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All about Cementario General in Mérida, Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Amazing Places

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Author: Tobias

The main cemetery - established 1821 - is a totally different experience. There is an evening tour every Thursday. Cementario General in Mérida, Mexico is about 5km away from Casa Loltún. It is located on the outskirts of Mérida. As it is a little further from the city center, you should take a car or bus.

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Address:

Cementerio General, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

More Places, Kids

Phone:

-

Distance:

5km from Casa Loltún

Travel Time:

Within the city

Admission:

No entry fee

Price Level:

-

Since:

1821

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.4 out of 5, based on 80 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Thursday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Saturday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
• Sunday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

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Cementario General

The main cemetery of Mérida "Cementario General" is a very different experience. it has a long history that begins in 1821, when it was inaugurated.


A government decree stated at that time, that all cemeteries had to be outside the city limits, and so this cemetery was established on the site of an old hacienda just outside the city of Merida - though today the city limits have grown beyond that.


Before the main cemetery was built, people in the different parts of the city were buried in their local cemeteries. In 1859, around 40 years after the cemetery was founded, the church's assets were nationalized. As a result, the cemetery was also transferred to the state, which has managed it ever since.


The two entrances to the cemetery are at Calle 66 and Calle 81a


The architecture of the burial sites


The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the golden years of Mérida. With the fortunes made from the henequen plantations, the rich landowners started building magnificiant houses.


The architecture of the time was strongly influenced by European styles, especially French, Spanish and Italian. The cemetery was also at its peak at this time, because the wealthy inhabitants wanted the same luxury for their final resting place.


The burial sites were therefore built in the same architectural style as the houses in which the deceased lived. This was also done so that the deceased did not feel alone and to ease their transition from life to death.


Just as Mérida combines different architectural styles, the tombs in the cemetery also have corresponding styles: neoclassical, Greek, Gothic, French or a mixture of these.


And here too, the materials for the elaborate tombs and mausoleums often came from Europe. Some tombs show angels of silence, with a finger at their mouth or angels pointing to the sky as a sign of respect. There are also angels of pain, accompanied by a cross, with pain reflected in their faces.


Growth of the cemetery


Over time, the cemetery was expanded as the population of Mérida continued to grow. In 1910, the land on the east side was acquired for an extension.


In 1928, twin buildings were erected on the west side, one serving as an administration building and the other as a mortuary (however, the administration building had to be demolished in 1982 due to its condition). In 1981, a cold storage room for corpses was added.


Today, there are


  • 23,600 crypts,

  • 2,000 ossuaries (for the burial of ashes) and

  • 120 mausoleums


across the 150,000 square meters of the cemetery.


Several types of mausoleums can be distinguished: Open mausoleums without a chapel, closed mausoleums with a chapel (in which burials are made), mixed mausoleums (in which burials are made inside as well as outside the chapel), and often also mausoleums of the cumulus type - here the base is a coffin followed by a monument with a sculpture on top.


According to administrative records, the oldest mausoleum dates back to 1870, has retained its original style and belongs to the Medina Rodriguez family.


Famous historical figures


Of course, the cemetery is also the resting place of many famous historical figures. At the "Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres" (Rotunda of Illustrious Men) are buried, for example, the remains of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the first socialist governor of Yucatán.


The wall where he was executed by firing squad in 1924 still stands in the cemetery. You can also see the gravesites of many other important figures in Yucatán's history.


Ghosts and paranormal activity


Reports keep surfacing that the ghosts of deceased people who were buried in the cemetery are wandering around. One of the most famous of these ghosts is Don Arcadio. Don Arcadio was a wealthy man who lived in 19th century Mérida.


Many report that his ghost still wanders the cemetery near his grave. Some cemetery visitors say they have seen a kindly, elderly figure appear near Don Arcadio's mausoleum and that he is dressed in old, elegant clothes and often offers blessings and comfort to the living.


Another story tells of a weeping nun seen in the cemetery. She is believed to be the spirit of a nun who also lived in a convent in Mérida in the 19th century. Her apparition is often accompanied by quiet sobbing, and she is seen near an abandoned grave. It is unclear why she keeps visiting this grave, in particular.


Another unexplained phenomenon is the ringing of bells at night, which has been heard by some visitors to the cemetery, although there was no one ringing the bells at the time. Some visitors to the cemetery also report unexplained lights dancing around the graves. These lights sometimes appear as glowing orbs or as delicate rays of light.


Guided tours


A 50-minute guided tour of the cemetery is offered every Wednesday evening at 8:00 pm (but only in Spanish). This is a very good way to learn more about Mérida's history and burial rites from pre-Hispanic times to the present day.

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