta de O Boi, the English battleship Serpent was wrecked in 1890. At this place, in the parish of Xaviña, the people got down to work and built a cemetery to house the 142 bodies recovered. That is why it is known as the “English cemetery”. The remains of the captain and officers rest in the inner enclosure, and those of the sailors on the outside. It is a simple, rounded, almost minimalist construction, in dialogue with the landscape, between the sea and the mountains.

Mondoñedo Old Cemetery. Formerly, this was the cemetery of San Lázaro but, once the new cemetery was built, it was renamed “vello” (old). Walking inside the walls, we realise that, although death makes us all equal, the differences between social classes are clearly defined in this cemetery. Thus, there is an elevated part for the upper class, with monumental pantheons; an intermediate part for the middle class, more discreet; one close to the ground for the humblest and, on one side, the civil cemetery. Over time, the cemetery has become a garden for strolling, including a park and viewpoints. Among its tombs we find well-known names: Álvaro Cunqueiro, Leiras Pulpeiro, Pascual Veiga…

Cemetery of San Francisco, Ourense. The cemetery of Ourense, in the upper part of the city, on the slope of Montealegre, is a haven of peace, as it should be. It dates from the 19th century and, in addition to having artistic pantheons, such as those of Faílde, it is the final resting place of illustrious Ourense citizens such as Otero Pedrayo, Blanco Amor, José Ángel Valente…

Bonaval Park, Santiago. The orchard and the cemetery of the old convent of Santo Domingo de Bonaval were rehabilitated and converted into an urban park, according to the project of Isabel Aguirre and Álvaro Siza (1989-2000). This resulted in many hectares of parkland, in which the old funerary structures are preserved, albeit empty. The ones that are filled in are those of the convent church, nearby, where Seoane, Rosalía de Castro, Alfredo Brañas, Cabanillas, Asorey, Domingo Fontán and Castelao rest in the “pantheon of illustrious Galicians”.

Cemetery of Goiriz, Vilalba. In Terra Chá, the pointed pinnacles of the Goiriz cemetery stand out from afar, looking like lace, rising into the sky. In the area there are more cemeteries in the neo-Gothic style, such as San Juan de Alba, San Román or Ríoaveso, which owe their filigree stonework to the stonemasons of Pedreiras Rozadas. Among them, the Goiriz church is the most monumental. It dates back to the 16th century, although it underwent successive alterations, even in the 20th century. As we walk around the cemetery, we can see that neither pantheons nor mausoleums stand out, but rather the structures that house the niches, very vertical, ending in pinnacles in a cross or Celtic cross, in such a way that they make us look up to the sky, it couldn’t be more spiritual. Here. There are also some very old slabs at ground level.

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