Cemeteries can be true works of art, for their architecture, sculptures, mausoleums and, definitely, their history. They bring us closer to the different schools of funerary art in the province of Pontevedra throughout different periods. Besides, illustrious characters like great writers, musicians, political leaders and famous businessmen rest there.
Necro-tourism, a tourist alternative for getting to know and discovering cemeteries, is a widespread activity in Europe, with well-known places such as the famous Parisian cemetery of Le Père-Lachaise, which houses the tombs of personalities like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, or Frederic Chopin, and is one of the most visited in the world. But in As Rías Baixas, there are also some unique cemeteries that will leave a deep impression on you.
Santa Mariña Dozo Cementery, Cambados
In Cambados, on the hillside of A Pastora, you can visit one of the most picturesque and beautiful cemeteries in Galicia, declared Historic and Artisitic Monument and included in the list of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe.
Here you can admire the remains of an old Gothic church dating from the 15th century, which still preserves its arches with balls carved in the stone and adorned with sculptures depicting biblical scenes. Particularly striking is the representation of the seven deadly sins.
There are some tombs inside the ruins of the old church, but most of them are found around the temple. The members of the family who owned the manor house Pazo Bazán are buried here as well as a son and the wife of the renowned Galician writer Ramón María del Valle-Inclán.
Pereiró Cemetery, Vigo
Designed by the architect Jenaro de la Fuente, it is the largest cemetery in Vigo and is famous for the value and quality of its sculptures. At the entrance, you are welcomed by a perfectly preserved hearse, the so-called Dodge "Carneiro", built in the 30s.
The monolith dedicated to the lawyer and writer Concepción Arenal stands out. It was designed by the architect Manuel Gómez Román, and built by the town council. It is also worth mentioning the mausoleum dedicated to the soldiers who passed away in Vigo, after being repatriated from Cuba and Filipinas, which shows a dying soldier. In this case, the work was commissioned by the Red Cross to the architect Julio González Pola.
Visitors will be amazed by the expressiveness of one of the most interesting sculptures, which was created by the sculptor Francisco Asorey and commissioned by the Gil y Saribia's family. The work depicts a group of three girls and the Death taking one of them. In addition, some figures from different backgrounds are buried in this cemetery, such as the hero of the Reconquest of Vigo, Cachamuíña; the owners of the canning factories Alfageme, Massó and Albo; politicians such as José Elduayen Gorriti, the minister who abolished slavery in Spain when Cánovas del Castillo was Prime Minister; or Heraclio Botana, a leader of the labour movement assassinated in 1936 in this same cemetery.
San Mauro Cemetery, Pontevedra
San Mauro Cemetery, the largest in the town of Pontevedra, is a neoclassical construction designed in the late 19th century by the architect Alejandro Rodríguez-Sesmero, because the old cemetery had turned out to be too small. From that moment onwards, the cemetery underwent different transformations; among them, it stands out the enlargement carried out in the ‘60s, when the Romanesque San Mamede de Moldes Church was moved to the graveyard.
In the San Mauro Cemetery, you can find tombs from different periods and of different styles, columns, baldachins and mausoleums with a great architectural value. There are some remarkable mausoleums, such as Ramiro Trapote's, made of marble; the poet Andrés Murais'; and Eduardo Vicenti's and Dolores Montero's ones, which have bronze busts; and the violinist Manuel Quiroga Losada’s, adorned with a sculpture by Francisco Asorey.
Another attraction is the panteón (burial place) of the family Sánchez Cantón, as there you can admire an image of Saint Francis which once belonged to the now disappeared Baroque Chapel Os Santos de Mollabao. In addition, there is an area in the graveyard where some victims of the reprisals in 1936 (the year of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War) are buried. Among them, the politician and supporter of the Galician nationalism Alexandre Bóveda and the philosopher Indalecio Armesto, whose tomb stands out for its masonic symbols.
English Cemetery, Vilagarcía de Arousa
This cemetery is on the list for its history, as it shows the trace left by the British Army on the port of the town in the early 20th century. It is the only English cemetery in the province of Pontevedra.
The Naval Británico Cemetery - its official name - was built in 1911, nearby the municipal one, to bury the English deceased sailors, who were not allowed to be entombed in the Catholic graveyard. In the 70s, the British Consul in Vigo, Alexander Linsay, and his wife, who decided to be laid to rest in Galicia, were the last to be buried in the place.
Os Eidos Cemetery, Redondela
This cemetery, located in the town centre of Redondela - popularly known in the province as the town of viaducts - was built in the 1830s. It has sculptures and mausoleums of great artistic value, the majority of them in the eclectic style. The mausoleum of the mayor Ramón Pardo Ferro stands out, having a sculpture of a blindfolded lady representing the faith. It is also remarkable, because of its strange symbols, the mausoleum of the lawyer Francisco Crespo Rivas, member of the Archaeological Society of Pontevedra, having a column crowned by a pyramid which was designed in Argentina.
Os Eidos Cemetery was also involved in important historic events. Here, 42 Republicans who suffered reprisals during the Spanish Civil War were buried in a mass grave. It is also worth mentioning that one of the heroes of the Ponte Sampaio Battle, John O'Dogherty also lies in this cemetery.
Arcos de Furcos Cemetery, Cuntis
This cemetery is considered unique for being the only underground graveyard in Galicia. It is located in a beautiful spot by the San Breixo Church. It was built in the 40s with the help from the locals of the parish. There is a staircase leading to the catacombs, built 5 metres under the ground, which are divided into two floors, having a total of 245 tombs.