Santiago General Cemetery (Cementerio General) Chile.

santiago general cementary sculpture of a womanThe Santiago General Cemetery in Chile, (Cementerio General de Santiago), rivals the great resting places of the world. Often compared with the Recoleta in Buenos Aires, it is larger, the size of 80 football fields. Many of Chile’s past Presidents and heroes are buried here, except of course Augusto Pinochet, apparently because of the fear of vandalism to his tomb. No wonder, the victims of his brutal dictatorship are buried here too. I was honored to sit at the grave of Salvador Allende, as I was at the monuments for the executed and the disappeared.

This is also a beautiful place. Fresh flowers line endless walls stacked with small square tombs and the rows of elaborate mausoleums influenced by Aztec and Egyptian architecture built during Chile’s boom years in the 1870s. It is not hard to get to. In Santiago take  the subway out to the cementerios stop and you can wander and get lost. I went with Natalia Garcia Fuentes, an informative guide from Santiago travels, .

To learn more about Cementerio General de Santiago read this article in the journal Contra corriente, “Avenues of Memory“. For more info on travel to Chile check out, Turismo Chile.